I am joining Mike Donegan in my support of Rep. Justine Caldwell and Sen. Bridget Valverde. Both Rep. Caldwell and Sen. Valverde supported East Greenwich in realigning our commercial tax rate, unemployment reimbursement, and advocating for COVID-19 reimbursement from the state. They have attended local meetings for both the schools and town regarding budgets and other issues. They have met with town and school officials to discuss matters of local importance. They more importantly did not align their votes with the leadership despite opposition claims. Recent campaign attacks have had little to do with policy.
The recent split of our commercial rate from our residential rate which both opposition candidates indicated that they felt was a poor idea. Yet 19 out of 39 RI towns have a higher commercial rate than residential rate. We worked with the EG Chamber of Commerce to work to give a discount rate to smaller businesses. Rep. Caldwell and Sen Valverde helped introduce this at the statehouse and worked with the town to get it passed. Why are their opposition candidates opposed to giving relief to our residents for the benefit of a few?
The current silence of the RIGOP and its candidates choosing not to speak up at some of the more alarming rhetoric coming out of Washington speaks of a lack of compassion and political will. I do not want someone to represent me or my family who listens in silence while a leader mocks or undermines people they do not agree with or who looks different, or remains silent during attacks by this administration upon the military and the laws that govern this state and nation or continues to stay silent during false claims about voting and scientific fact. We need our local GA leaders to work with the town, not for their party alone. Both of the opposition candidates are strong supporters of Mr. Trump and have not backed down despite all.
One of the acts of the current administration is the rollback or elimination of environmental laws. The Clean Water Rule which the Trump administration rolled back, allows more pollution in our local fresh waterways. 30 percent of RI is dependent on well water, including most of western East Greenwich. This is our drinking water. This will all flow into Narragansett Bay ultimately. The Bay is an important part of our economy, both as a working body of water as well as tourist dollars.
I may not always agree with Rep. Caldwell or Sen. Valverde but we’ve always been able to work through our differences. At this time with the current Supreme Court nominee and the GOP leadership, the right of Rhode Island to ensure reproductive health, the ACA, advocating for the needs of special education students, COVID-19 relief and common sense gun legislation are paramount. These items are popular with the majority of Rhode Islanders yet opposition candidates would claim otherwise.
I think East Greenwich is a great town to live and work. I am fortunate to live in town with so many people with different views and backgrounds. We all have so much to contribute. We have some big challenges ahead with the Covid crisis but we can persevere with help from our current local representatives.
(These views are mine alone and do not represent the EG Town Council.)
Renu Englehart is a member of the East Greenwich Town Council; she is seeking reelection.