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Incoming Governor McKee outlines early plans, appoints senior staffers

On a call with his transition team Tuesday, he said he’s aiming to open businesses and have a plan for schools as early as March 14.

Former Rhode Island Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee signs an executive order calling for ethical governance after being sworn in as Governor, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Providence, R.I.Bob Breidenbach/Associated Press

PROVIDENCE — While on a call with his transition team Tuesday evening, incoming Governor Daniel J. McKee said he was about to be chauffeured by Rhode Island State Police to the State House in anticipation of being sworn in as the state’s next governor.

“It’s very possible I get sworn in in the next hour,” said McKee on the call, to which a Globe reporter was able to gain access. “It’s very possible I’ll get sworn in the next morning.”

He said earlier in the call, “It may happen tonight and it may not happen tonight.”

While on the call, McKee outlined some of his first plans as governor, which included March 14 as a goal date “to really start opening up our businesses and having a plan to open our schools up.”


He said there is “no plan” to raise taxes in the budget, and he will keep the car tax phaseout, which he expected people to be pleased with.

McKee’s transition team announced a number of appointments shortly after the call.

  • Christopher Abhulime, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Antonio Afonso, Senior Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Kim Ahern, Policy Director and Senior Counsel
  • Suzanne Augenstein, Director of Executive Operations
  • Guerline Aurelus, Director of Constituent Services
  • David Barricelli Jr., Constituent Services Associate
  • Jonathan Bissonnette, Staff Writer and Content Manager
  • Joseph Casoli, Governor’s Office Liaison
  • Cheyenne Cazeault, Policy Advisor
  • Alana Cerrone-O’Hare, Press Secretary
  • Eileen Cheng, Deputy Counsel
  • Tara Chicharro, Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Rosa DeCastillo, Director of Community Affairs and Outreach
  • Ronald Desiderato, Special Assistant to the Governor
  • Tabatha Dube, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
  • Craig Dwyer, Manager of Appointments
  • Christopher Farrell, Senior Advisor to the Governor
  • Paulette Hamilton, Director of Municipal Affairs
  • Kevin Horan, Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Corey Jones, Policy Advisor
  • Lexi Kriss, Deputy Director of Communications
  • Christine Lopes Metcalfe, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Education
  • Brenna McCabe, Senior Advisor to the Governor
  • Meredith McKenna, Legal Administrator
  • Thomas Mullaney, Senior Advisor
  • Andrea Palagi, Director of Communications
  • Joseph Polisena Jr., Deputy Counsel on Policy
  • Claire Richards, Executive Counsel
  • Becky Rodrigues, Office Manager
  • Victoria Scott, Policy Advisor
  • Anthony Silva, Chief of Staff
  • Joy Vaudreuil, Director of Scheduling
  • Americo Vota, Deputy Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan. Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.