Clay Pell on Monday formally created an exploratory committee ahead of a possible run for governor of Rhode Island, the clearest indication so far that he is intent on joining what is likely to be a contentious race for the state's top office.
The grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell said in a statement announcing the formation of the committee that "too many Rhode Islanders have been left out and left behind."
"I believe our state is at a crossroads and that the next governor must set a new course that will give the people of Rhode Island a fair chance for a brighter, bolder future," he said.
Pell, 32, is an attorney and Coast Guard reserve officer who has worked at the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. He lives on Providence's East Side and is married to Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan.
If he runs, he will face Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary. Democratic state Treasurer Gina Raimondo is also expected to run. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Moderate Party candidate Ken Block have announced that they will run as Republicans.
Pell's name surfaced as a possible candidate after he began meeting with organized labor, Democratic groups and prominent elected officials including Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox and Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who has said he will not seek another term.
Pell said he is meeting with people from around the state before determining whether to run. Pell spokesman Bill Fischer would not say whether there was a timetable for Pell's decision.