Episode Information

What's the Story in the Ocean State?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
01/08/2009
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In this episode:

A discussion about Rhode Island's problems

 

Episode Audio

49:03 minutes (23.55 MB)
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Our neighbor to the east is having problems, just like the rest of the country in this recession—but they seem magnified in Rhode Island—the country’s smallest state, where unemployment is nearing 10% and the percentage budget deficit is the largest in the nation.  Home prices are plummeting, and population, too, is taking a hit.  Rhode Island was one of only two states in the country to lose population last year.  (The other was Michagan.)  Lawmakers convened this week to begin a new session and last night, Governor Carcieri unveiled his plan to close the deficit.  Today on Where We Live, we’ll talk to the state’s Lieutenant Governor and to two seasoned Rhode Island political observers, Maureen Moakley and Scott McKay.  We’d love to hear from you—especially if you live or work in Rhode Island.  What’s the story with the Ocean State?


 
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Listener email from Ann

A Rhode Islander born and bred, I have been trying unsuccessfully for years to identify work in my field in RI. I am an Occupational Therapist with a doctoral degree and thirty years of clinical, administrative, higher education and research experience. I have literally explored all of the options, I believe...from post-professional fellowship programs to trying to engender interest at local colleges and universities to start a professional level occupational therapy educational program (there are only 2 associate degree level programs in state, no professional program in my field) even to exploring atypical titled positions for someone in my field (directorships of non-profit community organizations, for example or academic administrative positions). All of this was done to no avail. Shouldn't there be a job for someone like me in my home state?
 
In September, out of love for my aging parents and my home state, I 'bit the bullet' and moved out of NY City, walked away from a very secure position and now commute and telecommute between Quinnipiac University in Hamden,CT and Bristol, RI (119 miles each direction).  I work as the Director of a post-Professional on-line Masters degree program. Thankfully I commute, but also can telecommute. Thankfully, I also work for an awesome university that is also a wonderful and exciting place to work!
 
Because of the sagging economy, I have been unable to sell my apartment in Manhattan, so while I have taken work with a lesser bottom dollar, and while people will say "the cost of living is much lower in RI", no one knows what it is truly like to be a single woman, a caregiver and to try to economically fend for oneself by economically 'keeping ones nose above water'.
 
As the primary caregiver to my parents, I must be available for their needs and advocacy, as well. I believe I also represent an emerging silent majority-baby boomers who are single and aging. RI lacks the social and community financial support (in part because the economy is so poor) and the infrastructure  to care for it's aging and disabled residents.I will age, retire and live until I die as a resident of RI. It is my home and my heritage. I am so saddened by the current state of the state, but I remain forward focused and hopeful about the future.
 
The irony for me is that many neighbors, friends and family always contact me for sage wisdom and advise. They are always amazed at my insights and counsel. The reality is that I am so wise, in part, because of what I am educated and experienced to do. My service to my community 'flies under the radar.' People need to know what I know and frequently benefit from my advice-and I should be able to professionally offer this service in RI, but in RI my services don't have a niche market.

Listener email from Jordan

I lived in Southern Rhode Island and moved to North East Connecticut three years ago. I  originally came to RI for the film industry from New York City. I worked in Providence and towns and cities across Rhode Island where I Art Directed 5 major films and two seasons of a Showtime series.  Over that time I saw so many young people move from apartments in Massachusetts to buy houses in emerging neighborhoods around Providence.  The film tax credit that brought all this business to Rhode Island has been capped and that has killed production. I have to work in New York now. All my friends are moving back to Massachusetts.  If Rhode Island doesn't restore the film credit it will kill the film business in the state and further push out more young creative people.

The Connecticut film tax credit is wonderful but it only promotes business around the Stamford New York City area. If Rhode Island would restore it's film tax program and we could allow the Rhode Island union members to work here in Connecticut it would be a huge economic boon for the entire second District of Connecticut.

Jordan Jacobs
Hampton CT