The latest in the running series of national articles that present Rhode Island’s current governor in a light that most of us don’t recognize comes from Forbes. This one, by Daniel D’Ambrosio, is a particularly good example of Democrat Gina Raimondo’s PR strategy, as well as the reason Rhode Island needs a group like the Gaspee Project:
“We saw something was happening,” [Mike] Hallock said. “I was seeing an absolute renaissance in the food industry in Rhode Island, so I switched gears. I wanted to do something huge.” …
Today, his company is selling close to 40,000 pounds of mushrooms a week, and is proposing to build a $115 million, 2.5 million square foot Agricultural Innovation Campus at the University of Rhode Island. …
None of it would have happened, according to Hallock, without support from his home state, and in particular its governor, Gina Raimondo, who took office in 2014.
Conspicuously, for his article D’Ambrosio talks to precisely the people one would expect one of Governor Raimondo’s many public relations employees to have put before him: a small entrepreneur receiving government incentives, some big-company executives receiving government incentives, and a representative of the national think tank with deep ties to the Raimondo administration and its projects, with heavy references to Commerce RI, which has been a PR wing for Raimondo since the beginning.
Also conspicuously, the article doesn’t mention a single statistic or quote a single person contradicting the governor’s self-promotional narrative. The Forbes article is titled “How Rhode Island Is Sparking Another Industrial Revolution,” yet its author doesn’t seem aware that Rhode Island’s job growth has slowed under Raimondo. Looking at just manufacturing, a long down-slide in RI-based jobs hit bottom in 2010, before she took office, and slow growth turned into more backsliding the year she was sworn in. That trend didn’t return to growth until months into the presidency of Republican Donald Trump.
Looked at differently, Rhode Island has still seen a slight decrease in manufacturing jobs since the month Raimondo took office. Meanwhile, the nation as a whole has seen 3.4% growth. (Of that 2.7% has come since Trump took office.) Over that period, Rhode Island manufacturing jobs have increased by 2.4%. At the very least, an objective analyst who restates a politician’s claims about manufacturing should address the fact that trends in manufacturing jobs actually suggest that her administration has, if anything, been a hindrance.
In the face of the upside-down pitching of our governor, Rhode Islanders are left with few proponents of reality who’ll charge into onto our political field with the truth. With its focus on legislative races, the Gaspee Project has been reaching out to voters with a perspective they don’t get from mainstream sources, and its various affiliates, like the Gaspee Business Network, are organizing to see if the state can make the changes that will really spark an economic revolution, rather than the governor’s revolution in political self-promotion.