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6/6/2017 House Corporations Committee to Hear Testimony on Representative Mendonça Bill, Affecting the Commerce Corporation
STATE HOUSE  --  On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Representative Kenneth Mendonça (R-District 72 Middletown, Portsmouth) will testify before the House Corporations Committee on legislation (H-6201) he submitted, affecting the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.
 
House bill 6201 would add to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation two public members appointed by the Governor, employed as senior managers in companies having the majority of their business in the defense industry and having facilities located in this state. 
 
This would bring the number of board membership to fifteen, which includes the Governor, who serves as a member of the board and as chairperson, ex-officio, who votes only in the event of a tie.
 
Mendonça said, “According to a recent Salve Regina authored NUWC Economic Impact Study, submarines and undersea weapons systems and submarine construction are the top 7th and 5th employers in Rhode Island and combined they are the 3th largest employer in the state.”   
 
“It is the goal of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to develop good-paying sustainable jobs for Rhode Islanders, and the defense industry fulfills this goal.  Unfortunately, based on their biographies, not a single member of the Commerce Corporation has experience with or understanding of the defense industry.  This sector has been an economic staple for RI and New England for decades.  Its economic impact continues to be undervalued and not marketed for expansion.  Appointing two members with experience in the defense industry to the Commerce Corporation will change this,” he added.
 
The primary geographical areas where the sector and employment has flourished has been Aquidneck Island and Quonset.
 
“The state is an hour ride from end to end.  There is no reason why a mill in Pawtucket cannot be part of the defense sector.  There are many visionaries in the defense sector that can make this a workable solution for Rhode Island.  It is important to mention that the defense industry has a broad spectrum of employment opportunities that go well beyond offensive and defensive systems.  The defense industry needs to have a voice and seats on the commerce corporation board to finally expand the defense industry and create a northeast hub.”
 
Under Representative Mendonça’s legislation, each gubernatorial appointee shall be subject to the advice and consent of the senate and no one shall be eligible for appointment unless he or she is a resident of this state. The membership of the board shall reflect the geographic diversity of the state.  Also, four of the public members shall be owners or principals of small businesses doing business in this state which are independently owned and operated and each of which employs one hundred (100) or fewer persons. Two (2) of the public members shall be employed as senior managers in companies having the majority of their business in the defense industry and having facilities located in the state of Rhode Island. One other of the public members shall be a representative of organized labor. One other of the public members shall be a representative of higher education.



For more information, contact:
Raina C. Smith, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2259