Monday, October 20, 2008

Environmental Economics

Rec'd from candidate Deb Ruggiero who has actually lived in her District for quite awhile (but why let details crowd the arena):

Environmental Economics – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

There is no debate that the Rhode Island economy is in rough shape. We are at a cross roads. I believe that Rhode Island’s business growth is in ‘environmental economics’.

Our economic development efforts must bring biofuel, solar, and wind energy to the forefront of our decision-making. Not only will this plan create renewable energy options, it will deliver ‘green collar’ jobs with high wages, and boost the economy on Aquidneck Island.

We need to re-energize our workforce by building on the capacity of our natural resources and our education systems to create jobs, keep our graduates here, and secure the future of our families and our children.

We must change how we look at Rhode Island, strengthening academia and our research institutions while attracting new companies and creating new jobs in our state to bring relief to the taxpayers.

To accomplish our goal of designing a visionary ‘environmental economics’ plan will require collaboration from all sectors of our state —business, higher education, healthcare, labor, life sciences, and research faculty and facilities. Each must play a significant role in the environmental economic development plan that will weather economic downturns like the one we are in now.

Our coastline and the Narragansett Bay are invaluable assets. Rhode Island has an enviable ability to harness the power of the wind to create renewable energy options like no other state in the nation.

We have the best and brightest oceanographers and scientists at URI’s Coastal Resource Center. We must support their work and recognize the inherent value they bring to our state.

We must not forget that education is economic development. Rhode Island has the highest number of students per capita in the country. Yet, when they graduate they don’t find jobs here. We must stop the ‘brain drain’ and creat jobs that keeps talent on Aquidneck Island and in the state.

Aquidneck Corporate Park in Middletown is a shining example of what’s possible. Now at the end of its 30-year economic life cycle, we must secure private, federal and state funding to build for job growth.

We need education and business working together, developing internships and apprenticeships that give young adults hands-on experience and science skills to matriculate into ‘green collar’ industry. Let’s put our students in the field, on the ocean, and in the eelgrass; no child left inside!

Our state motto is ‘hope’ and that means investing in an environmental economics plan that creates jobs and protects our environment.

Deborah Ruggiero is Director of Community and Business Development at Citadel Radio. She is also the Democratic candidate for State Representative, District 74 Middletown/Jamestown.
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