To the Editor:
The primary elections are almost upon us, and I want to encourage every Rhode Island voter to head out to the polls on Wednesday, Sept. 12, to vote, then again on Election Day in November. The primaries are important as they help to shape the direction of our state, sometimes as much as general elections.
I hope that Democratic and unaffiliated voters will join me in voting in the Democratic primary to reelect Governor Gina Raimondo. She has done an outstanding job promoting Democratic ideals and moving our state’s economy forward.
She inherited double-digit, worst-in-the-nation unemployment, and has brought our state back to where we now have record numbers of jobs. She has invested in training Rhode Islanders for these new jobs – more than 3,000 workers were trained and placed in jobs through the Real Jobs RI program alone. She has invested in education at all levels, from preschool through higher education, including significant advances in technological training in high school, and a record, $250 million investment to repair and modernize our crumbling schools. She is fixing our roads – and the evidence is everywhere; it’s hard to drive more than a few miles before encountering road construction. Rhode Islanders are seeing another type of construction, too: existing companies are expanding here, and new companies are coming here.
To put it succinctly: Gina Raimondo has done a remarkable job for our state, and she deserves our support for reelection.
Speaking personally, I have had the good fortune to work with two very strong women leaders during my time in office, former Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, our first female Senate President, and Governor Gina Raimondo, our first female Governor. From them I have learned that not only does a leader need to be smart and capable, a leader has to be able to work with everyone, those you agree with and those you do not. Everyone has ideas they believe can fix this state, or take Rhode Island in a different direction. Only a true leader can implement those ideas and effectuate real change to make a difference in people’s lives. Gina Raimondo is that leader.
As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman, I have had the opportunity to work with the Governor on many difficult issues. She has disagreed with me and even vetoed bills that I have sponsored, but she has always been open to dialogue and compromise when it makes sense. She works with us in the Senate to improve proposals and enact important initiatives into law.
The committee I chair oversees firearms and weapons issues. Governor Raimondo has been a staunch advocate for sensible reform to our gun laws. We worked with her this year to enact “Red Flag” legislation to remove firearms from individuals who pose a clear danger to themselves or others, and to ban “bump stocks” that make semiautomatic weapons perform as if they were automatic. We worked in previous years to prohibit domestic abusers from possession of firearms, among many other steps.
Governor Raimondo worked with us to increase the minimum wage for three straight years – a proposal I have sponsored in the Senate each year – and we’re leading the nation in terms of overall wage growth.
Her accomplishments are many, and any television viewer will likely be reminded of them often between now and the election.
But I know the Gina Raimondo behind the commercials. She is warm and caring, intelligent and exceptionally driven to do what is best for our state. When she meets someone who needs help, she intervenes in any way possible to provide any assistance she can. She is compassionate and always available to help a person in need. This is what I have seen when I have been with her out in our community in Warwick, and when I have worked with her at the State House. It is a rare combination of compassion and vision, caring and intellect that sets her apart as an outstanding Governor. Throughout this campaign season I have heard candidates use the phrase “the future is female.” My response to that is the present is female. I hope that Rhode Islanders will join me in supporting her for reelection, first in the Democratic Primary on Wednesday, September 12, and then in November.
Sen. Erin Lynch Prata