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Here’s what keeps R.I.’s business leaders awake at night

Rhode Island State House in Providence, RI.
Rhode Island State House in Providence, RI.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I promise that stealing pitches from second base in Little League doesn’t make a difference. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com

From education and workforce development to taxes and business rankings, members of Rhode Island’s business community agree state leaders have a lot of issues to address in the coming years.


Rhode Map asked leaders from seven chambers of commerce around the state to identify what keeps them up at night when they are thinking about the economy.

Here’s how they responded.

Laurie White, Greater Providence Chamber

“Having the ability to constantly provide the talent pool demanded by current day and future employers. Workforce is the key economic development differentiator today, hands down.”

John Gregory, Northern Rhode Island Chamber

“Workforce development and career readiness are both critical components to the current and future success of Rhode Island. We have made great strides, but we need to do even more.”

Stephen Lombardi, East Greenwich Chamber

“The long-term viability of a successful Rhode Island economy is tied to improving education in grades 1-12. Currently, there is a skills gap in filling today’s and tomorrow’s jobs. It needs to be addressed quickly and aggressively.”

Erin Donovan-Boyle, Newport County Chamber

“The broader health of the economy keeps me up at night. Rhode Island is one of the first states to be impacted by a recession and one of the last states to recover. Any hint of a downturn in the market always causes concern for the local business community throughout all sectors.”


Laura McNamara, East Providence Area Chamber

“How does Rhode Island break the cycle of consistently appearing first on the worst-of, and last on the best-of, lists in the country? The population is aging, and young, educated people are moving out. The business community and taxes from lottery jackpot winners cannot continue to bail out the state’s budget shortfalls.”

Stephen Boyle, Greater Cranston Chamber

“The thing that keeps me up is the possible flight of major employers being lured to other states, thus causing severe disruption not just on the state level, but on the city level as well. The impact on secondary spending for small businesses would be significant.”

Mark G. DeVine, East Bay Chamber

“What keeps me up at night is legislation that is coming out of the General Assembly. We have progressive legislators that ‘talk’ about being pro-business, but their legislation and voting doesn’t show it. It’s no wonder why we are dead last as a business-friendly state.”


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

You might not have heard of the Partnership for Rhode Island, but it’s everywhere. The powerful business group, whose members pay $100,000 a year for a seat the table, has played a big role in both the proposed Care New England merger and the Providence schools takeover. Here’s my profile of the organization.


One fun fact about the partnership: It’s modeled after the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, and the two groups share a member. Bank of America CEO and chairman Brian Moynihan is on both boards.

Is the Rhode Island Department of Transportation slashing funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects or making an even larger investment? It depends who you ask, reports Ed Fitzpatrick.

No, it’s not 2012 all over again. But yes, Curt Schilling and former Governor Lincoln Chafee appear in the same story. With Schilling mulling a run for Congress in Arizona, the Globe’s Adrian Walker reminds us the former Red Sox star has gone off the rails since leaving baseball.

“Just hours before he and his mother left Point Judith, [Nathan] Carman drilled holes into the boat to remove four trim tabs at the transom water line and filled them with putty…” The Globe’s Shelley Murphy reports from day one of Carman’s civil trial.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor is off to Denmark for the rest of the week to meet with potential partners in the offshore wind industry.

Activists are holding another rally in Central Falls to protest ICE tonight. Last time this happened, nearly 20 people were arrested.

With students returning to class in fewer than three weeks, the Providence School Board meets tonight for updates on building conditions.


Tip of the day: The Dunkin’ at 270 Academy Ave. in Providence is giving away 250 free small hot/iced pumpkin coffees today. You’re welcome.

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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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