Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza was physically blocked from Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee after confronting him on Wednesday over the state’s impending contract with the Providence Teachers Union.
Elorza and McKee, both Democrats set to fight each other in the 2022 gubernatorial race, attended a lighting ceremony celebrating the return of WaterFire pools along the Providence River when Elorza was seen screaming in McKee’s face and pointing her finger.
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“Governor, this is too important for you to play the role of a coward about this,” Elorza said in footage captured by NBC 10. “You have to face the community on this.”
“Mayor, back off,” McKee State Police detail said as he pulled Elorza away from the governor.
Elorza later told reporters he was asking McKee to release his collective agreement with the teachers’ union, which the governor says will not be released until it is finalized.
“You can’t be afraid to take on the community,” Elorza told WPRI. “Sell it to the community. If you think it’s a transformational contract, go to the community and tell them why you think it’s transformational. But hide and do it in secret and wanting to wrap up before facing the community, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be done. “
Elorza didn’t apologize for her approach or the “cowardly” remark.
McKee declined to comment on the exchange.
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“Right now we’re celebrating WaterFire. I’ll have more to say about it at my press conference on Tuesday,” the governor told NBC 10 after the event. “Hopefully the contract will be ratified on Friday.”
Union members plan to vote on the deal in Providence on Friday. It includes a $ 3,000 stipend for 1,900 teachers, salary increases and gives principals more hiring power, NBC 10 reported.
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