The race to replace Teresa Paiva Weed’s seat in the Senate continues to grow.

Kim Ripoli, a retired Navy Veteran and former Associate Director of Veteran Affairs for the State of Rhode Island, officially declared at Newport City Hall on Thursday, June 9th that she will be running as an independent in the Senate District 13 (Newport, Jamestown) race.

Ripoli, 54,  graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelors Degree in General Studies from Rhode Island College in 1994. She has a Certificate Advanced Graduate Studies (Homeland Security) and a Masters Degree, International Relations from Salve Regina University and an MSL, National Security Law from Roger Williams University School Of Law.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ripoli was Associate Director of Veterans Affairs from August 2012 – 2016, a Senior Chief of the U.S. Navy from February 1988 – February 2014, a Regional Director of the US Navy CNO Office from September 2008 – September 2012 and an Aciton Officer at the SECNAV Office from July 2007 – August 2008.

There are currently four Democrats (David Allard, Dawn Euer, David Hanos and John Florez) and one Republican (Mike Smith) running to fill the seat that Paiva Weed occupied for more than 22 years at the State House. The primary election for the Democrat’s is scheduled for July 18, and the special election between the winner of the Democrat primary, Ripoli and Smith will take place on August 22.

If you’re scoring by money in the bank, Newport Councilman and businessman John Florez takes the early lead, and if you’re scoring by grassroots donors, the winner is lawyer Dawn Euer. That, according to the May 1 financial filings with the state Board of Elections, representing the first quarter of 2017, ending March 31. It’s logical to also believe that in the past month candidates have been ramping up their fundraising efforts.

What’sUpNewp has reached out to Ripoli for more information, this story will be updated.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).