Currently, there are three candidates on Tuesday’s ballot for the office of lieutenant governor: Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, the Democrat, Aaron Guckian, the Republican, and independent candidate Ross McCurdy.
“25 years ago, I became a teacher to help build a better future. And that’s why I’m running for lieutenant governor now, for the same reason to help build a better future,” McCurdy said when asked why he’s running for lieutenant governor.
This is McCurdy’s second bid for lieutenant governor. He previously ran for the office in the 2018 election, getting 2.6% of the vote. McCurdy sees a few differences when comparing this campaign to his 2018 run.
“In 2018, there were five people on the ballot for lieutenant governor. Two independents including myself, and there was a Moderate along with a Republican and a Democrat,” McCurdy said. “This year, there’s only three of us on the ballot. [In] 2018, things seemed to be a little bit friendlier among the political candidates. This year, there’s a lot of vitriol back and forth. I’ve got a little bit more experience now that I’ve ran before.”
The past few officeholders used the position of lieutenant governor as a platform to advocate for issues they’re passionate about. McCurdy has four main areas he would like to focus on if elected: Education, renewable energy, the environment and the economy.
In regard to renewable energy, McCurdy says four areas, combined with battery storage technology, that are worth focusing on are “Solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric.”
“This is the only way that we’re going to be able to get out of these wild fluctuations in the price of gas,’ McCurdy added. “We need energy security, we need to rely on our own sources of energy. And for the medium and long term, that’s the direction we need to head.”
Another policy goal he is passionate about is campaign finance reform. One specific reform McCurdy would favor is limiting the amount a campaign can spend to no more than the yearly salary for that office they’re running for.
He said, “Right now, people are spending millions on the governor['s] office. A job that pays $160,000-$170,000. Right now, the race between Fung and Seth Magaziner, I believe that’s up to $8 million. We need to take the money, as much as we sensibly can, out of politics.”
Helping ensure small businesses in Rhode Island can thrive is one of the lieutenant governor’s major responsibilities. McCurdy said he’s heard a number of challenges small businesses owners are facing. Some areas he would focus on are creating a fair tax structure for small businesses, reducing the amount of regulations, and reducing the number of different agencies one needs to talk to in hopes of getting answers.
McCurdy is also an alumnus of Rhode Island College. He earned a master’s degree in science education after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in biology. McCurdy also was awarded an honorary doctorate by the college.
“It was challenging, but it was awesome,” McCurdy said when asked what his time was like as a student. “That was a second chance for me. I was an older student. I wasn’t really sure quite where I was going. People helped me, the professors were all excellent. And I was working my way through college. I learned so much, I’m proud to say I graduated with highest honors while I was there, and it changed my life.”
In terms of policy relating to the college, he said he would like to see two years of RIC or URI free. If that is a non-starter, he said at the very least, Rhode Island should, “take the cost of what CCRI would be for two years, and then, apply that to Rhode Island College or URI.”