Town Councilor Mark Gee said he intends to run for state Senate Dist. 35, the seat now held by Dawson Hodgson. Hodgson declared his candidacy for state attorney general in January.
Mark Gee with his sons Zing (in blue) and Griffin, at the Veteran’s Day Parade, Nov. 11, 2013.
Dist. 35 encompasses parts of East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Narragansett and South Kingstown. Hodgson, also a Republican, won the seat in 2010.
Gee said he was prompted to run by Hodgson’s decision, saying he admired Hodgson’s integrity and honesty and agreed with his stands on such issues as 38 Studios and Deepwater Wind.
Hodgson has been pushing for an independent investigation of the decision to guarantee a $75 million loan for the video game company 38 Studios owned by Red Sox legend Curt Schilling. The company folded in 2012, leaving the state with the decision of whether or not to repay the unsecured bonds.
“How could people just rubber-stamp it? This was done on a wing, a hope and a prayer,” said Gee, who does not think the state need to pay the bonds. “I’m absolutely intent on saving whatever we can, and opening the books and asking some questions.”
Gee said he is against the state’s involvement with Deepwater Wind because it doesn’t make sense financially.
“I think it’s great to have passive electricity-generating facilities,” he said, “but let’s look at the costs and benefits. I’m against wind power because of the costs to taxpayers and the subsidies to those involved.”
Gee said the General Assembly had to stop pushing distracting or punitive legislation, such as the bill introduced the past two sessions to make calamari the state appetizer or the bill introduced last week to penalize Cox Communications for laying off 200 employees in Rhode Island.
“You send a negative message to businesses,” he said. “We need some people who are independent thinkers who aren’t afraid to stand up and speak their mind.”
Gee will face Kim Page, chairwoman of the North Kingstown School Committee, in the Republican primary. No Democrats have yet declared for the seat.
Elected to Town Council in 2012, Gee was serving as a commissioner on the now-defunct East Greenwich Fire District at the time. (The independent Fire District was taken over by the town in June 2013 and the board of commissioners disbanded.) Gee owns Data Resources, which he runs from his house on Middle Road, and he is a U.S. Navy veteran.
He is married to Dana Gee, a graphic designer, and they have three children – Zing, 13, and twins Hope and Griffin, 9. Gee has four grown children from an earlier marriage.
As with his other runs for elected office, Gee said while the decision wasn’t easy – serving “takes a lot of time” – he has the backing of his family.
“We have a responsibility to stand up and be counted and serve in whatever way we can,” he said, adding, “I love to serve.”