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Roberts Won't Run for Governor

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts has announced that she will not run for governor next year and will, instead, seek re-election as lieutenant governor.

Political insiders had long considered her the most likely of the three Democrats gearing up for a run - Roberts, Treasurer Frank T. Caprio and Attorney General Patrick Lynch - to pull out of the race. She trailed in fundraising and was struggling to get a foothold in the polls.

Her announcement, a couple of months back, that she had hired a fundraising and consulting team quieted some of the chatter. But she apparently decided she could not get enough traction in what is expected to be a bruising, expensive race.

Roberts' decision could be a plus for Lynch, who was considered a rival for progressive votes in the Democratic primary. The move also opens the question of who is best positioned to pick up women voters.

Some observers thought Roberts, if she managed to win the Democratic primary, would be a tough opponent for independent and probable gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee, since he, too, is making a bid for progressive voters.

Also curious to see who now runs for lieutenant governor, now.

Here's Roberts' release:

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts announced today that she will seek re-election, pledging to use her position to make health care affordable for every Rhode Islander.

“National health care reform is happening now and will not wait for Rhode Island to be ready to respond. As President Obama and Congress develop national health care reform, I will work all day, every day, to ensure that federal policies reflect the reality of the struggles of everyday Rhode Islanders,” Roberts said. “Given the urgency of the national health care reforms coming to Rhode Island at a time when our economy is so seriously distressed, Rhode Islanders need leadership on this issue now.”

“As Lieutenant Governor, I have visited every Rhode Island city and town,” Roberts continued. “What I have heard time and again from small businesses, working families and seniors is the desperate need for high quality, affordable health care that is accessible to everyone. My career, both in private life and as a public servant, has been focused on improving health care. It is clear that this fight must continue, and I am committed as Lieutenant Governor to making affordable health care a reality for all Rhode Islanders.”
   
From 1997 to 2007, Roberts served as a State Senator, where she worked to reform Blue Cross and create the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner. Most recently, Lieutenant Governor Roberts’ leadership was crucial to saving the Health Insurance Commissioner’s position and the critical protections for affordability and fairness that the office provides. The Commissioner is credited with saving over $150 million dollars in health insurance premiums for Rhode Islanders, but was slated for elimination in the General Assembly’s budget. Her leadership also proved pivotal in stopping the state’s health insurers’ request for double-digit rate increases last month.

“These rate increases would have come at a time when Rhode Island’s small businesses and families simply could not afford them,” Roberts explained. “They had to be stopped.”

“I’ve spent the past few months exploring a run for governor, and I want to thank all of my supporters and let them know that I will continue to work to turn the page on politics as usual in Rhode Island,” Roberts said. “I will continue to fight for quality health care for all; a stronger, more diverse Rhode Island economy; and honest, open and effective government. These have been, and will continue to be, the focus of my public service.”

 

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