Governor Dan McKee’s Special Guests for the 2024 State of the State Address

 Governor Dan McKee’s Special Guests for the 2024 State of the State Address
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PROVIDENCE, RI – The following individuals will be special guests of Governor Dan McKee for tonight’s State of the State Address:
Nicole Kent: Nicole moved to Rhode Island in 2010 and joined the apprenticeship program with IBEW Local 99 in 2016. Now a licensed journey worker electrician, she is currently an area foreman working on offshore wind components. She also serves on several committees with her union. Nicole is pleased to be a part of Rhode Island’s renewable energy future.
Jennifer O’Dwyer: Jennifer is a Rhode Island native, a member of Ironworkers Local 37 and a graduate of Building Futures. Since July 2022, she has been working on offshore wind at the Port of Providence. Jennifer believes in sustainable energy for the future of her 4-year-old daughter.
Nicholas Russo: Nicholas attended Cranston West High School and graduated from the University of Rhode Island (URI). He completed an EMT basic course at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and later joined Laborers Local 271. Nicholas has been a 271 laborer ever since, working on several projects throughout Rhode Island allowing him to get married and establish roots in his hometown of Cranston.
Former Congressman Jim Langevin: Former Congressman Langevin is the Distinguished Chair of the newly established Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College (RIC), his alma mater. First elected in 2000, Congressman Langevin served for 22 years representing Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District. He was a senior member of the House Committees on Armed Services and Homeland Security, paving the way to harness more innovative technologies to solve our nation’s most complex challenges. He also served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He played an essential role securing the infrastructure and resources needed to make cybersecurity a top policy priority by founding the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus and authoring the National Cyber Director Act, which led to the installation of a National Cyber Director at the White House and creation of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Jillian Costello: Jillian is a student at the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies at RIC. Before that, she attended Toll Gate High School in Warwick. She is now studying cybersecurity because she loves the challenge of keeping Rhode Island safe from cyber attacks. She is very interested in threat management, incident response and network security. She wants to be part of developing detection and prevention systems. She is happy to be at RIC and looking forward to creating a more secure future for all Rhode Islanders.
Nygel Gomes: Nygel is a student from the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies at RIC. He attended East Providence High School and recently transferred from CCRI to RIC to study cyber and computer science. He is thrilled to be part of the new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies because it empowers students with state-of-the-art cybersecurity education that will shape our workforce for years to come. Nygel plans to pursue a career helping to defend Rhode Island’s critical infrastructure against growing digital threats.
Ryan Clark: Ryan is the Chief Executive Officer and President of The Town Dock, a family-owned market leader in wholesale calamari located in the Port of Galilee. This local business is located near some of the State’s crucial modernization projects in the Port. Ryan succeeded his father as CEO in 2016 after working in a wide variety of roles throughout the company. The Town Dock has enjoyed continued growth under his leadership, and he brings a wealth of knowledge about the opportunities and challenges that the seafood industry faces today. Ryan is a board member of the National Fisheries Institute.
Alejandro Uz: Alejandro is a second grader at Webster Elementary School in Providence. In in kindergarten and first grade, Alejandro was chronically absent. Now, Alejandro has turned his attendance record around and was recently awarded perfect attendance by school Principal Jaime David. He continues to have perfect attendance for the year. He is fortunate to have a great teacher, former Providence Teacher of the Year, Ekaete Okon who encourages her students to come ready to learn each and every day.
Isabella (Bella) Vasquez: Bella is a junior at Nowell Academy and is a member of the state’s recently created Chronic Absenteeism Working Group. Last year, Bella found herself in a difficult position, working late nights to help pay the bills while trying to balance school. Due to reasons beyond her control at the time, Bella’s school absences began to add up. After reflecting, Bella made a commitment to improve her attendance and reached out for support at Nowell. After making this commitment, her grades improved and now she is feeling great about her future.
Alondra Santos Godinez: Alondra is a senior at Central Falls High School and is a member of the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Student Advisory Committee and a member of the recently created Chronic Absenteeism Working Group alongside public and private sector partners. She is dedicating her personal time to help improve attendance across Rhode Island.
Cruz Family: After renting for many years, the Cruz Family bought their first home in West Warwick with the help of the McKee Administration’s Down Payment Assistance Program. Juan, the father, is a longtime resident of West Warwick who originally immigrated from the Dominican Republic. Juan works as a USPS mail processing clerk and cuts hair at a salon to provide for his family. Juan’s wife, Emelin, is a dedicated mother who cares for their two children. Their two sons are Emiliano and Marco.

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