To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the Tuesday, April 8 letter to the editor entitled, “Calamari Quality Legislation.” The author of this letter asks rhetorically, “Does this create jobs?” The fact of the matter is that the seafood and restaurant industries are tremendous job creators in Rhode Island. According to DEM [Department of Environmental Management] data, there are approximately 125 vessels engaged in Rhode Island commercial squid fishery and annual dockside landings have a value of $18 million, making squid Rhode Island’s most valuable fishery. The actual overall value of Rhode Island’s fishery is much larger, thanks to the value added by the many shore-side businesses that support and benefit this industry, including but not limited to Rhode Island seafood dealers who market Rhode Island squid locally, regionally and throughout the world, and Rhode Island retailers, including our fantastic restaurants who are responsible for and to be credited for making Rhode Island style calamari the local and worldwide hit that it has become.
Robert Ballou, assistant director of DEM states, “We are thrilled to support this proposal. If it is enacted into law, rest assured that we will use it as a springboard, as we move forward with our local seafood marketing campaign through the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative. In fact, we are just a few short weeks away from rolling out a new, first-ever RI Seafood Brand or Logo.”
This legislation is supported by the RI Fishermen’s Alliance, RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative, and our state’s Restaurant and Hospitality Association. The objective of this legislation is the establishment and promotion of Rhode Island’s most valuable seafood product and promoting Rhode Island’s internationally renowned restaurant and hospitality industry.
Furthermore, my legislative agenda has included legislation that addresses jobs and workforce development as well as bringing new businesses to our city and state. My legislation, entitled Rhode Island Returns to Work, was enacted in January; this program allows unemployed citizens to participate in business-run job training programs without losing their unemployment benefits. I am also working on legislation that will bring an internationally known medical group to Warwick with a potential $142 million economic impact. This legislation creates a new class of “medical tourism” that utilizes our cities Intermodal hub and access to our world-renowned hospital systems. These are just a few of the initiatives that I have undertaken. I believe it’s time for all Rhode Islanders to promote the positive assets that we have in our state and these are the initiatives that will help lead to greater job development.
Joseph M. McNamara
Education & Welfare
Representative District 19 – Cranston/Warwick