One-on-One: Gov. Raimondo on first year in office
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is just about done with her first year in office. The state’s first ever female Governor tells ABC 6 News that she thinks Rhode Island is moving in the right direction.
"What do you consider your biggest accomplishments?" asked reporter Samantha Fenlon.
"The economy has created 6,000 jobs this year. People are doing better, families are earning more,” said Raimondo.
The Governor also says she is proud of finalizing the pension settlement, creating the scholarship program, Rhode Island’s Promise, and re–inventing Medicaid.
"We’re getting going but there’s an awful lot to do,” said Raimondo.
In terms of challenges, the Governor says one of her biggest frustrations of the first term is the fact that legislation to add trucking tolls to pay for fixing up the state’s decaying bridges and roads stalled out.
"I put a proposal forth. It’s been sitting there for eight months. The senate passed it, the house is just studying it. We need action,” said Raimondo.
The Governor has been criticized for not releasing the specific locations for gantries when it comes to tolling.
"The precise locations, like exactly where are these going to go, you can’t do that until you know what legislation is going to pass. How much money are we going to raise? What bridges are we going to fix?" said Raimondo.
"I think there’s a fear among the public that maybe this will start as trucking tolls but it will eventually become that everybody has to pay these tolls. What do you have to say to that? Do you think that is a possibility?" asked Fenlon.
"I would never support that. In fact, the proposal that I put into legislators specifically prohibits tolling passenger cars,” said Raimondo.
When it comes to the Governor’s relationship with the General Assembly, specifically the Speaker of the House, Raimondo points to the positive results they’ve yielded in past months.
"I think the founding fathers were smart, they set up a natural tension between the executive branch and the legislative branch,” said Raimondo. “There’s going to be that tension, but the proof is in the pudding."
And, as we look on to year number two, the Governor says her top priority in addition to roads and bridges is improving skills training for jobs that are currently available but aren’t being filled.
"Too many people in Rhode Island have a part time job, a job that doesn’t pay enough, or maybe no job. The best way to get them from where they are to a good job is to help get skills that employers are looking for,” said Raimondo.
© WLNE-TV 2015