Pryor to resign from R.I. Commerce on June 21

Updated 3:40 p.m.

PROVIDENCE – Stefan Pryor’s time as the state’s commerce secretary is nearing completion.

Pryor, who has served as Rhode Island’s first secretary for R.I. Commerce Corp. since 2015, sent his formal resignation letter to Gov. Daniel J. McKee Friday and will step away from his $233,000-per-year cabinet post on June 21 in order to run for state treasurer.

McKee spokesperson Alana O’Hare confirmed Friday to Providence Business News that the governor will announce Pryor’s replacement as commerce secretary by June 21.

In his letter to McKee, Pryor said he stayed on as R.I. Commerce’s secretary a couple weeks longer than expected in order to further help the state “on some key fronts.” Pryor has been recently involved in ongoing discussions about state financing for Tidewater Landing’s proposed new soccer stadium for Pawtucket.

- Advertisement -

Pryor said in his time at R.I. Commerce, the state has established new small business loan and grant programs to support Rhode Island’s small business sector “whether in better times or challenging times.” The state during the COVID-19 pandemic offered several small business grant programs to help local operations navigate through the major health crisis.

In addition to fostering entrepreneurs and creating jobs within the Ocean State, Pryor also said the state is position with “record resources” to address its housing challenges. In McKee’s proposed $13.6 billion 2023 fiscal budget, which was passed Thursday by the R.I. House of Representatives, it includes $250 million to pay for programs to support affordable housing and homeownership. Also, the state announced Thursday an $80 million investment for various affordable housing projects across Rhode Island.

Plus, Pryor lauded the state for having its unemployment rate drop to 2.9%, which he says is both below pre-pandemic levels and the “lowest rate in over 30 years.”

“Rhode Island truly has the momentum,” Pryor wrote. “There is a terrific team of colleagues in place across the Commerce agencies. It has been a true privilege to work with and learn from them. And I am confident they will carry on the Commerce mission with professionalism and passion.”

Pryor has also served as the chairman of Quonset Development Corp.’s board of directors.

In a statement, McKee said Pryor provided “strong leadership” to the state in his time as commerce secretary and grateful for his work and his partnership, “especially as we’ve emerged from the pandemic with strength and economic momentum.”

(Update: Adds McKee will announce replacement on June 21 in 3rd paragraph)

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.