Letter: Raimondo is no Rhode Island ‘Person of the Year’

Posted 1/4/21

To the editor:

Most often to maintain our composure, we just should apply a skeptical eye to what we read in the newspapers, smile to ourselves, and move on, but occasionally the truly ludicrous …

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Letter: Raimondo is no Rhode Island ‘Person of the Year’

Posted

To the editor:

Most often to maintain our composure, we just should apply a skeptical eye to what we read in the newspapers, smile to ourselves, and move on, but occasionally the truly ludicrous requires a response. Last week’s coronation of Gov. Raimondo by Arlene Violet as Rhode Island “Person of the Year” is such an occasion. Whether this was merely rooting for the home team, pandering or delusional, is best left to those who know Ms. Violet better.

For those of us working in the dreaded private sector, results counted, not press conferences or public relations. Elected to manage a pandemic among other responsibilities, compared to all 50 states Gov. Raimondo managed Rhode Island into the sixth-worst death rate per capita, the fourth-worst COVID death rate among the most vulnerable residents of nursing homes and the second-worst COVID deaths occurring in nursing homes as a percentage total COVID deaths, a tragic 73 percent.

Her much ballyhooed contact tracing (and expensive) software “innovative partnership” with Saleforce, Inc was a total bust that mercifully sunk quietly below the waves after its much-publicized introduction last spring. About 1 percent of Rhode Islanders ever bothered to sign up, and those that did reported many missing and false contacts when put to the test.

Perhaps Ms. Violet was looking at the governor’s sterling performance in other areas?

Rhode Island has the eighth-highest total tax burden in the country. (https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-highest-lowest-tax-burden/20494/)

Rhode Island boasts the worst infrastructure ranking in the country — 50th out of 50. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/07/08/states-that-are-falling-apart/39644781/)

To add to the misery, we are dead last in the country for business friendliness — 50th out of 50. (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/americas-top-states-for-business-2019.html)

Thankfully though, we are not last in the country in the category for which Gov. Raimondo is routinely praised: her highly touted pension reform. Rhode Island comes in at No. 45, with 54 percent of its overall pension obligations unfunded. (https://files.taxfoundation.org/20200414181042/Pension-2020-FV-01-01.png)

Ms. Violet’s point of Gov. Raimondo performing “yeoman’s work” was well-taken. Yeoman’s work is never to be denigrated: showing up everyday and working hard is commendable, but when entrusted with the top job in a state, it is barely the price of admission and woefully inadequate as performance criteria when inspired leadership and successful results were required. Such results as shown above would have gotten a purported leader in private business fired in short order and looking for a job to which they were better suited.

Perhaps Gov. Raimondo would be a pleasant companion at a wine and painting party; again, that is best left to those who know her better. But pleasant company and well-connected media relationships do not qualify her as a good or even competent governor and most certainly do not earn the grades even minimally necessary for her to be considered as a “Person of the Year.”

How about one of our amazing health care provider heroes or a small business owner who managed to keep all her employees working and paid throughout the lockdowns? Surely we could find a more deserving candidate among them. 

Respectfully submitted,

Jack Parquette

15 Birch St.

Portsmouth

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