Politics as a profession may be described as being reliant on mastering the difficult duality between offering lofty promises of positive change with the harsh reality of understanding what can feasibly be accomplished by any one person or government
Politics as a profession may be described as being reliant on mastering the difficult duality between offering lofty promises of positive change with the harsh reality of understanding what can feasibly be accomplished by any one person or government body.
Successful politicians, therefore, are metaphorical tight rope walkers regarding the promises they make and the goals they attempt to accomplish. This approach can cause justified frustration and criticism among the voting populace when change occurs slowly, or perhaps not at all, despite all those optimistic messages of gradual improvement and little victories.
This is why we sincerely hope that the messaging coming directly from Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, in a memo sent to media outlets last week, represents something different.
Ruggerio outlined a platform for the Rhode Island Senate in 2022 full of goals that, should they be accomplished, would represent a huge leap forward for Rhode Islanders and the state as a whole.
The Senate President targeted not just one goal, but four specific goals and a few more vague ones that could have, as he writes, a “transformational” effect on some of the most important issues facing us today, including universal Pre-K, student loan relief for teachers and health care workers, improving clean water infrastructure and fighting climate change.
This holistic approach to making positive change is what we need at a time where political cynicism is high and everyday spirits have been battered by a seemingly never-ending period of crisis. It is an approach that doesn’t shy away from complex problems, but rather attempts to tackle them head-on.
We find the increased access to Pre-K and student loan forgiveness suggestion for healthcare workers and teachers particularly of note. These two investments would have a profound effect on three areas that need critical assistance — childcare, healthcare, and education. We can think of few more worthy causes at a time where quality education and support for those who have given so much of themselves for so long need a helping hand. Tangible political power is needed to provide that assistance, and it is encouraging to see a commitment to those endeavors coming from one of the most powerful leaders in the state.
The same can be said for a commitment to establishing a pathway to all renewable energy by 2030. Is it an attainable goal? Maybe, and maybe not. But setting that goal and a path to get there is the only place to start, and it should be recognized.
Although they were not expanded upon in detail, the Senate President’s pledge to make affordable child care a priority, as well as affordable housing, should also be noted. We find it hard to separate childcare and affordable housing from other elements of our infrastructure that gain more widespread approval. How can an economy function to its best potential when parents can’t work due to being unable to afford a place to leave their child? How can an economy expect to succeed when so many find themselves out of doors, or spending 75 percent of their income on overpriced rent?
Nothing that the Senate President has addressed as a goal are new concepts, and many have been fighting for these priorities long before Mr. Ruggerio penned his letter, but we have to hope — for our own sake — that his voluntary release of these legislative priorities is indicative that our state leaders are committed to making these lofty goals an actual reality, not in the distant future, but as soon as possible.
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