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Guest MINDSETTER™ Casimiro: RI National Guard is Crucial to Our Economy

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Julie Casimiro

I am inspired by my most recent visit to the Quonset Point Air National Guard Base to share some exciting developments regarding the Rhode Island National Guard (RING). Readers may be most familiar with Quonset through the RING’s annual Open House and Air Show, or from the distinct sounds of the transport planes and utility helicopters. It is home to the 143d Airlift Wing and the 126th Aviation Battalion. They add tremendous value to the region and I remain impressed by the contributions and sacrifices of its membership in order to serve the nation and our state.

The RING is a significant economic engine.  Each state dollar expended on the organization in 2017 leveraged $49.22 in federal funding. The RING expended in excess of $102.8 million in military and civilian pay coupled with an additional $22.5 million in construction projects.  These projects include the Joint Force Headquarters in East Greenwich.

Soldiers and Airmen serving in these Quonset based units comprise the majority of the over 300 RING members currently deployed in support of overseas contingency operations. 126th Aviation Battalion is a fully self-supporting helicopter organization responsible for missions involving personnel and equipment transportation, as well as medical evacuations of critical care patients.  The Wing’s airlift capability features a fleet of eight C-130J cargo airplanes.  Valued in excess of $75 million each, they are the most modern version of aircraft in its class.

The 143d builds successful global partnerships around this platform. They have trained over 400 students from nine partner nations through their international pilot training program.  Those students have been extended guests within our local economy.

During the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the RI Air National Guard provided humanitarian aid and disaster relief in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Throughout the relief operations, the 143d Airlift Wing executed more than sixteen missions, transporting 743 passengers and 327,000 pounds of cargo.

About one-half of the 3,150 members of the RING train and operate out of Quonset and more than 325 of the RING’s full-time positions are based here. A 2015 study on the economic impact of the Rhode Island Defense Sector by Bryant University noted that this is the highest wage paying sector in RI.

The professionals that serve in the National Guard today attain a higher degree of specialized training and professional education than ever before. The RING is persistently engaged in interagency collaboration in support of its state and federal missions.  At any one time, about one-fifth of their organization are enrolled in higher education.

More than $49 million in federal funds have been invested in infrastructure improvements at Quonset over the past ten years. These projects include the construction of an air traffic control tower and a helicopter hangar and maintenance facility.  The RING will invest $9.6 million of federal money in the operations at the Quonset State Airport over the next two years.  The RING contributes over $4.8 million annually to support airport operations through air traffic control, and sustaining an Air Force Fire Department. There is currently over $30 million programmed for projects including runway reconstruction and new ramps and taxiways.  The most advanced flight simulator, valued at $20 million, will be installed within the next eighteen months. This training facility, unique in the northeast region, will serve as a destination for training guests.

The Quonset Point Air National Guard Base is a valuable resource within our community that supports our economy with over 1,200 full and part-time members and military construction projects.  The installation provides training and support to the defense and aviation sectors of the greater northeast region. The RING created an overall economic impact of $261,671,997 during the past year.  This critical activity within our community would not occur without the presence of our state's military forces. I am proud of all of the accomplishments of our professional men and women of the Rhode Island National Guard.  We can faithfully rely on them, in concert with their motto, to be "always ready, always there."


Rep. Julie A. Casimiro is a Democrat representing District 31 in North Kingstown and Exeter


Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017

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Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

Prev Next

Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%

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Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don't know/Refused: .6%

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%

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Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don't know/Refused: 5%

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Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don't know/Refused: 1%

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Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don't know: 4%

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Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don't know/refused: 17%

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What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%

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Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%

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Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%

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Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%

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Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

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Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

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Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%

Prev Next

Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%


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