By Katherine Gregg
Journal State House Bureau
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts has decided to run for reelection, rather than taking a shot at winning the 1st District Congressional seat held for the last 15 years by Patrick J. Kennedy.
Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis also has decided not to run for Kennedy's seat, spokesman Chris Barnett told the Associated Press. Mollis earlier said he was considering a run.
After Kennedy's unexpected announcement last week that he was not running for reelection to a ninth-term, Roberts, who currently lives in the state's 2nd Congressional District, acknowledged she was "seriously'' thinking about running for his open seat.
But on Tuesday she issued a statement in which she said she has been "humbled '' by the "many Rhode Islanders who have encouraged me to enter the race to succeed Congressman Kennedy,'' but feels that "my place right now is here in Rhode Island.''
"As I declared last July, I will run for re-election as lieutenant governor,'' she said. "Rhode Islanders need an advocate -- someone who will stand up to insurance companies who are looking for double digit rate increases and will work to bring down the cost of health care, and most importantly, someone who works with small business owners to grow jobs in our state."
Announcing her decision on a night she planned to testify against proposed rate increases for Blue Cross & Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare and Tufts Health Plans at a hearing held by the state health insurance commission, Roberts said: "Tonight, I stood up for businesses large and small across the state who are struggling with the worst economy in decades in the face of more double digit increases from health insurance companies. I will continue to fight for Rhode Island businesses and families as lieutenant governor.''
The original version of this story was posted at 5:30 p.m.