Senate hopeful fights city ordinance

Raymond McKay

Raymond McKay works at Warwick City Hall, and because of his job, he's been told he can't run for the U.S. Senate.

"I fully believe that this is unconstitutional. There is case law already out there, already standing that I think we can lean to for that support," McKay told NBC 10 News.

McKay had hoped by now to be in full campaign mode. But he has postponed his entrance into the race against Democratic incumbent Jack Reed because a city ordinance that prohibits "classified" employees from keeping their positions if they seek elective office.

The city has told him of that ordinance.

"I'm free to run for office. If I do, I don't have a job," McKay said.

He's asked his City Council member to change the ordinance, so far without luck.

"I'm extremely disappointed that a lot of people have not stepped forward on this issue. It's been out there. People know about it. Just from the face value that an 11-year Army veteran, which is what I am, (extra spaces) I'm offended that this language is out there," McKay said.

He's gone to court to have the 1971 ordinance stuck down. He said that's not the way he wanted to handle this.

"I did not want to go for legal action. I believe in working with everybody to work through our issues. Legal action should be a last course," McKay said.

But that's where he is. Were he a unionized employee or a firefighter or police worker, he would have no obstacles. (Extra space) But he's an information technology administrator, and now he's paying a lawyer for the chance to run for office.

"There is a cost, a personal cost to this. I am in this for all the right reasons. Nobody else is writing my ticket on this one. This is my pocket. My wife and I have made a cognizant decision that this is the right thing to do," McKay said.

And he still hopes the City Council will change the rule and end the court action.