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Aaron Regunburg began his career as a leader of the Providence Student Union. He subsequently served in the legislature and ran in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, capturing 49% of the vote. He lost to Dan McKee, who is now Governor, after succeeding Gina Raimondo when Biden appointed her to his cabinet.
Regunberg wrote in the Providence Journal that McKee seems to be engaging in pay-for-play with his financial backers at Chiefs for Change (started by Jeb Bush).
Governor McKee’s string of recent scandals raises the question of whether he may be dragging our state back to the bad old days of pay-to-play governance.
Take the recent story of a $5-million “school reopening” contract given to Governor McKee’s longtime financial backers at the corporate education reform group Chiefs for Change (CFC). The head of CFC, Mike Magee, has directly contributed thousands of dollars to the governor, and his brother leads the Super PAC that spent hundreds of thousands supporting McKee during my primary challenge to him in 2018. As has been reported extensively by WPRI, just two days after Mr. McKee took office, the chief operating officer and director of operations of CFC incorporated a brand-new company, ILO Group, which almost immediately received a state contract to the tune of $5.2 million — an amount many millions of dollars more than the next-highest bid.
Disgustingly, it appears ILO felt comfortable enough with this scheme that they barely pretended to provide useful services to our schools. As WPRI reported, almost no districts in the state received school reopening assistance from the company. In fact, the day after Governor McKee pointed to ILO’s work with Westerly to justify the millions they received, the chair of the Westerly School Committee wrote, “ILO is not doing any work in Westerly. At all.” She went on to stress she was “still unclear on exactly how this company can support RI school districts.”