WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Former Rhode Island state Rep. Joe Trillo held an event Tuesday night at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick to formally announce he’s exploring a run for governor in 2018.
His wife, Marilyn, was the first to tell the crowd. Trillo had told Eyewitness News earlier this month that he was “giving serious consideration” to a run.
The Republican and honorary Rhode Island chairman of the Trump campaign described Tuesday night’s event as “exploring Rhode Island’s future.” He told the crowd he wants to fight for state taxpayers and not for special interests.
“I’ve never been afraid to criticize government on any level,” Trillo said. “I’ve never been afraid to stand up on the House floor and look the speaker in the eye and say, ‘What you’re doing right now is you’re picking the pockets of every taxpayer in this state if we pass this bill.’ I’ve never been afraid to do that.”
Trillo’s speech covered issues from immigration to political correctness to different ideas for bringing businesses to Rhode Island.
Trillo also spoke extensively on why he backed President Trump during the 2016 campaign and how he thinks they both have many things in common, such as being open-minded to change and focusing on cutting waste while adding more jobs.
The former lawmaker also criticized Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s free tuition program, calling it a political stunt to get her re-elected. He said that college is not for everyone and the governor’s program is unfair for those who have already graduated.
Trillo may face some competition for the Republican nomination. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan and former Alex + Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce are all considering a run, as well. Raimondo has said she expects to seek a second term.