Raimondo outlines plan to get RI back on track

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When she was inaugurated Tuesday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo highlighted three key factors to get the state back on track – investing, being innovative, and providing a skilled labor force.

Raimondo hopes to “ignite a Rhode Island comeback” and make significant improvements to the state’s struggling economy. She wasted no time in getting down to business, signing an executive order for her administration to hold the highest ethical standards no more than 20 minutes after taking office.

Ahead of her swearing-in, Raimondo sat down with Eyewitness News Anchor Mike Montecalvo to lay out the ways she wants to revitalize the state she’s taken charge of.

“I think we have to do regulatory reform, we have to do workforce training, we have to make our K through 12 schools work, we have to do many things,” she said.

In order to get the state back on track, Raimondo said it will be crucial for her to work closely with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed.

“The governor’s job is to present an economic strategy, and then the legislature’s job is to implement that strategy.”

She also aims to secure funds from the federal government to achieve her goals for the state.

“Just the other day, President Obama announced a $100 challenge grant for manufacturing,” she added. “I’m going to figure out if Rhode Island can get a piece of that.”

Raimondo will be faced with a roughly $200 million deficit when she crafts her first budget, which could grow even larger with the possibility of declining revenues from Twin River Casino.

“A third of the state budget is Medicaid – we have to ask ourselves ‘are we really getting our money’s worth out of that?’ Education – we spend an awful lot on educating our kids, are we getting the most out of it that we can?” she asked. “At the same time, we find all of these cuts, we have to find money to invest.”

The governor is aware of the potential roadblocks ahead, but said that change is necessary to make improvements.

“Doing things the way we’ve always done it has led us to where we are,” she said. “Five, ten, fifteen years from now I want people to say ‘wow, they did a turn-around in Rhode Island, they have it going on in Rhode Island,’ and I’d like them to say that started with Governor Raimondo.”

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