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RI POLITICS

10 things you didn’t know about R.I. Governor Dan McKee

The 1969 Cumberland High School yearbook lists Barbara Banik and Dan McKee, who just became Rhode Island's governor, as "Most Ambitious."
The 1969 Cumberland High School yearbook lists Barbara Banik and Dan McKee, who just became Rhode Island's governor, as "Most Ambitious."Cumberland Public Library

PROVIDENCE — Newly sworn-in Governor Daniel J. McKee is known as the voice of the Ocean State’s cities and towns, thanks to his devotion to small businesses and local economies, and his tenure as mayor of Cumberland. But where is he from, what else has he done, and has he lived up to his high school hype? Here are 10 things you may not have known about Rhode Island’s 76th governor.

The Cumberland High School class of 1969 photo of Daniel J. McKee, Rhode Island's new governor.
The Cumberland High School class of 1969 photo of Daniel J. McKee, Rhode Island's new governor.Cumberland Public Library
  1. As a member of the Cumberland High School class of 1969, he cleaned up in the superlatives, being named “Most Courteous,” “Best Personality,” “Most School Spirit,” “Most Sincere” — and “Most Ambitious.”
  2. He graduated from Assumption University in Worcester in 1973 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and education, and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2005.
  3. On his most recent financial disclosure forms, he is listed as vice president of McKee Brothers Oil Corp., his family’s home heating oil company. But he will step down from that position, spokeswoman Andrea Palagi said Wednesday.
  4. He coached youth boys’ and girls’ basketball for many years, and one team, the Rhode Island Shooting Stars, won AAU state championships in 1999 and 2001. (Yes, he played hoops in high school — he’s 6 feet tall.)
  5. He was the driving force behind Rhode Island’s mayoral academies, a form of publicly funded charter schools, and he is listed as a board member of Blackstone Valley Prep. But he also will resign from that position, Palagi said.
  6. He and his wife, Susan, have a five-bedroom house on 4 acres in Cumberland and a condominium in Florida. At age 69, he has two adult children.
  7. In 2018, he almost lost his reelection campaign for lieutenant governor. In the Democratic primary, McKee received 51 percent of the vote, edging the more-progressive candidate, J. Aaron Regunberg, by fewer than 2,500 votes.
  8. In 2019, he agreed to pay a $250 fine to settle a complaint filed with the state Ethics Commission over his failure to disclose a trip he took to Taiwan while lieutenant governor. The commission requires state officials to report outside-funded trips valued at more than $250. An arm of Taiwan’s government paid $3,500 for McKee’s travel, lodging, and food on the 2017 trip.
  9. He received an “F” from the NRA’s Political Victory Fund.
  10. He entered this year with less money in his campaign account than three of the other main Democratic contenders for governor in 2022. Fourth-quarter reports filed with the state Board of Elections show cash balances of $166,551 for McKee, $415,532 for Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, $887,153 for Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, and $1,042,676 for General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.