After Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker attended Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s inauguration Tuesday, she returned the favor and attended Baker’s ceremony on Thursday, pledging collaboration between the two states, particularly in the areas of economic development and energy supply.
Both were elected to their first terms for governor in November.
Raimondo is a Democrat and Baker is a Republican. That aside, Raimondo told reporters inside the Massachusetts State House that they had some things in common: their shared business backgrounds and the fact that both states cheer for the Red Sox.
The partnership may not just be all talk. In 2013, Baker contributed $1,000 to Raimondo’s campaign, the maximum allowed under Rhode Island law.
“We need to work together to revitalize New England’s economy,” Raimondo said. “[Baker] is facing a budget deficit. Rhode Island is facing a budget deficit. We need to get creative. We need to work together to solve these problems.”
On energy, she said that with both states facing electricity rate increases of 26 percent and more, they have the common need to look at ways to increase energy supply, particularly when it comes to natural gas. She said the rate hikes were “not sustainable.”
“You will not create jobs that way, especially manufacturing jobs, because they are big energy consumers. So Governor Baker and I need to come up with a strategy to keep costs down,” she said.
Raimondo said she expects to be in touch with Baker – formally or informally – at least once a month.