Raimondo Sets Forth Her Legacy as Governor —  Free College and Legalized Marijuana

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


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Governor Gina Raimondo 2019 State of the State

On Tuesday night, Governor Gina Raimondo made, arguably, the second most important speech of her political career. Her State of the State for her second term outlined her goals for the next four years -- and her political future.

Over the weekend, Raimondo announced that she would push for legalizing marijuana. The announcement was a bit of a reversal of her previous statements in which she stated she was open to the idea, but reluctant to move forward until the impacts were know in neighboring Massachusetts. The Commonwealth had not been online for two full months when Raimondo made the pronouncement.

On Tuesday in her State of the State, Raimondo announced that she would push to expand her free college education program which has been controversial.

GOP House Minority Leader Blake Filippi fired a shot at Raimondo who attended private school at LaSalle Academy and where the Governor’s daughter attends. “We have a two-tiered education system: if you have the means to send your kid to private school, they will most likely get a good education, and if you can’t, you roll the dice with your children’s future," said Filippi. "Every family deserves a good education, yet we are losing a generation. We have to acknowledge this crisis, and make its remedy our top priority.”

Filippi attended public high school in Rhode Island.

"The Governor offered nothing but more of the same, failed progressive-left policies," said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center of Freedom and Prosperity. "Instead of seeking to make our state a more free and welcoming place to live and work by easing governmental intrusion in our lives, the Governor is proposing even further attacks on our individual and economic rights. This misguided vision should be alarming to all Rhode Islanders."

K-12 Education Test Scores

Raimondo made mention of the dismal state education scores in her speech.

“When it comes to our future, nothing is more important than our children. In the past four years, we've made record investments in K-12 education, and it's starting to pay off. We've increased the number of high-quality career and technical training programs at our high schools by nearly 60 percent. We're the only state in America to teach computer science in every public school. And 40 percent more students are taking AP and advanced classes,” said Raimondo.

But critics ridiculed her claim and said she continues to offer little proof.

“With no coherent plan to address our long-time K-12 public-schools problem other than throwing more money at it; and instead of lessening government and union influence over our recently exposed dismal student test scores, the Governor is proposing even more government control over students via her "universal pre-K" and expanded "free college tuition" programs,” said Stenhouse

Free College — Only 45% Met Standards

Raimondo will be pushing for an expansion on the CCRI free college program which her administration claims to be a success.

Data secured by GoLocal through an Access to Public Records Act request showed the program’s results.  “There were 722 students who received state funding through the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship program in the fall 2017 Rhode Island Promise cohort. Of those 722 students, 323 hit the required 30 or more credits and 2.5 or higher GPA mark by the end of their first year,” reported CCRI to GoLocal.

Less than 45 percent of the students met the minimum standards of 30 credits and the 2.5 GPA.

“Two years ago, we took a historic step and made community college tuition-free for every high school graduate. Since then, the percentage of students on-track to graduate on time has nearly quadrupled. Enrollment has doubled. And I can't go a week without meeting a parent or a student who stops me to say that the Rhode Island Promise scholarship has changed their family's lives,” said Raimondo in her speech.

“Too many students start at RIC, but can't finish because they can't juggle a full course load and two or three jobs to cover tuition. The number one reason students drop out is cost. Most RIC graduates stay in Rhode Island. They're our teachers, our nurses, our IT technicians that keep our economy going. This small but smart investment -- a few million dollars in a $10 billion budget -- will change lives, strengthen our economy and help us fulfill our obligation to ensure that every Rhode Islander can get a good job. If we do this, Rhode Island College will arguably offer the most affordable four-year degree in America. Let's lead the way,” said Raimondo.


Related Slideshow: State of the State - January 2019


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