The Ivy League will be on full display in Rhode Island’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election – Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Yale.

This week’s announcement by Helena Foulkes, a former CVS top executive and former CEO of the parent company of Saks’ 5th Avenue, assured this to be among the most elite group of candidates to run for the governorship in years.

Foulkes has her bachelor and master’s degrees from Harvard; Gov. Dan McKee earned a bachelor’s degree from Assumption, and a master’s degree from Harvard; General Treasurer Seth Magaziner earned his bachelor’s at Brown and master’s at Yale; Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea earned her bachelor’s from Princeton and master’s from Columbia; former Secretary of State Matt Brown, earned his bachelor’s from Columbia and law degree from Yale.

Only Dr. Luis Daniel Munoz was not educated at an Ivy League school. He earned his bachelor’s from Rhode Island College and his medical degree from the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine.

Foulkes is the only candidate who has not run for office in the past, but has been politically active for years, contributing some $20,000 annually to a variety of candidates and political action committees. While most of her political contributions have gone to Democratic candidates and committees, she regularly contributes to the CVS and Home Depot Political Action Committees, and in 2014 she contributed $500 to the (Mitch) McConnell Senate Committee.

Foulkes was a CVS executive, whose earnings averaged $5 million annually from 2014 to 2017. At Hudson Bay Company, where she served as CEO from 2018 to 2020, her 2019 compensation package that awarded Foulkes a $1.6 million base salary, $5.7 million in annual incentive, and $19.6 million share-based award.

Her total compensation as a member of the Home Depot Board includes $65,000 cash salary, $230,000 stock awards, and $15,000 other compensation.

Foulkes was also elected president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers for the 2021-22 academic year. She was first elected to the Board of Overseers in 2016.

According to the Harvard Gazette, Foulkes appeared four times on Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of the most powerful women in business and was also recognized on Fast Company magazine’s list of most creative people.

In her video, announcing her candidacy, she said she was motivated to run because of the impact of the pandemic, and Trump divisiveness.

While Foulkes may be running for office for the first time, politics is in her genes. She’s the granddaughter of Thomas J. Dodd and niece of Chris Dodd, both former U.S. Senators from Connecticut, and both Democrats.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.