Rickman and Stenhouse - call on Governor to Diversify Advisory Council on Manufacturing

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2017

Providence, RI -- Rhode Island’s Family Prosperity Initiative (FPI), a project comprised of local civil society leaders from both the left and right who work together on issues of common interest, today suggests that the Governor Raimondo’s recently announced manufacturing advisory council would be strengthened by including a broader and more diverse membership.

“We agree with the need to conduct more manufacturing in our state. However, this new council must not become yet another vehicle to promote expansion of Rhode Island’s corporate welfare offerings,” advised Ray Rickman, Executive Director of Stages of Freedom and one of the state’s more prominent minority-rights advocates, as well as FPI co-leader. “It is important that this council include members who have no interest in positioning themselves for some kind of government concession.”

“Instead of targeted incentives, we need broad-based reforms. We strongly recommend that pro-family and other pro-business advocates be included on this council so that families and small businesses are not once again asked to pay for handouts to insider cronies,” added Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity and FPI co-leader. “We must ensure that a balanced membership properly considers all recommendations about this vital topic for our state that the Governor has properly raised awareness of.”

It is suggested the Stages of Freedom, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity and/or other minority and family- and business-focused organizations be allowed to make a recommendation to the Governor.

Underscoring the importance of a vibrant manufacturing sector, according to the national Family Prosperity Index, Rhode Island ranks 48th in the U.S on the broadest measure of overall family well-being. As part of that ranking, the Ocean State ranks dead last in unemployment, when considering all unemployment factors, and ranks just 44th in entrepreneurship. 

As an example of this cross-philosophical FPI cooperation, at its January 17th Family Prosperity Leadership Forum, which attracted almost 100 civic and political leaders from across the state and nation, local and national civil rights and political leaders from the left and right, stood together to support the state's Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which would would improve the state’s over-burdened probation and overall criminal justice system. The proposed JRI legislation could help break the cycle of incarceration, which makes it difficult for ex-offenders to improve their quality of life. 

One of the core FPI tenets is that without more and better companies that produce more and better jobs, more Rhode Island families will not be able to realize a better quality of life. 

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