Hello Neighbor - Summer is here, and so is campaign season! This week I have information about the Blessing of the Fleet Events in Narragansett, Wavemaker Fellowship Tax Credit information, and news on the new DRIVE Electric vehicle rebate program up top, followed by election information, the signing of The Children's Budget, and exciting updates on Rhode Island's leadership in wind power. I hope you have been able to take the time to enjoy some of the public parks, shore access points, summer concert series, art festivals, and other fun events we have had in District 36 these past few weeks. Stay safe and stay cool,
Community Programs & Assistance Blessing of the Fleet Celebration 07/28-07/30: The Narragansett Lions Club is once again holding the Blessing of the Fleet Celebration, with a Road Race, Festival, and the Blessing of the Fleet boat parade. Complete event details can be found here including registration for the road race. It's always a great event with something for everyone, I'll see you there next weekend! Wavemaker Fellowship OPEN: Every year, talented graduates are faced with the decision of where to start their careers. The Wavemaker Fellowship provides a financial incentive for graduates pursuing a career or starting a business in Rhode Island in technology, engineering, design and other key sectors (now including mental health care professionals!), by defraying student loan payments for up to four years. This application cycle is now open through 08/22/2022, click the link above for more information and to apply. Share with the young professionals in your life!
DRIVE Electric Vehicle Rebate Program: If you are in the market for a new or used car and are considering going electric, Rhode Island has reopened its popular rebate program. Rebates up to $4500 are available on a first-come, first-served basis for new and used electric and plug in hybrid vehicles with purchase prices under $60,000 ($40,000 used). Many new electric models now have MSRPs equivalent or below gas powered cars, and Rhode Island's charging infrastructure is ramping up to meet demand. The rebate program starts 07/07/2022, complete details can be found here.
1. Election 2022 Updates
The Candidate Declaration period is over and for the last week candidates at the local, state, and federal level have been gathering signatures to qualify to get on the ballot.
It has been a great chance for me to get out in the district to talk to voters, especially people in the southern end of Narragansett and Block Island who are a part of the new District 36, who I haven't met or represented yet. It's an important part of my job to learn about the unique needs of every area of the District, and I'm proud to report that I qualified to be on the ballot with signatures from all parts of District 36, from Quidnessett and Wickford down through Saunderstown, Bonnet Shores and Mettatuxet, the Pier, Pt. Judith, and right on out to Block Island!
For the rest of the summer I'll be out at community events and neighborhood meet and greets, and knocking on doors throughout the district to talk about the issues that matter to you most. I might be on my own or with one of the great candidates running for School Committee or Town Council, I hope we can catch up with you! For reference, here are some upcoming election dates to keep in mind:
2. Investing In Children
Last Friday I had the chance to attend the signing of The Children's Budget at the Genesis Center in Providence, where we recognize the investments Rhode Island made this session in children and working families. I was honored to stand with my colleagues Chairwoman Sandra Cano, Chairwoman Grace Diaz and Representative Mary Ann Shallcross Smith to celebrate the years of hard work and advocacy for our kids off to the best possible start in life by ensuring postpartum healthcare coverage for 12 months, covering all kids with health insurance, supporting pediatric health care providers, and expanding access to child care subsidies and raising rates for early child care professionals. The best part of this event was attending with my own children, who got to hear the inspiring stories of some of the workers at the Genesis Center who have benefited from the educational pathways created by state government and now serve their communities as caregivers and early childhood educators. This work isn't done, but we made significant strides this year for Rhode Island's children!
3. Rhode Island is Leading the Way on Wind Power
There have been three big events this week that show how Rhode Island is leading in the development of wind power. First, there was an event at Compass Rose Beach in Quonset to sign the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act into law. I am grateful for the leadership and advocacy of my colleague Chairwoman Dawn Euer to ensure that as we develop the offshore wind facilities that will meet more than half of Rhode Island's energy needs, we do so in a way that creates family-sustaining jobs, preserves our natural resources, and doesn't put extra burdens on the ratepayers. I was proud to cosponsor and vote for this Act.
Second, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was in North Kingstown to announce a $375,000 federal investment in a high school offshore wind certification program, to help train the workers we will need for this growing sector. As this article explains, North Kingstown's Chamber of Commerce has been ahead of the game with developing this trades program: "The certification program builds upon a first-of-its-kind program started in 2018 by the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, which has offered a four-year offshore wind certification program known as WindWinRI to students at select high schools."
Third, following a six-year renovation process, Quonset's Pier 2 is complete, with enhanced capabilities to service cargo ships and the offshore wind sector. This project finished under budget and now means the pier can serve the needs of different sectors for the next 50 years.
The development of these offshore wind projects is well underway, and by combining together the efforts of the public and private sectors it will be a win for Rhode Islanders.
Photo of the Week
The metal sculptures in this picture used to be large diesel tanks that, until 2017, held the approximately 1,000,000 gallons of diesel per year that it took to power Block Island until the Block Island wind farm came online, bringing huge cost savings to ratepayers (who also now own the utility company supplying their power). The land that these sculptures sit on was a giant trash heap, until operations were modernized to more efficiently and responsibly get rid of Block Island's trash. This picture serves as a reminder that just because things have always been done one way doesn't mean they can't improve, and that using the information and tools we have to make progress can have a profound positive impact on both people and the environment.