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RI 2014 Governor’s Race Weekly Scorecard

Monday, January 27, 2014


Each week GoLocal's reporters, editors and MINDSETTERS™ review and grade the candidates, policy statements, their media, and the campaign activities for each of the five major likely candidates for Governor of Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo (D), Angel Taveras (D), Allan Fung (R), Ken Block (R) and the all but announced Clay Pell (D).



Related Slideshow: The Pell Family Legacy

In 1960, an unknown political force swept Rhode Island and became one of the most unlikely United States Senators in America. 

Claiborne Pell beat two former RI Governors and held the Senate seat until 1997. Now, his grandson who has ties to the White House and a superstar wife, is gearing up for a run for Governor of Rhode Island. Take a look at the Pell family legacy.

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1960 Election

Claiborne Pell was the son of the United States Ambassador to Portugal and later Hungary. 

Pell was considered a long shot when he ran for the United States Senate in 1960, but he out-worked the Democratic machine and defeated former Governor Dennis J. Roberts and former Governor and U.S. Senator J. Howard McGrath in the Democratic primary. It was one of the biggest upsets in RI political history.

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The Legacy

Pell's legacy was two fold: he was one of the most unque members of the United States Senate; and he built an impressive track record of legislative successes.

He was the author of the legislative effort that created the Pell Grants, he created the National Endowment for the Arts, and he served as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

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Senate Support

If Clay Pell decides to run for Governor of Rhode Island, it would be hard to imagine that he would not receive strong support from United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Whitehouse has enjoyed unyielding support from the Pell family and the matriarch Nuala Pell.

Whitehouse's early support would help push Pell into a very formidable position.

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White House

A Clay Pell candidacy would not only get a boost from his family's reputation, but his own resume would make him credible out of the box.

In April of 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Pell to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education.

This Presidential appointment comes after Pell served as Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Staff at the White House, "where he helped develop and advance a number of the President’s key national security and global competitiveness priorities across the globe."

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Clay Pell attended Harvard, earned a JD from Georgetown and has passed the RI, MA and US Supreme Court Bar exams.

He is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

Pell also served as a White House Fellow.

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Kwan Factor

Pell married Olympic two-time Olympic medalist, Michelle Kwan in January of 2013 in Newport.

Kwan brings an impressive resume of her own beyond being five-time World Champion and nine-time US skating Champ.

In 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Michelle Kwan as a public diplomacy ambassador. 
Her diplomatic position has continued for the Obama Administration as she has worked with Vice President Joe Biden and with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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