As one who is interested in Rhode Island history and politics, we live in interesting times.
A very rare gubernatorial change has taken place. The last time was on Dec. 19, 1950, when then-Gov. John O. Pastore resigned to become a U.S. senator. John S. McKiernan became the new governor, serving until Jan. 2, 1951, the state’s briefest gubernatorial service. McKiernan, having been reelected in 1950 as lieutenant governor, returned to that office. He served from 1951 until he himself resigned the lieutenant governorship in 1956 to become an associate justice of the Superior Court.
Traditionally the office of lieutenant governor has not been filled when there has been a vacancy. We do have the case of Bernard Jackvony, who was appointed by Gov. Lincoln C. Almond when Robert Weygand resigned to take his seat as a U.S. representative.When J. Howard McGrath resigned the governorship in 1945 to become United States Solicitor General, then-Lt. Gov. Pastore succeeded him, resigning the governorship himself later in 1950.
The office of lieutenant governor has not been filled with the notable, exception of the Jackvony case. In Connecticut, the president pro tempore of the Connecticut State Senate automatically becomes lieutenant governor. As a member of the Hopkinton Town Council, I hope Gov. Daniel McKee maintains a fine relationship with all our municipalities. As a former Cumberland town official, he has experience in municipal affairs. I am not personally acquainted with him.
It will be interesting how he proceeds and his management style. In addition, also his policies and emphasis will be like that or differ from his predecessor.From a straight political perspective, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the Rhode Island General Assembly, which his party greatly dominates.
Lastly, those of his party who have gubernatorial ambitions, and how they will proceed with an incumbent in the governorship of their party that can run in 2022, will be interesting to see.
Scott Bill Hirst
The writer is a member of the Hopkinton Town Council and is chairman of the town’s Republican Town Committee.