There will be no, “Eva, hang up on them” in this perilous situation Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee has found himself in. When Dan McKee took office in March of 2021, organized labor was not exactly doing backflips to deal with him. He had been Mayor of Cumberland where he started a form of charter schools and keep a low-profile as LT. Governor since Gina Raimondo made it crystal clear they were not part of a ticket and there was no role for him. Last year, Governor McKee found himself with low approval ratings and a crowded field of challengers ready to take him out in a primary. McKee was stumbling through a series of scandals from an FBI investigation to the loss of his chief of staff. A desperate Governor Dan McKee set his sights on organized labor as the vehicle that could thrust him above the pack in the primary field. No deal was out of the question with a pile of Covid money and a group that likes to hear the word yes. Superman building? No problem. Fane tower? Sure. And the biggest deal of all: a $125 million no-bid soccer stadium in Pawtucket with McKee himself casting the tie-breaking vote. Organized labor told anyone who would listen that McKee was a union dream, and the streets were paved with gold. Sources say Commerce Secretary Raimondo warned her friends in Labor to be cautious of their new pal the Governor, but she was dismissed with “we can handle McKee.” To their credit, labor keep their word and got McKee over the primary hump where he would have lost to Helena if not for union ballot harvesting. As the expression goes, that was then, and this is now and now organized labor has completely lost confidence in Mckee and have publicly yelled at him and embarrassed him. One powerful union leader has been heard telling friends “Gina was right,” and “this guy is just a f— liar!” One union leader told a business associate ” this guy is lucky he has the state police because in the old days he would have just disappeared.”
It is actually difficult to comprehend that McKee was just sworn into office in January for a four-year term and the wheels are already coming off in what should be a honeymoon period. The court ruled against the truck tolls in September and McKee was told to appeal it. The hidden student test scores was a big story at the time but has since faded like a campaign sign. The Pawtucket soccer stadium was a bad deal last July and it is a worse deal now, with a very good chance it is not happening. McKee has been trying to lie low but was summoned to D.C. to explain to the union bosses how he “managed to f— up our $125 million dollar no-bid stadium!” Sources say McKee was short on answers, taken aback by the hostile tone and unprepared for the tongue lashing he received. A loyal McKee supporter claims the union bosses call the Governor at all times of the day and night and constantly remind him them put him in office. Mckee is trying to go on the offensive blaming everyone around him (including the Federal Reserve) but the blame should be on himself. The Tidewater Landing project is not happening and the next shoe to drop will be the $225 million dollar Superman building project that has stalled. How bad are things for McKee? Welcome back Tony Silva to try and right the ship and more importantly try to keep labor in-line with their insults and threats. Not a good move to have the LUNA crowd think you pulled a fast one on them and maybe made too many promises just to get elected. Dan McKee is learning the hard way about making risky promises and deals.