Friday, December 23, 2016

A trade we need to make

I was at McCoy for Clay Buchholz' first start in AA and at Fenway for his first major league start so seeing him get traded to Philly should make me a bit wistful - but it doesn't. He was a big part of recent winning seasons, but it's time to bring in reliable talent that can bring wins. Now is not a time to whine about the fact that so many good pitchers have left Boston in recent years — or to grouse that we should have gotten rid of him years ago — it's simply time to turn the page on Buchholz and look ahead to 2017.

We also need to be more positive and look forward to better days for Rhode Island. Sure, we have been at the bottom of every ranking for too long to remember — but Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day and four years of a do-nothing Chafee administration did even less for our economy. If you told me just a few years ago that GE Digital or Johnson & Johnson technology were going to put down roots in Providence, I would have laughed in your face, but with the focused leadership of Governor Raimondo, Rhode Island is finally attracting the kinds of jobs we need to pull ourselves out of an economic pit. I have always been impressed with her smarts and her determination to turn Rhode Island around but as a native Rhode Islander (and a pre-2004 Sox fan), believing in something that I have never seen here — economic success — has always been hard to grasp.

Love her or hate her, for more than three years Gina Raimondo has been single-minded her goal of attracting new businesses to Rhode Island and her hard work is paying off. Democrat or Republican, progressive or conservative, Rhode Islanders must give her props for articulating an economic development vision, getting elected on that platform, executing on the policies needed and relentlessly pursuing and persuading until that vision happens. At the same time, she has led the charge to invest in skills and education in a way that lets companies know that we're serious about creating a good workforce here. Statewide kindergarten, computer science for all, free standardized tests and the other too-numerous-to-name programs that have shown that she is serious about making Rhode Island a destination for companies who need a highly educated workforce. The recently announced Wexford development is particularly exciting since it has the ability to spawn just the kind of businesses this our workforce will be able to sustain - right in our own backyard.

For those who want to complain that there are too many tax dollars going into these projects, I challenge you to find a state where there are no incentives available to attract companies. She has not lured a start-up with a back room deal and "double or nothing" funds, she has persuaded established and successful companies to give Rhode Island a shot.

So I propose a trade of a different kind — and I am going to make it my New Year’s Resolution too. Let's shake our crappy, negative attitude about Rhode Island. This is a great place to live and it’s just getting better. Let’s view our state as others do — a place with tremendous attributes that can use a little freshening up — and join our cheerleader in chief with a more positive outlook.

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