Republican businesswoman Ashley Kalus made it official Tuesday by using an online video to announce her campaign for governor in Rhode Island..

The announcement was anticipated. Kalus opened a campaign account and registered to vote in Rhode Island earlier this year. While she has the GOP field for governor to herself, she will also face questions about the depth of her connection to Rhode Island.

According to a news release, “In the coming weeks and months, Kalus will outline a bold and ambitious vision for Rhode Island’s future. Kalus’ top priorities include: education, strengthening the economy, creating jobs, affordability, healthcare, the opioid crisis, infrastructure, affordable housing, and taking care of our most vulnerable residents.

In her video, Kalus calls herself a fighter who was inspired while being raised by a single mother who battled for a better life.

“Ask yourself: who has Rhode Island been changing for?” Kalus said in a statement. “Everyday gets harder for working families. We’re getting killed at the pump, food prices are soaring, it costs more to heat our home, income is not matching inflation, the dream of owning a home is out of reach for many, and we pay more for healthcare and get less. As a mom of three school-aged boys, I understand these struggles.”

Republicans held a lock on the governor’s office from 1995 through 2011, in the form of two terms each for Lincoln Almond and Don Carcieri, but the party has been shut out since then while struggling to increase its meager legislative representation.

Five Democrats are running for governor, and will square off in a primary on September 13: activist Matt Brown, former CVS Health executive Helena Foulkes, Gov. Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and activist Luis Daniel Munoz.

Kalus, 39, lives in Newport and she is married to Jeff Weinzweig, a craniofacial surgeon.

She previously supported the campaign of former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, and she also served in his administration.

Kalus helped run a firm, Doctors Test Centers, that administered COVID vaccinations in Rhode Island.

In her video, she said the pandemic threatens to create a 'lost generation' of students.

“And it’s up to us to make up for lost time and give every child no matter their zip code, race or religion a world-class education with a safe and secure environment to learn and grow. If your child is trapped in a failing school when I am governor, you will be able to pick a school of your choice. I will be the education governor.”

Without elaborating on her approach, Kalus said she would try to create a more level playing field on a range of issues, including boosting what she called low-cost, high-value healthcare.

According to her campaign, Kalus has degrees from UMass/Amherst in legal studies and finance, and master’s degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

She started her career as a business consultant for Accenture working on large projects with EMC and Xerox and later transitioned into healthcare.

“Having built a surgical practice from the ground up, she understands what it’s like to start a business from nothing and scale it into a large organization,” her campaign said in a news release. “Ashley believes you are a different type of leader when you start a business from nothing, build that business, and help others achieve their own success.”

The release continues: “For the last two years, she has served communities in multiple ways, from setting up a safety net COVID testing center in Florida, to launching travel testing at O’Hare International Airport, one of the largest airports in the United States. As a health care worker during the COVID crisis running a multi-state organization, she has employed hundreds of employees. She returned to Rhode Island to assist with large scale testing, and vaccination, creating jobs and serving the community. She has hired, trained, and placed over 400 Rhode Islanders in the healthcare field, all while assisting Rhode Island to become the most vaccinated state in the country."

This story has been updated.

Ian Donnis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @IanDon. Sign up here for his free weekly RI politics newsletter.