Letter: RI Needs to Be Bold in Rebuilding Our Economy

Sen. James Sheehan speaks about RIPEC's proposal and the future of the state's economy.

To the editor,


In a presentation to the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Economic Development, the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council outlined proposals for a restructuring of the way the state pursues economic growth.

RIPEC – an independent, nonprofit public policy research organization, recently released a report on its study of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation that focused on the essential functions, structure and resources of the EDC. The report was prompted, in large part, by the collapse of 38 Studios, which received $75 million in EDC-backed loans.

As a co-chair of the joint committee, I welcomed the RIPEC report and presentation, and compliment the organization for its initiative and effort and its clear dedication to the betterment of our state through sound fiscal policy and efficiencies in government operations.

The joint committee, as part of its continuing hearings on the state’s short- and long-term economic development focus and efforts, intends to give serious consideration to the thorough and thoughtful RIPEC proposals. The RIPEC report focused not just on the EDC but also on all state activities and structures related to business and to economic growth and job creation. The report offered some bold proposals, from the creation of a State Commerce Secretary who would help shape the state’s business climate and oversee a new Executive Office of Commerce, to creation of a Council of Economic Advisors to analyze data and make policy recommendations.

Rhode Island needs to be bold in rebuilding our economy.

From crisis, it is said, comes opportunity. The anger and disappointment that followed the 38 Studios has opened the door to an honest discussion about how the state sets its economic development strategy, how the EDC or any successor organization fits into that strategy, and how we position the state for the greatest recovery in the shortest amount of time.

As Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed said, there is no higher priority than our state’s economy. It has been the number one focus of the Senate for years and will continue to be, as we work to restore a strong and vibrant economy in Rhode Island. The Joint Committee on Economic Development is fully invested in that effort. The RIPEC report that we are reviewing will be a valuable part of that process, along with a presentation to the committee by the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island and other testimony we have taken and will continue to solicit as part of the committee’s hearing work.

As are the individuals at RIPEC who generated the recent report, the members of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and its House co-chair Rep. Donna M. Walsh, are hard-working, dedicated legislators, determined to finding ways to grow a strong and sustained economy that is good for business, for workers and for all the citizens of our state.



James C. Sheehan

Senator – District 36

Narragansett, North Kingstown

William Sharp October 01, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Now isn't that just dandy. "Bold proposals" i.e. more committees and State Officers to do what you and your brothers & sisters on the hill haven't done for how long now? Do you really think the voters are going to swallow this insanity much longer? If you do have a substantial proposal, by all means lets hear. W.A.Sharp
Jason Demers October 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM
The state is ready for action! Part of the problem is whiners in our state. We need action and thank you Senator Sheehan for your important work!
Govstench October 02, 2012 at 12:04 PM
This guy has been in there for six terms and now he is getting involved? Give me a break. He been "chartering a course" to fiscal ruin.......enough of his nonsense - his voting record speaks for itself. More rubber stamp tax and spend policy is what has put this state behind the eight ball and the blame can be placed squarely on Sheehan and his Democratic buddies. Time to get out the brooms!
NK WATCH October 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Sheehan thought it would be best to have the 38 studios probe AFTER the election that about sums it up..........this guy should just have "Special Interest" tattoed on his forehead......goodbye James and good luck Ms. McKendall!!!!
Bill Gagne June 04, 2013 at 02:59 AM
RI, North Korea, and Cuba: all one party states. And how's that working out or them?


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