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Who are Governor Dan McKee’s Top 10 donors?

The former mayor of Cumberland still has strong ties there

Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee, front, walks up the step of the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I., following his ceremonial inauguration ceremony, March 7, 2021.Steven Senne/Associated Press

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Edward Fitzpatrick and if you want madness in March check out the Barkleys Marathons – the “race that eats its young.” Follow me on Twitter @FitzProv or send tips to

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 132,616 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, after adding 360 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 1.7 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 20.7 percent. The state announced six more deaths, bringing the total to 2,594. There were 125 people in the hospital, while 282,304 residents had received the first dose of the vaccine and 136,515 were fully vaccinated.


Sure, you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. But if you want to learn something about politicians, look at their donors.

Governor Daniel J. McKee has been receiving campaign contributions since the early 1990s, having served as a Cumberland Town Council member, Cumberland mayor, and lieutenant governor. On March 2, he was sworn in to replace Gina M. Raimondo after she became US Secretary of Commerce.

So who have been McKee’s biggest backers over the past 20 years? According to the state Board of Elections, here are the top individual donors during that period:

  • Edward A. McNulty, of the E.A. McNulty Real Estate company in Cumberland: $9,275 in aggregate.
  • Alfred G. Thibodeau, an attorney in Cumberland: $8,650.
  • Joseph J. Rodio Jr. an attorney in Providence who worked as legal counsel for McKee when he was lieutenant governor and was chairman of McKee’s transition team: $8,000.
  • Rita T. Afonso, a Cumberland resident: $7,875. She is married to Antonio J. Afonso, a Cumberland attorney who is McKee’s senior deputy chief of staff (and who has given $5,500 himself).
  • Steven J. Issa, an executive vice president at Customers Bank: $7,585.
  • Michael A. Kelly, an attorney in Providence: $6,750.
  • Michael Magee, CEO of Chiefs for Change: $6,650. Magee was director of Cumberland’s Office of Children Youth and Learning when McKee was mayor, and he helped McKee launch the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, a form of publicly funded charter schools.
  • Patrick G. Collins, vice president of the H.V. Collins construction management firm in Providence: $6,500.
  • Edward J. Galvin, a certified public accountant in Providence: $6,000. Galvin has handled campaign finance compliance and reporting for McKee.
  • Angus Davis, the founder of UpServe Inc., a Rhode Island startup, and one of the state’s biggest charter school advocates: $5,500.

Davis, who served on the what was then the state Board of Regents, said he worked with McKee and others to expand the state charter school law and allow schools such as Blackstone Valley Prep and Achievement First to open. 

“These public schools prove that demographics don’t determine destiny,” he said.

Davis has supported McKee’s campaign because “most other policy makers are afraid to try to improve a system they see as intractable,” he said. “Unlike policy makers who have their sights set on Washington or national headlines, Dan McKee is a man of his community who gets how to actually get things done at a local level.”


Michael Trainor, spokesman for McKee’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign, said the list of top donors “shows that he has deep personal roots in the Town of Cumberland and that he has been a relentless advocate for mayoral academies and charter schools generally. There are no surprises there.”

While those are the top individual donors, McKee is actually his own biggest supporter. He has poured more than $92,000 into his campaign account over the years, according to the Board of Elections.


⚓ Alexa Gagosz reports that Governor Daniel J. McKee plans to open vaccine eligibility to all Rhode Islanders 16 and older on April 19. But he cautioned, “That does not mean that everyone will receive a vaccine on the 20th.” Read more.

Amanda Milkovits reports that the law enforcement career of Providence Sgt. Joseph Hanley III had been bookended by judges calling him a liar. On Thursday, a judge found him guilty of misdemeanor simple assault. He’s accused of punching, kicking, and grinding his knee into the head of a handcuffed man lying face-down. Read more.

⚓ Alexa also reports that Stop & Shop is offering COVID-19 vaccines at some of its area locations, including the stores in North Smithfield, East Providence, Lincoln, and Warwick on Warwick Avenue. Read more.


⚓ My latest: Governor McKee has whittled the list of 81 applicants for the lieutenant governor’s job down to 10 finalists. Spoiler alert: The comedian who debated in a hot dog suit did not make the cut. Read more.

⚓ The Narragansett Electric Company, National Grid’s electric and gas business for customers in Rhode Island, will be sold to a Pennsylvania company, PPL Corporation, for an equity value of $3.8 billion. Read more.

⚓ The Globe’s Travis Anderson and Martin Finucane report that the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish K. Jha, is warning that progress against the pandemic might be faltering as worrisome coronavirus variants take hold. Read more.

⚓ This is the first March Madness tournament for Rhode Map. So here is Dan McGowan’s Final Four: Iowa, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Baylor (Iowa beats Baylor in final). FitzPick: Gonzaga, Illinois, Purdue, Texas (Illinois beats Gonzaga in final).


Sports: Dan Shaughnessy weighs in on the return of former Providence College and Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino to the NCAA tournament, this time with Iona College: “He is Norman Dale in ‘Hoosiers,’ getting a shot at Hickory after nefarious activity banished him from every other coaching opportunity.” Read more.

Business: Katie Johnston reports that the pandemic eliminated the vast majority of valuable in-person interactions when it cleared out workplaces a year ago, and many folks will continue working from home frequently, perhaps permanently. Read more.


Marijuana: Now that it has been granted a license, Framingham-based Cloud Creamery hopes to ship marijuana-infused ice cream to 14 partner dispensaries in time for the traditional “420” cannabis holiday on April 20, Dan Adams reports. Read more.

Crime: A 24-year-old Waltham man, Clauvens Janvier, faces a slew of charges in connection with a series of brazen, unprovoked attacks on men in that city last November. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at

⚓ At 1 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on gun legislation, including a bill introduced by Representative Justine Caldwell that would ban firearm magazines that hold 10 or more rounds, and a bill introduced by House Majority Whip Katherine Kazarian that would prohibit the possession of firearms on school grounds, with exceptions for peace officers and others. More information here.

⚓ At 10:30 a.m., the Public Utilities Commission will meet to consider whether the emergency conditions created by COVID-19 still exist and whether a utility termination moratorium should be extended from April 15 through June 25. More information here.

Erika Niedowski – who made her mark on Rhode Island as an environmental advocate and journalist, an avid Boston Bruins fan and cyclist – died in October at age 46. An online celebration of her life is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. Anyone may attend. For more information, go to


⚓ Rhode Map readers send a special Happy Birthday wish to Yvette Barry, of Barrington, who is turning 100 on Monday. Barrington is having a community-wide birthday parade starting at 2 p.m. Sunday at Barrington Middle School, 261 Middle Highway, and proceeding to Atria Bay Spring Village, 146 Bay Spring Ave.

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at Follow him @FitzProv.