State House, Providence, RI - Representative Sherry Roberts (R-District 29 West Greenwich/Coventry) has expressed her frustration with Governor Gina Raimondo’s State of the State address held last Tuesday January 16th. Governor Raimondo touted Coventry High School’s Jobs Guarantee Program with Electric Boat as her own economic development initiative. However, it was Representative Roberts who envisioned this program, and then took the necessary steps to convene the stakeholders- seeing the project to fruition –months before Governor Raimondo endorsed it during an event at the Coventry High School.
Roberts said, “While I am happy to see progress being made, credit should not be taken by those not responsible for the program. I first approached Electric Boat to provide Coventry students with the job skills necessary to fill their upcoming vacant positions, and Electric Boat loved the idea. From there, I worked with the Coventry superintendent and high school staff who applied to the Rhode Island Department of Education to create a pathway.”
“Coventry was then awarded a Prepare RI Grant and received $198,000 to implement a welding/manufacturing SAMI program, which began in the 2016-2017 school year. Our hard work was unfairly overlooked by the Governor, simply because it was she that ultimately approved funding – one of the last steps in the long road traveled to get this done,” Rep. Roberts stated.
“After this plan was launched, it caught the attention of the Governor who eventually folded it into her own economic development plan, and she is now unfairly using it for her own political advancement. While our community knows the members of our team that put this successful program together, I don’t want other citizens of this state to be misled about what happened. This isn’t about recognizing me, this is about unethical behavior. If the governor wants to seek re-election she needs to begin with being honest and transparent to the citizens of our great state” stated Rep. Roberts.
Rep. Roberts is calling on Gov. Raimondo to either offer her and her district credit for creating the economic development initiatives mentioned in Tuesday’s State of the State address or to provide evidence to the contrary.