WPRI.com: Cicilline, Democrats react to Trump’s latest staff appointment

WPRI.com: Cicilline, Democrats react to Trump’s latest staff appointment

By Liliana Rutler Published: November 16, 2016, 6:31 am Updated: November 16, 2016, 1:44 pm

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline and other Democrats are increasing calls for President-elect Donald Trump to drop former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, whom Trump named as White House Chief Strategist.

Bannon has come under fire for Breitbart’s ties to the “Alt-Right” movement and it’s purported links to white nationalism.

n a letter to Trump that Cicilline is circulating on Capitol Hill, he writes,

“Millions of Americans have expressed fear and concern about how they will be treated by the Trump administration and your appointment of Mr. Bannon only exacerbates and validates their concerns.”
Cicilline’s office says more than 100 of his colleagues have signed the letter. Among them was Congressman Jim Langevin, who released a statement on Wednesday.

“My office has been absolutely flooded with phone calls, emails, and social media comments from constituents who are rightfully afraid of the influence that Bannon could potentially have on public policy in this administration. While the President-elect has the right to surround himself with the advisers of his choice, I believe this appointment sends a dangerous message to the American people,” said Langevin. “I have always tried to work in a bipartisan way, and I am ready to work with the incoming administration, as well, but I am not willing to do so at the expense of common decency.

“As I said earlier this week, we cannot let Bannon’s divisive behavior and rhetoric be normalized,” he continued. “This isn’t about political affiliations; this is about cultivating an environment in this country where people of every race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation feel safe, valued, and empowered.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Senate Democrats said in a news conference that elevating Bannon to a top White House post undermines Trump’s claims that he wants to unite the country.

“Actions speak louder than words. It’s easy to look at a TV camera and tell people to stop the hate. But when you say that and look at the TV camera, and the next moment the action you take is to appoint Steve Bannon? You’re sending a very different and stronger message in the opposition direction.” – Sen. Chris Van Hollen Jr., D-Maryland
Members of Trump’s staff have defended Bannon, denying claims that he is prejudiced.

Unlike cabinet positions, Trump’s picks for his White House Staff do not require congressional approval.

Warwick Beacon: Vets thanked, homelessness still an issue

Warwick Beacon: Vets thanked, homelessness still an issue

Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2016 11:34 am
By Tessa Roy
“There is no better way to say thank you to a veteran than actually giving them a hand that they need,” said Dee DeQuattro, Director of Communications for Operation Stand Down Rhode Island. On Friday, the organization did just that by hosting a resource fair at Warwick Mall.

Governor Gina Raimondo, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed and Representative Jim Langevin were among the leaders who visited the fair where veterans and their families could learn about their options for housing, employment, training and supportive services.

“It’s wonderful to be here because it’s Veterans Day and the best way to show our gratitude for veterans is to take care of them here in the state of Rhode Island,” said Raimondo. “I wanted to come out and be supportive of the volunteers here.”

OSDRI is a nonprofit handling the issues of veteran homelessness, housing, employment, benefit coordination and has four food pantries across the state.

The first issue is one that is particularly prevalent. According to OSDRI despite the “Zero 2016” campaign that aimed to end veteran homelessness by 2016 and the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless’s announcement that veteran homelessness in the state was nearly over, the issue is still “rampant.” In fact, OSDRI said it has witnessed an increasing number of homeless veterans seeking services.

Since the announcement was made last November, OSDRI  has housed more than 300 veterans through its various programs, and the list of chronically homeless veterans maintained by the State Continuum of Care and RI Homeless Coalition has almost doubled, the organization said in a release. Since October 2015, OSDRI has helped 191 homeless veterans get into their own permanent housing and assisted another 102 veterans who were on the verge of eviction keep their housing. Additionally, the organization houses 88 veterans and their families in its own supportive housing located across the state, 20 of which were placed just this year.

“While it might have been a great photo op to declare victory last year, those of us who work in veterans services know that the fight is far from over. This year alone the number of homeless veterans continues to rise,” said OSDRI Executive Director Erik Wallin.

“When we raised this issue a year ago, we mentioned our concerns that such statements may drive away needed resources from veterans and today we want to remind the public that the issue is far from over. Veteran homelessness needs to remain at the forefront of public discussion as there is no reason for the men and women who served our country to end up homeless and forgotten in the very country they swore to defend.”

Dee DeQuattro said Friday’s event aimed to reach out to a broad spectrum of veterans. She said OSDRI coordinated with the likes of the VA and the state to put on the fair. The event they hope to host annually was a huge success, bringing in “tons” of veterans all day, she said.

“A lot of people have a celebration on Veterans Day, and that’s great. It’s really important to honor our veterans, but it’s also important to do something,” DeQuattro said. “That’s why we’re here doing this and having this event. We want to make a difference and actually help these veterans.”

Langevin said he was glad OSDRI was making resources accessible to veterans.

“I’m grateful for the work Operation Stand Down is doing. It’s a nice way to honor our veterans by making sure we’re honoring our promises to them,” Langevin said.

Also in attendance was Director of Veterans Affairs Kasim Yarn, who heads the Office of Veterans Affairs that opened in September.

DeQuattro said OSDRI advocated for the new office and that the two refer people back and forth between them often. Yarn said the new Jefferson Boulevard office is doing “awesome” and sees approximately 10 veterans a day.

“At the end of the day, no veteran has to walk by themselves,” Yarn said. “We will guide them through the process…We are not taking our foot off the gas when it comes to helping our veterans, and events like these showcase that importance.”

Yarn and Raimondo also discussed their hopes and anticipations for Rhode Island veterans under the upcoming presidency.

“President-elect Trump has expressed in the campaign admiration for veterans, and I hope that he will demonstrate that admiration through providing us funding and support for the work we’re doing for our veterans here in Rhode Island,” she said.

Yarn said it would be important to partner with the federal VA to work in a collaborative way and ensure sure “no veteran falls through the cracks.”

Respectability Report: Disability Champion Jim Langevin Wins Rhode Island Re-Election

Respectability Report: Disability Champion Jim Langevin Wins Rhode Island Re-Election

Published by Dionne Joseph on November 11, 2016
Washington, Nov 11 – Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, a Democratic member of congress for more than 20 years, won the re-election for Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district, holding off Republican Rhue Reis.

Langevin completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for the presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates, that was written by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Reis did not respond to the questionnaire.

“I have made it a hallmark of my work in public service to break down social barriers and educate people about the value that people with disabilities bring to our society,” Langevin responded in the questionnaire. “People with disabilities are our greatest untapped resource, and I will continue fighting for them through efforts that include U.S. ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to ensure that everyone, not just Americans, is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Langevin, who acquired a disability prior to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has spoken often about the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities.

“To so many of us, I have to say the ADA has probably altered the paradigm, providing new opportunities and fundamentally changing the way society views and treats us,” he said at an event on the sidelines of the DNC in July. “But as we all know, there is still so much work that lies ahead, because we haven’t even fully realized the vision and the promise of the Act.”

Langevin is a founder and a co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, an organization where a group of individuals come together and discuss the issues in the people with disability community.

In 2015, he contributed to the FAST Act, a transportation bill that would promote the transit system to make trains more accessible for individuals with disabilities. The bill would allow people with disabilities to gain more opportunities because of the accessible transit system.

Other priorities include having access to community services and supports; removing obstacles to health and wealth; encouraging employment opportunities for people with disabilities; and having a full implementation of the American with Disabilities Act.

“I know there are millions of people with disabilities across the nation who are stuck in their homes when they could be sitting in a classroom, a boardroom, or with me in Congress,” he previously said. “That’s why it is so important that we all take the time to recognize the needs of individuals with disabilities, and the simple ways employers can meet those needs and allow these talented people to achieve the dream of living independently and succeeding in the workplace.”

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Langevin’s response to the questionnaire below:

QUESTION 1: Do you have designated advisors and clear processes for making decisions on disability issues? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes. As the first quadriplegic elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the uncle of a nephew with autism, I consider these issues a top priority.  I am the co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus in Congress, which serves as a forum for members and staff to discuss policies and issues of importance to the disability community.  I also engage with Federal and state agencies and work regularly with disability advocates on a wide array of disability policies.  This work is coordinated through my legislative director and disability policy advisor with the input of my legislative, casework and outreach staff.
QUESTION 2: Is your campaign accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes, my campaign office is fully accessible, and my website contains key accessibility features.  I am also pleased to have volunteers of all races, religions, backgrounds, orientations, and abilities participating in my campaign.
QUESTION 3: Do you have a proven record on improving or a plan to improve the lives of people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have worked on numerous policies and proposals to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

In 2006, I authored and championed passage of the Lifespan Respite Care Act to provide respite services to the families of loved ones caring for people with disabilities, and I am continuing to lead the fight for stronger respite care funding 10 years later.

In 2008, I joined my colleagues in the fight to strengthen the Americans with Disabilities Act through passage of the ADA Amendments Act.  I also fought for passage of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act of 2009 to enhance research into paralysis and to improve rehabilitation services and quality of life for people living with disabilities.

In 2010, I was proud to support passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which banned annual and lifetime coverage limits, prohibited pre-existing condition exclusions, and expanded Medicaid assistance to empower more people with disabling conditions to obtain insurance coverage and access to care.

In 2014, I was proud to support efforts to pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, to empower people with disabilities to save for legitimate expenses without losing access to critical federal supports, like SSI and Medicaid.

In 2015, I authored an amendment to the FAST Act surface transportation bill that would encourage transit systems across the country to make public transit more accessible and user-friendly for people with disabilities.

Finally, I am proud to support efforts like the Transition to Independence Act and other measures that will assist people with disabilities achieve integrated employment and greater independence and inclusion in their communities, and I will continue the fight to move these priorities forward.
QUESTION 4: Do you have a plan/commitment to reduce the stigmas about people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes. I have made it a hallmark of my work in public service to break down social barriers and educate people about the value that people with disabilities bring to our society.  In fact, I believe people with disabilities are our greatest untapped resource, and I will continue fighting for them through efforts that include U.S. ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to ensure that everyone, not just Americans, is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
QUESTION 5: Do you have a proven record on enabling, or a plan to enable, people with disabilities to have jobs, careers and to start their own businesses? Do you have specific strategies for youth employment for people with disabilities and/or sector strategies such as jobs and careers in STEM, hospitality, healthcare and elder care? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  As co-chair of both the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I have a unique perspective on the intersection of policies that will provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities across a variety of sectors.  I supported passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, which took some important first steps toward encouraging integrated employment opportunities, and I am currently working to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, with a goal of being even more inclusive of students with disabilities so they can participate in the experiential learning process that is so important in today’s economy.  I am also a sponsor of a resolution supporting the inclusion of Art into STEM education, transforming STEM to STEAM for students of all abilities.
QUESTION 6: Do you have a plan to enable students with disabilities, including those from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds, to receive the diagnosis, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations/services they need to succeed in school and be prepared for competitive employment? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  I support stronger funding of IDEA Part B grants to states to realize more fully the potential of students with disabilities in schools.  I also support early childhood education programs and stronger resources for school counselors and other education and health professionals.
QUESTION 7: Do you have a plan to reform the benefits system (Medicaid, Medicaid buyin) to enable people with disabilities to work to the best of their capacities without losing supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  I am a cosponsor of the Transition to Independence Act, which would incentivize more integrated employment opportunities, including a Medicaid Buy-In program that would allow people who require Long-Term Care Services to work without fear of losing these critical supports that make them more self-sufficient.I also supported passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 to empower people with disabilities to save for legitimate expenses without losing access to critical federal supports, like SSI and Medicaid.  And I am a cosponsor of a package of bills that would strengthen the ABLE Act even further, including the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Financial Planning Act and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.
QUESTION 8: Do you have a plan to ensure people with disabilities are eligible for affordable health insurance regardless of preexisting conditions? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  I proudly supported passage of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded affordable coverage to 20 million previously uninsured people in the United States.  Although this was an important first step, more must be done to ensure that people don’t fall through the cracks as they work to determine the best coverage options for them, including critical long-term care coverage that is still sorely lacking in the private market.  Although I was disappointed that the CLASS provision in health reform couldn’t be implemented, I believe we must continue working towards a robust LTC insurance option for all.
QUESTION 9: Do you have a plan to provide home and community-based services to people with disabilities who would rather live in their own homes instead of institutions, and have the community attendant supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  I am an original cosponsor of the Disability Community Act, which would provide a temporary increase in Medicaid reimbursements for the community providers of services and supports as they come into compliance with federal overtime and minimum wage standards for PCAs.  I am also the primary sponsor of a bill to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care Act, which would continue building coordinated respite care service networks for family caregivers who provided $470 billion in uncompensated care in 2013, more than state and federal Medicaid payments combined.
QUESTION 10: Do you have a plan to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive services that would prevent them from being swept up into the criminal justice system, divert individuals with disabilities who are arrested to treatment options in lieu of jail where appropriate, receive needed accommodations in the criminal justice process and while incarcerated, and offer appropriate reentry support to help individuals with disabilities leaving jails and prisons reintegrate into their communities and secure jobs? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: People with disabilities – and juveniles in particular — experience disproportionately higher incarceration rates. We must take meaningful actions in any criminal justice reform measure to keep non-violent, disabled juveniles out of the juvenile justice system in the first place, reducing their exposure to additional violence and decreasing recidivism rates later in life.  This involves providing the proper community-based, educational, behavioral and mental health resources to address underlying issues before they become a problem.  It also requires engaging law enforcement and other community partners in education campaigns that include sensitivity training, de-escalation strategies, crisis management, and other tools that will result in more positive outcomes.
QUESTION 11: People with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of crime as those without disabilities. People with disabilities also are far more likely to suffer from police violence, partially because manifestations of disability can be misunderstood as defiant behavior. Do you have a plan to address these issues? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Congress must provide more resources to train teachers, case workers, police officers and others to utilize positive methods of interaction that include de-escalation strategies, crisis management, positive behavioral interventions, and additional strategies that will decrease the incidence of negative and disruptive social interactions.
QUESTION 12: Both children and adults with disabilities are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Do you have a plan to address this issue? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: The horrifying reality is that sexual abuse against people with disabilities is all too prevalent and must be stopped.  I have been a strong advocate of strengthening laws such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act to address instances of domestic violence and sexual assault in all forms.  And while these programs do assist victims with disabilities, much more can and must be done to ensure no barriers exist to receiving the services and supports that victims need, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
QUESTION 13: Do you have a plan for veterans with disabilities facing barriers transitioning from active duty to civilian employment? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: I strongly support the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which makes tax credits available to employers for hiring individuals who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment, including veterans. I am also proud to be the lead cosponsor of the Military and Veterans Caregiver Services Improvement Act, which would improve military caregiver services by making veterans of all eras eligible for caregiver support services; extending eligibility to include a wider array of needs that may require caregiving; and expanding services available to caregivers, such as child care, financial advice and legal counseling. It would also allow veterans in the VA caregiver program to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their dependents in recognition of the fact that a spouse, who may have been unemployed or underemployed previously, may now be required to become the primary source of income for the family.
QUESTION 14: Do you have a plan for accessible, affordable, integrated housing to allow people with disabilities to live in the communities where they work or are seeking work? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes.  I introduced the Veterans Homebuyer Accessibility Act, which would provide an $8,000 tax credit for veterans to purchase their first home, and an additional $8,000 tax credit for adaptive housing modifications.  This legislation will make it easier for our disabled veterans, who have served with distinction, to purchase a new home and make necessary adaptive modifications.  I also strongly support funding for Section 8 housing, as well as Section 202 and 811 supportive housing for the elderly and disabled.
QUESTION 15: Do you have a plan to address the lack of accessible transportation options that is a barrier to work for people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes. I was pleased to incorporate an amendment, adapted from my Transit Accessibility Innovation Act, into the surface transportation law encouraging transit systems to make public transportation more accessible and user-friendly for individuals with disabilities. This amendment increased the threshold of FTA funding that can go to paratransit services from 10 to 20 percent if the transit system is able to address accessibility deficiencies and improve service in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including qualifying for eligibility, telephone hold times, on-time performance, no-show policies, and origin-to-destination services.
QUESTION 16: Do you have a plan to advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes, I have advocated for strong Assistive Technology Act Program (ATAP) funding over the years, and I have hosted briefings as co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus on assistive technologies that can provide people with disabilities more inclusion and independence at home and in the workplace.
The RespectAbility Report is a nonpartisan political commentary on the 2016 U.S. elections with a focus on disability issues. The RespectAbility Report has covered all of the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, senate and governor. Coverage can be found at http://therespectabilityreport.org/. The RespectAbility Report is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates.

GoLocalProv: Congressman Langevin Releases Statement on the Election of Trump as President

GoLocalProv: Congressman Langevin Releases Statement on the Election of Trump as President

by the GoLocalProv News Team

Congressman Jim Langevin released a statement on Wednesday following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. 

Read Langevin’s Statement Below. 

“I want to thank Hillary Clinton for her lifetime of service to this country. As a First Lady, as a U.S. Senator, as Secretary of State, and as a candidate for President, she has been the ultimate public servant and I remain so proud to support her. Her vision for our nation is one that I share, and as I return to Washington, I will remember the ideals and values she fought for, and do my best to carry that torch in Congress.

While this is clearly not the outcome I had hoped for, if Hillary has taught us one thing, it’s that we should never give up and never stop fighting for what is right. Now, more than ever, we need people in government and in our communities who will champion progressive causes and represent the voices of the marginalized. There are many Americans waking up today feeling disappointment and fear; people who are unsure of where they fit in. Let us remind them – remind every American – that this is where they fit in. The United States is still the land of hope and opportunity, and we must each do our part to heal the wounds we felt so deeply in this election cycle.

It is clear from the results of last night’s election that voters are tired of partisan gridlock in Washington. They are frustrated, and they have reason to be. I hope that this moment in our nation’s history can be a turning point and we can get back to the work of legislating. Addressing the challenges we face and creating common sense solutions for the good of the American people requires reaching across the aisle, communicating, cooperating, and building consensus. I have always tried to work in a bipartisan way, and I will continue to do so, knowing that it is perhaps more important than ever that we find common ground. Our new President has a herculean task ahead of him. As he said last night, it is going to take all of us, working together, to move this country forward, and I remain committed to being a proactive and constructive advocate for Rhode Islanders and Americans across the country.”

WPRI: Langevin wins 9th term in US House

WPRI: Langevin wins 9th term in US House

by WPRI.com Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Congressman Jim Langevin has been re-elected to a ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Eyewitness News projects.

Langevin, a Democrat who has represented the 2nd Congressional District since 2001, defeated Republican Rhue Reis and two independent candidates, Salvatore Caiozzo and Jeffrey Johnson.

“We’ve got our challenges in the country right now, we’ve also got a find a way to come together in a strong bipartisan way,” Langevin told his supporters. “And I hope my colleagues around the country have heard the frustration of the American people, that they’re tired of the partisanship in Washington, the gridlock, that we need to get beyond what has been going on and find a way to come together.”

Langevin, a former state lawmaker and secretary of state, was always favored over Reis, who previously ran against him in 2014, but nevertheless spent money to air TV ads promoting his bid for another term.

All four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation are Democrats. Congressman David Cicilline was also re-elected Tuesday. U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are not up for re-election again until 2020 and 2018, respectively.

Langevin thanked Rhode Islanders for their continued support in a statement Tuesday night.

“Serving the people of Rhode Island has been the greatest honor of my life, and I am so incredibly humbled and grateful that the voters have again put their faith in me. With the budget deadline looming and so many incredible challenges facing our nation – from income inequality to immigration reform – I am anxious to return to Washington and to get back to work on behalf of our great state. I also want to thank my General Election opponents, Rhue Reis, Sal Caiozzo, and Jeff Johnson. Putting yourself out there and running for office is not an easy thing to do. I applaud anyone who wants to pursue public service, including these three gentlemen.

“I got into public service because I wanted to give back to a community that had supported me and my family at a difficult time. The issues we face may seem different today than they were back then, but my reasons for pursuing this office have not changed. I love the State of Rhode Island and the people here, and I promise that I will continue to do my very best to represent you.”

Warwick Beacon: New program ‘welds’ path to jobs, career

Warwick Beacon: New program ‘welds’ path to jobs, career

by Tessa Roy

Rhode Island government officials united Thursday to celebrate the opening of Warwick’s new Marine Trades program. Mayor Scott Avedisian, Senator Mike McCaffrey, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Jack Reed, Representative Jim Langevin, Governor Gina Raimondo and members of Warwick’s City Council, School Committee, and school administration all appeared at Toll Gate High School to voice their support for the program.

“Warwick is proud to showcase our new Marine Trades CTE program, which already is offering an engaging, hands-on and directly relevant education to motivated students who will soon help Rhode Island meet the hiring needs of Electric Boat as well as marinas, boat builders and other maritime-related employers in Warwick and throughout the state,” Avedisian said.

The Warwick Area Career and Technical Center’s expanded Marine Trades CTE program now has five state-of-the-art welding booths, a curriculum approved by the American Boat and Yacht Council and National Center for Construction Education and Research, and new textbooks. It currently serves 30 students, 22 from Warwick and eight from West Warwick, and is open to public high school students from around the state.

General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) is a partner in the program.

Sean Davies, General Dynamics Electric Boat Vice President – Quonset Point Operations said the program will provide EB with educated, motivated employees with the necessary skills to perform effectively at their jobs.

“We are proud to take part in this innovative effort, which represents the active roles Rhode Island, local school systems and industry are taking to build the educated work force required to compete and succeed in the 21st century,” he said.

Langevin agreed, saying EB would be helpful to students as well.

“Working with EB, students are going to be able to experience firsthand the opportunities that really do awaken right here in Rhode Island,” he said. “Graduates of this program will be able to identify the right path not just for a job, but for a career.”

Marine Trades instructor Christopher Bianco said the new Toll Gate location is beneficial since it is right next to the Career and Tech Center. Before, recruiting might have been difficult for them with students having to travel across the city on buses when they did their assessments, but now they are much closer.

Bianco said Toll Gate administration and Superintendent Philip Thornton have been supportive as the program transitioned from its former location at Warwick Vets.

“They’re behind us 100 percent. Basically whatever we’ve needed to make ourselves successful, they’ve been able to come forward and give it to us,” he said.

Thornton called Bianco “inspiring and tireless” and said he was proud to have the program expanding here in Warwick.

Raimondo’s central job-training initiative, Real Jobs Rhode Island, awarded a grant of $369,500 to an EB-led maritime sector partnership that helped fund Warwick’s new Marine Trades module. In addition, all levels of government, several funding streams, and other public and private educational partners have supported the new Warwick Marine Trades CTE program. These include $70,000 from The City of Warwick: $70,000, a $115,000 competitive grant from the Rhode Island Department of Education, $50,000 in Perkins Act funding from the U.S. Department of Education (This funding has been spread out over several years. Not all $50,000 has been spent just this year on just this project), and approximately $5,000 for Marine Trades textbooks (NCCER’s formal Marine Trades curriculum) from the U.S. Department of Labor – Real Jobs RI.

The Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, and New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) all have contributed to and have roles in implementing RI’s strategic workforce plan for EB. In addition, instructors in the ship-fitting programs have received training from NEIT’s Shipbuilding Marine Trades and Advanced Manufacturing Institute, also in Warwick. All instructors have been certified in Maritime Trades from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (US Department of Labor).

Governor Raimondo thanked those on all levels that worked on the program and said it would change lives.

“We’re all in for you guys. Your success is Rhode Island’s success, and your future is Rhode Island’s future,” she said.


The Independent: Web Exclusive: Langevin seeking ninth term in crowded Congressional race

The Independent: Web Exclusive: Langevin seeking ninth term in crowded Congressional race

by Matthew Enright

Congressman Jim Langevin is seeking a ninth term in office but, in order to get it, he will have to fend off three challengers as voters head to the polls Tuesday.

The senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and Homeland Security Committee, Langevin has been one of the leading proponents of cybersecurity for years and continues to emphasize it as one of his top legislative goals if given a return trip to Washington.

“Cybersecurity is the top security issue of the 21st century,” he said. “It’s both a challenge on the security side but also to our economy as well as protection of our privacy and civil liberties.”

He also points to creating an educated workforce as a focal point of his efforts.

“It’s either going to be going to a college or university will be essential, or it’s going to be an associate’s degree or advanced training and a career in tech,” he said. “Making sure young people are aware of these opportunities and to focus on them having the right support to go into these areas is something I’m going to continue to focus on,” he says.

While a strong supporter of Hilary Clinton in the presidential election, Langevin also touts his bipartisan record and willingness to cross the aisle. Among the Republicans he works with are Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Michael McCall (R-TX) and Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-PA).

”At the end of the day, we’ve got to come together as a country, we have to reach out across the aisle and govern in a bipartisan way, it’s the best way to get things done.”

Langevin sees this upcoming election as a job application.

“I have to reapply for my job every two years, the voters have the prerogative of changing who represents them,” he said. “I’ve never viewed this seat or any elected position as anybody’s birthright. I am a steward of a position that belongs to the people, and it’s their decision as to who they want to hold that position and whether they want to see me re-elected or want to have a change.”

Providence Journal: Editorial: Vote for Reps. Cicilline, Langevin

Providence Journal: Editorial: Vote for Reps. Cicilline, Langevin

Originally published by The Providence Journal, 24 October 2016

It is good to see competition in the races for Rhode Island’s congressional seats. The election of a politician to Congress too often becomes virtually a lifetime appointment. Since incumbents enjoy enormous advantages in a time of massive government spending, we have called for term limits on members of Congress.

That said, the presence of a challenger does not mean that voters should blindly support the newcomer. Voters are wise to weigh who would best serve their interests in Washington. In the races for Rhode Island’s two seats in the U.S. House, we believe the far superior candidates are the incumbents, both Democrats — David Cicilline in the 1st Congressional District and James Langevin in the 2nd Congressional District.

Mr. Cicilline, a former lawyer and state representative who served eight years as mayor of Providence, has shown himself to be an articulate and energetic congressman, supporting investments in infrastructure, advocating for assistance for the most needy Americans and seeking greater restrictions on gun purchases and ownership. Respected by his House colleagues, he is a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. He has made efforts to reach across the aisle as a member of the No Labels coalition, which strikes to find bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.

We continue to be troubled by Mr. Cicilline’s deceiving the public about the health of Providence’s finances during his final months as mayor in 2010, when he first ran for Congress, a big reason we supported the 2012 challenge of his distinguished Republican opponent, former State Police superintendent Brendan Doherty. But one cannot dwell on that aspect of his career forever, and he brings much to the table as a congressman for Rhode Island.

Mr. Cicilline, 55, is being challenged this time by Republican Harold Russell Taub, who argues that the country needs a more business-friendly environment that will foster good-paying jobs. But Mr. Taub’s experience pales with that of Mr. Cicilline, who is positioned to do much more for the people of Rhode Island.

In the 2nd District, we enthusiastically support the reelection of Mr. Langevin.

A former Rhode Island secretary of state who was first elected to Congress in 2000, Mr. Langevin has done a good job of representing his district and addressing his constituents’ needs. In Washington’s highly polarized and partisan environment, he has also shown a critical ability to work with members of both parties to craft legislation.

Mr. Langevin has been involved in key issues during his time in Congress, including career and technical education, national security (including the construction of Virginia-class submarines that are built in Quonset Point and in Groton, Conn.,) and cybersecurity, which has emerged as a major concern for our nation. Indeed, Mr. Langevin was prodding business and other leaders to focus on cybersecurity long before many Americans had given it much thought.

The victim of a 1980 shooting accident that left him a paraplegic, Mr. Langevin, 52, has also been involved in legislation that touches on medicine and health, including legislation that provided added help to home caregivers.

Mr. Langevin is being challenged by Republican Rhue Reis and independents Salvatore Caiozzo and Jeffrey Johnson. Mr. Reis, a casino floor manager, supports term limits and efforts to reduce the federal deficit, and we are glad that he is in the race. But we see Mr. Langevin as by far the more effective representative for Rhode Island, based on his experience and proven ability to work with both parties.

Warwick Beacon: Beyond cybersecurity awareness

Warwick Beacon: Beyond cybersecurity awareness

by Congressman Jim Langevin

On September 30, President Obama proclaimed October 2016 as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Department of Homeland Security and its private sector partners are holding events and engaging with the American public in an attempt to make people aware of the risks they face in cyberspace. As the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, I have been involved with a number of these efforts in Rhode Island, and I strongly support the President’s continued focus on raising awareness.

Unfortunately, it sometimes seems as if our awareness efforts have been overtaken by a persistent drumbeat of headlines. Whether it’s major corporations being breached, government systems being compromised, or democratic institutions being targeted in an information warfare campaign, it can feel like the news is filled daily with cyber-attacks and their aftermath. When I started the Cybersecurity Caucus in 2008, cybersecurity was rarely if ever discussed in the halls of Congress. These days, there are weekly hearings on the topic.

This barrage of hacks is starting to take its toll on the public’s psyche. Recent research by the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that many people are suffering from security fatigue: they know that they are engaging in risky behaviors, but they are too overwhelmed to do otherwise. Cybersecurity awareness is not enough – we need cybersecurity empowerment.

The first step in cybersecurity empowerment is realizing that you, the user, have a lot of control over your safety online. Most compromises of companies and individuals are the result of common mistakes that can be remedied relatively easily. Use a password manager to help you generate and store strong passwords securely. Turn on two factor authentication – for instance, receiving a code by text message in addition to your password to sign into an account. And backup your data frequently.

We also shouldn’t expect technology to solve our problems for us. We all wish there was an easy fix to immunize us against cyber-attacks, just as we wish there was one vaccine that could keep us healthy. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case, so we have to keep updating our apps and washing our hands.

Perhaps the most important tool of cyber-empowered consumers is their wallet. There are a number of actions companies can take to better secure their products, but if their customers – both individuals and other businesses – do not demand action, we will continue to see software and devices that are trivially easy to hack.

The theme of Cyber Security Awareness Month for 2016 is “Our Shared Responsibility.” Empowered users of technology are necessary to improve our security posture, but they are just one part of the solution. Technology companies and Internet services providers need to make security a more simple and straightforward experience for all of us as users. The government needs to be prepared to help defend against and mitigate the rare, but often severe, attacks by other nation-states like Russia, China and Iran. The government also needs to incentivize and encourage businesses to adopt cybersecurity best practices.

I have long viewed cybersecurity not as a problem to be solved, but as a risk to be managed. No one entity has all the answers in this arena, but, working together, we can build a more secure Internet and continue to take advantage of the wonderful benefits connectivity provides.

Jim Langevin, a Democrat, represents Rhode Island’s Second District in the United States Congress. He is a senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, and as the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, has been a leader on cybersecurity policy.