The economy is, and must be, a top priority for the state and for the district; and if it is, education has to be a major part of that conversation. Rhode Island is home to some 90,000 college students who, when they graduate, will need jobs. The recent options have been unemployment, underemployment, or a move out of state. Rhode Island needs to be a place where educated, hard-working, enterprising young people can thrive. A place that cultivates creativity and innovation. Being business friendly has to include a component for small business, innovation, and entrepreneurialism. They will continue to be the foundations of a sustainable and productive economy.
The transportation infrastructure of the East Bay is often an afterthought to many in state government, and many outside of the East Bay. Rhode Island’s roads, bridges, and waterways are especially important to our waterfront communities that rely on maritime and agricultural economies. These are more than just the way we get from A to B. They are the lifelines of our maritime and agricultural economies, which are the lifeblood of healthy communities. Our collective voice needs to be heard and our priorities need to be shared with the rest of the state. The regional and state economies depend on one another and require mutual support to survive and thrive. What’s good for the East Bay, is good for Rhode Island.
Now more than ever, states need to be economically and fiscally self-dependent. Rhode Island cannot afford to take a narrow view of economic challenges or their potential solutions. We need to look beyond the fiscal year, beyond the budget cycle, and beyond the term of our office. Fiscal responsibility requires a long-term outlook for ourselves and for the state. Short-term solutions become the next generation’s long-term problems. I would prefer we solve these problems once, now, and not have to revisit them every time the band-aide needs replacing. The history of RI dates back to the 1600s and yet in the year 2015 we so rarely look ahead; we rarely plan for the future, and we rarely consider the next 100 years. What will be our legacy for future generations?