On Tuesday, the State of Rhode Island began another New Year at the State House as the General Assembly began their legislative session.
The beginning of a new legislative year often provides opportunities of hope and promise to Rhode Island, however this year the General Assembly faces the bleak prospect of huge budget deficits and a struggling economy. Skeptics and cynics on the sidelines continue to dash all hope that Rhode Island can meet the herculean task of setting the state on a sound and sensible economic course.
Yet in the midst of such a struggling economy and with the prospect of widespread budget cuts across the board it is important to realize how all of Rhode Island’s population continues to struggle. Too many face continued unemployment with little chance of finding work. The poor and needy face another cold winter with inadequate funding for heat and other necessary provisions. The elderly continue to be burdened with expensive costs for prescriptions. Catholic school students - especially those in urban areas - continue to require the support of a tuition tax credit to sustain their educational choice and in turn provide much needed resources for public school students and teachers. The institution of marriage is again under attack and needs protection to preserve family life and traditional civilization. The innocent unborn of our state need recognition while the battle to respect the right to life of all Rhode Islanders continues to be fought.
Indeed much work needs to be done across the board in Rhode Island. We urge all Rhode Island citizens especially those in the large Catholic community to defy the critics and cynics and get involved in the legislative process. Let us work together to remind our state leaders - especially Governor Carcieri, House Speaker Murphy and Senate President Paiva-Weed- that the poor, the hungry, the cold, the economically deprived Catholic student, the institution of marriage and the life of the unborn must not be forgotten or simply left behind as a budget cut. We urge citizens to get involved, to send an e-mail or make the phone call with your concerns to your local representative. Act today and everyday to keep the hope for all Rhode Islanders alive and well on Smith Hill. This year more than ever we need that hope.