Guest MINDSETTER™ Maryellen Butke: Why I’m Running for State Senate
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Times are tough in Rhode Island. Our state is suffering from the second highest unemployment rate in the nation and recently, CNBC ranked Rhode Island the worst place for doing business in the United States.
However, we know that our state has tremendous potential and a plethora of assets. Most importantly, we are all in this together – and must work together to move our state forward. In these times of economic stress, we need to roll up our sleeves and find real solutions to the problems we face.
That’s why I’m running for State Senate in District 3. There are a lot of different ways to change the world, and each of us contributes in our own way. But this is my time to step up -- to step into the arena and to do my part to put Rhode Islanders back to work and help create a more optimistic outlook for future generations.
I believe we can move Rhode Island forward by bolstering our economy and creating jobs; promoting innovation and excellence in education; and enhancing our transportation system and infrastructure while protecting public lands.
My top priority as a State Senator will be to help create jobs in the Ocean State, and foster a sustainable business climate that will move us toward a more prosperous tomorrow.
As someone who has run two successful businesses in Providence, I know first hand what it means to be an entrepreneur, to take a risk, and to build from the ground up. I have also heard many stories of new business owners who get mired in the silos and red-tape here in Rhode Island. We have to make creating a business more streamlined and business-friendly.
In the State Senate, I will lead the charge to cut red-tape and cultivate a business climate where small and medium size businesses can grow and hire new workers.
We also know that a key to bolstering our state’s economy is education. Companies want to do business in places where employees can send their kids to top-notch schools. Rhode Island is on the right track, but we still have a long way to go to have the best public schools in the country.
While serving as the executive director at RI-CAN, I led the charge to bring the high performing school, Achievement First, to our state. Achievement First’s mission is to put all scholars on a path to college. This game-changing school will significantly change the course of hundreds of children’s lives.
As a State Senator – and a mother of two children – I will continue my lifelong work to make Rhode Island a better place for future generations of children. I passionately believe that Rhode Island must be a leader in education innovation and excellence and equip all students with the skills they need to succeed in college or career and compete in a global economy. Giving traditional schools the same freedom and flexibility that charter schools have will allow them to bring much needed innovation to the classroom and district.
Another key facet to growing our state’s economy is addressing our transportation issues.
In fact, CNBC ranked us dead last in their 2012 report on this front. But there are plans in the works to address transportation problems in our state – for example, creating a light rail streetcar line in Providence will make it easier for folks to utilize public transit. And in doing so, we must ensure that it is created in the most cost-efficient, practical way possible to reduce costs and minimize impact on the surrounding community during construction.
Furthermore, as we seek to remedy our state’s transportation woes, we must also seek to preserve public lands that are key to those who reside in the Fox Point and East Side neighborhoods of Providence.
As a State Senator, I will fight for enhanced public transportation in our state while protecting public lands that are vital to the way of life for many.
With bold leadership aimed at growing our economy and creating jobs, we can move our state toward future prosperity – putting Rhode Islanders back to work and making our state a place where future generations can thrive.
Maryellen Butke is a candidate for State Senate in District 3 (www.maryellenbutke.com). She is a graduate of Providence College with a Ph D. from Smith College, and is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School State and Local Executive Leaders program. She has also run two successful small businesses in Providence, oversaw multiple departments as a director at the Met School in Providence, and successfully fought to bring Achievement First to Rhode Island as the Executive Director of RI-CAN.
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