Hiring of Director of Food Strategy is Governor Raimondo’s Econ Development “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment


Yesterday, Governor Gina Raimondo announced her pick to fill her newly-created position of Rhode Island’s “Director of Food Strategy”.

The state’s economy is in serious need of substantive improvement measures. (Pre-emptive note: taxpayer subsidies aren’t the answer.) There are good government measures that could benefit from her bully pulpit. But what is Governor Raimondo doing instead?

She is taking her time and state resources to create a state “Director of Food Strategy”.


There is a meme on Twitter and elsewhere that refers to the Governor as a queen. I don’t agree with it and have not retweeted it, in part, because I’m not a fan of name-calling but mainly because I simply haven’t seen her as a queen. Nor do I now.

What is clear with the creation and filling of this new state position, however, is that, like Marie Antoinette, Governor Raimondo is stunningly out of touch with the needs of the state and people whom she leads.

In an op-ed in yesterday’s GoLocalProv calling out the Governor on misguided priorities, Representative Patricia Morgan raised a good point.

In my life, I have found that the things people care about most are the things on which they spend the most time and energy. We thought the Governor cared about Rhode Island. Instead it feels like a bait and switch.

The creation of a “Director of Food Strategy” (job description here) is the latest – and most outrageous – instance of the Governor spending her time and energy on matters very much OTHER than the best interest of the state and its residents.

Rhode Island needs the Governor to adjust her focus. If simply doing the right thing isn’t sufficient motive, then how about for the more pragmatic one of improving job approval numbers?

  • stuckinRI

    But we don’t have a Statewide food strategy now? How on earth are we getting by? We NEED this! How can we even begin to believe that companies will move here or expand here if we don’t have a statewide comprehensive food strategy? My God I can’t believe this is still an outstanding issue in this state.
    Talk about being out of touch. More evidence she is pushing an agenda that no one outside of the State House believes we need.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    When I took European history in college, we were told that “let them eat cake” was a Victorian “clean up”. What was actually said was more akin to “manche merde”. Perhaps even more appropriate here.

  • Russ

    DEM says agriculture contributes 15,000 jobs and $2.5 billion to the RI economy, but Monique would rather that the state ignore the sector? And that’s not including restaurants which are included in the job description.

    Notably the position is partially funded through a private grant… even better. Fair enough if you’d rather she focused on other areas as well, but it’s hardly an either or scenario.

  • Russ

    Local foods offer tangible economic benefits in some regions

    “We found that for every $1 increase in agricultural sales, personal income rose by 22 cents over the course of five years,” said Goetz. “Considering the relatively small size of just the farming sector within the national economy, with less than 2 percent of the workforce engaged in farming, it’s impressive that these sales actually move income growth in this way.”

    Goetz said that by establishing that direct sales have a positive effect on total agricultural sales, which in turn have an effect on income growth, this study demonstrates that direct sales do indeed expand local economies at least in the Northeast U.S.

  • Bob Washburn

    Wonder how many other states have a food strategy director?