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Commerce Secretary Pryor running for R.I. treasurer

The Providence Democrat joins a race that now includes former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa and North Kingstown finance director James L. Lathrop

Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan PryorHandout

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor on Tuesday announced he will run for state treasurer as a Democrat.

Pryor made his announcement just hours before Republican James L. Lathrop, the North Kingstown finance director, was set to officially kick off his campaign for treasurer.

They will join former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa, who jumped into the race back in December. They are vying to replace term-limited General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, a Democrat who is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

In February, Pryor had said he was “seriously considering a run” for treasurer as he worked to “finalize some key projects and launch some key programs.”


On Tuesday, Pryor said he will file paperwork establishing his campaign later this week and transition out of his Commerce position within the next two weeks. While he’s commerce secretary, he won’t accept any contributions from in-state donors, he said.

“In the position of treasurer, I aim to continue our work on strengthening Rhode Island’s finances and advancing our economy,” Pryor said. “The last two years have been very challenging for small businesses and industries impacted by the pandemic – and for Rhode Island’s families. We envision a treasurer’s office that is a catalyst for the economy, creating a stronger financial future for retirees and for all Rhode Islanders, supporting small and minority-owned businesses, helping families access the banking system, and more.”

Pryor, 50, who lives in Providence, previously worked as president the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the public agency charged with the coordinating the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after September 11th. He also was deputy mayor for economic development in Newark, N.J., and Connecticut’s education commissioner.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Ryan W. Pearson, a Cumberland Democrat, has ruled out a run for treasurer. Other potential Democratic candidates include House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney, Representative Scott A. Slater, and Nicholas A. Autiello II, who served as a special adviser in former Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s Executive Office of Commerce. Political observers also are talking about the possibility that former General Treasurer Frank T. Caprio or current Providence City Council President John J. Igliozzi could enter the treasurer’s race.


Diossa’s campaign manager, Robert Craven Jr., issued a statement, saying, “It’s disappointing that another candidate is trying to divide the party on the same day the Republican candidate is set to kick off his campaign.” He said, “We welcome any candidate into the race, it’s the nature of the democratic process, but James has already been in this race for seven months and over that time has become the clear consensus candidate.”

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