EDITORIAL

Reflecting on two big departures

Posted 1/26/22

News travels fast in Rhode Island. So fast, in fact, that sometimes we don't properly reflect on the news itself before moving onto the reaction regarding the news and looking ahead to the ramifications of any given event. It seems that fast-paced desire

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EDITORIAL

Reflecting on two big departures

Posted

News travels fast in Rhode Island. So fast, in fact, that sometimes we don’t properly reflect on the news itself before moving onto the reaction regarding the news and looking ahead to the ramifications of any given event. It seems that fast-paced desire to know what’s next — or in this case, who is next — has caused us to collectively breeze past the recent departure (and incoming departure) of two of Rhode Island’s most prominent public figures: Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, and our junior Congressman in Washington, Rep. Jim Langevin. As soon as news broke that both of these individuals would be departing their current role, either effective immediately (in Dr. Alexander-Scott’s case), or not seeking re-election (in Langevin’s case), the media mill churned into high gear anticipating who would become the next head of the Department of Health, and who would grab Rhode Island’s lone empty seat in Congress. While it is understandable to want answers on who will take their places, perhaps it is worth taking a moment to recognize both of these individuals for the contributions they made to the state. Dr. Alexander-Scott found herself in the midst of a situation no doctor would ever want to be in, not even one with a background in infectious diseases. When the pandemic revealed itself to be a force to be reckoned with, and then a force that began to disrupt our entire way of life, Rhode Islanders were very fortunate to have Dr. Alexander-Scott at the helm of its public health department. We were fortunate to have her working alongside former Governor Gina Raimondo to present constant updates about the progress of the disease, as well as updated protocols and research for how to navigate this fearful new world. It was certainly the least enviable job someone could have at the time, and she performed it with wisdom and calm professionalism. Although perhaps only very few people close to her, and Dr. Alexander-Scott herself, know the true reason she decided to leave the department, we hope that the cause for her departure was not the result of an easily resolvable issue that was spurned in the face of political pressure or stubbornness. As for Rep. Langevin, regardless of who will win the mud-slinging competition to take his seat alongside Rep. Cicilline, we should take a moment to reflect on his inspiring story. To overcome a tragic incident so young that nearly took his life and turn that into a life dedicated to public service is a story as American as they come. Whether you found yourself agreeing or disagreeing with his politics, he has certainly left a mark on the state and the world through his example.

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