We would like to add our perspectives to the April 23 Boston Globe article “Middle class eroding, gap widening in Bristol, RI.”
Historically, Bristol has been and is a culturally and economically diverse community. Bristol residents trace their roots from many different countries, but all have the commonality of wanting to make Bristol their home. It is quote common to have several generations of families calling Bristol their home.
Visitors come to Bristol for our beautiful downtown and great restaurants, but more importantly, people move here to be part of a wonderful community that supports each other in every way. We have a highly skilled volunteer fire department and division of emergency medical services. Neighbors are willing to risk their lives for each other and help protect their neighbors’ property.
We have a July 4th celebration that is the oldest in the country and run entirely by volunteers who work year-round to commemorate what America stands for: freedom and independence. We have sent our sons and daughters to protect and defend our nation to ensure we continue to enjoy the American way of life.
Yes, we have a food pantry and soup kitchen that provide food to the needy, which serve Bristol residents as well as people from as far away as Providence and Newport. This, too, exemplifies our care and concern for each other.
The income gap here has widened, and Bristol attracts retirees, but we should look at other numbers, too. Statistics from HousingWorksRI show that from 2006-2012, Bristol added 440 affordable housing units. We want everyone to enjoy this special town.
The economic recovery has been slow, but our brightest days are ahead. We are recovering from the recession, with new businesses and vibrant maritime trades leading the way.
In the true Bristol spirit, we are working together to implement policies to speed our recovery and improve the quality of life for all our residents.
State Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
State Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall