Only on 10: Interview with Clay Pell

Clay Pell

He's been the wild card, the mystery candidate known only for being the grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell and maybe as the husband of figure skater Michelle Kwan.

But Clay Pell is for real, and he's really thinking about running for governor. He sat down Thursday with NBC 10 for an exclusive one-on-one television interview.

Pell has an impressive resume. He speaks four languages, served in the Coast Guard and worked for the National Security Council.

"I bring executive experience as an officer in the military, as a director for strategic planning on the national security staff, and as a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Education and leading a division and a significant budget," Pell said.

I had to ask the 32-year-old why he thought he could be the chief executive of the state. He hasn't run for any office before. But he believes he has a vision for Rhode Island, and a lot of what he sees as opportunities revolve around possibilities in the economy beyond the state's borders.

"Rhode Island, for my adult life, has been talking about the challenges that we face. But we haven't been talking about how we connect ourselves to the global economy, how we seize the opportunities that face us today to move our people forward," Pell said.

Pell said the state already has an example of how that works in an international engineering program at the University of Rhode Island.

"This program is now bringing businesses here to Rhode Island. It's this type of program and connectivity to the global economy that I think I can really help connect the state into areas of global growth," Pell said.

Pell has been making the rounds, speaking with all the usual power brokers from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to union leaders to the speaker of the House.

But he said if he becomes governor, he would be seeking ideas from a much broader group.

"We've been having a conversation amongst ourselves and amongst certain players in the state. What I would hope to do is to really broaden the conversation, to spend a lot of time listening to ordinary Rhode Islanders, people from all different types of background, and bringing people together into government," Pell said.

Pell said he will make an announcement by the end of the month regarding his potential run for governor.

If he's in, it sets up a four-way Democratic primary with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Todd Giroux, who ran as an independent four years ago.

You can see the entire interview with Pell at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on "10 News Conference."