Spring 2017

April: April 17  |  April 13  |  April 12  |  April 11  |  April 10  |  April 8  |  April 7

April 17 

Progress Continues at Citizens Bank Johnston Campus

It is always a pleasure when a business invests in our state, when a new facility opens, or when a corporate citizen reaffirms its commitment to the community. It is especially remarkable when all of this occurs together, and this is what is happening at the Citizens Bank Johnston Campus.

Congressman Langevin at the groundbreaking for Citizens Bank's Johnston campusSet to open in the summer of 2018, this 120-acre campus is located off of Interstate 295 in Johnston. Citizens Bank has worked closely with the local government and the residents of Johnston in the development of this project. The new campus will feature more than three miles of walking trails and more than three acres of recreational fields and courts, all of which are open to the public.

The new facility will serve as a unifying building for the company, bringing together staff from different locations around the state into a more centralized location. The Johnston campus will also boast new collaboration spaces, amenities, and open air spaces for their employees.

After attending the groundbreaking ceremony last summer and touring the facility again this week, it is clear to me that this is a great example of a public-private partnership that works to benefit the community. Johnston residents, as well as customers and employees of Citizens Bank, should be proud; this project is truly an investment worth making.

 

April 13 

The Price is Rite

Congressman Langevin at PriceRite on Elmwood Avenue

Stretching the dollar for hardworking families is getting more and more difficult. It is businesses like PriceRite that help Rhode Islanders access quality, low-priced food. I had the pleasure of touring the PriceRite on Elmwood Avenue this month with the company’s executives and management while also speaking with the dedicated employees who work at that location.

One of the things I discovered during my visit is that PriceRite provides important career opportunities to their employees. They have training initiatives for workers who want to grow in the company, like Robert Braga. Robert has worked for PriceRite for five years and is now the assistant store manager. Another employee I spoke with is Taneisha Robinson, who after two years is now a full-time front end lead clerk. It is the hardworking and friendly employees that make the shopping experience better for customers.

PriceRite is committed to helping their customers save money by selling nutritious food that won’t break the bank. It was very impressive to see the variety of fresh produce that’s delivered daily, not to mention the packaged meats and nonperishable products. It’s a one-stop shop!

Rhode Island is lucky to have six PriceRite supermarkets in the state. They are staples in the state that help Rhode Islanders by providing low-priced, healthy, and nutritious foods for them and their families. 

 

April 12 

A Visit to Bain+2

Rhode Island is fortunate enough to have many programs that help high-risk students, and frankly we can’t have enough of these opportunities for our youth.

I had the chance to tour Cranston’s Hugh B. Bain Middle School’s afterschool program, Bain+2. It serves approximately 150 students per year and is completely funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center federal grant program. The program, in its 14th year, is a STEAM+C site, focusing on getting students college and career ready. There are certified teachers and experts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math that work with the students two hours a day, five days a week.

The students tell me they have also established a strong leadership team called the Cranston Youth Empowerment Zone where current and past students join forces to use their voices for positive community change and to help create social cohesion among youth.

Unfortunately, President Trump’s budget outline contains significant cuts to after school and summer programs including Bain+2. An energized group of students in the program showed me what their day includes at Bain+2 and explained the positive impact the afterschool program has on their lives.

This program is immensely important to these students. If the President’s cuts come to fruition, they will have no options for afterschool programs. I will do all I can in Washington to protect programs like this because our students deserve every opportunity to better themselves, their education and their future.

Breaking Ground

Congressman Langevin speaks at the Hyatt Place groundbreaking with Governor Raimondo and Senator Reed

As a resident of Warwick, I thoroughly enjoy seeing my home city grow. So I was thrilled to attend the groundbreaking of the Hyatt Place Hotel, which will become the first hotel with direct access to T.F Green Airport’s parking garage and InterLink train station.

D’Ambra Construction Co. will build the 125-room hotel, located in the heart of City Centre Warwick. Mike D’Ambra, is known for creating attractive and modern developments, and I expect nothing less from his team with this latest project.

The construction of the hotel will bring jobs to Rhode Island — 145 construction jobs and approximately 30 permanent jobs upon its completion. Not only will this hotel bring a boost to Warwick’s local economy, it will put Rhode Islanders to work. It’s a win-win.

Hyatt Place Hotel is part of the redevelopment and revitalization of the land surrounding the airport, utilizing eight acres. Its location adjacent to the InterLink station will make traveling to Rhode Island easy and convenient. In addition to the federal investments in T.F Green Airport, it is helping make Warwick an area for growth while making it an attractive place to do business.

Remembering back to when that portion of Jefferson Boulevard was an old industrial site, it is so exciting to see how far this area has come, from the fantastic restaurants and abundance of hotels.

This is an exciting time for Warwick and the state. Rhode Island is on the move, and I’m looking forward to visiting the Hyatt Place Hotel when it opens in May 2018.

 

April 11 

A Cashmere Company Rooted in Burrillville

Congressman Langevin at Alashan Cashmere Company

America’s economy has always been reliant on the success of its small businesses, and I find this to be especially true here in Rhode Island. The Alashan Cashmere Company in Burrillville embodies this truth and is a perfect example of a Rhode Island small business success story.  

I visited Alashan in April and was immediately impressed by the amount of cashmere clothing and accessories designed and distributed in their facility. The company has been importing, designing and distributing the high-fashion product since 2004. The founder and owner, Donald Fox, is a master of his trade, learning his skills from prior years in the cashmere industry. When the time was right, Donald jumped at the chance to start his own company and now Alashan has grown from Donald’s basement to a 14,000 square foot facility, distributing products throughout the United States and abroad. Donald is hopeful that further expansion is in the company’s not-so-distant future. It is success stories like this that shows Rhode Island’s economy is on the move and gives me optimism moving forward.

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not offer my congratulations to Donald and the Alashan team for receiving a 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. As the highest recognition given by the Department of Defense to employers for their support of National Guard and Reserve members, this award is just one example of Alashan’s strong commitment to the community and its employees.

It is success stories like this that shows Rhode Island’s economy is on the move and gives me optimism moving forward.

 

April 10 

Protect Our Coast

Anyone from Warwick will tell you that Warwick Neck and Conimicut Point Park are among the key spots in the city. Unfortunately, these landmarks could be permanently threatened by rising sea levels. According to local experts, even a hundred-year storm already has the potential to cause enormous damage.

Thankfully, we are aware, in advance of the dangers that such a storm could bring. This is why I proudly joined my colleague, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, in calling for greater investment in our coastal infrastructure.

I believe most Rhode Islanders would agree that our state could use rejuvenated infrastructure, particularly along our coastline. These funds could help our state build new bridges and roadways to provide us with alternate routes in the event of a catastrophic storm.

We have seen in the past what significant weather events can do. It does not take much for some of our most traveled roads to become flooded. But the next hundred-year-storm would be much worse than anything we have seen in the past. A potential 7-foot sea rise could flood more than 500 miles of roads, overtake all of Conimicut Point, and turn Warwick Neck into an island.

We need to work together in a bipartisan way to invest in our communities now, before disasters happen. I am confident that this is a fight in which all Americans, across all states, can stand united.

 

April 8 

Reading Across Rhode Island

Congressman Langevin at the annual Reading Across Rhode Island Reception

Promoting the arts and humanities is Rhode Island tradition embodied by the late Senator Claiborne Pell and his wife, Nuala. Providing federal funding through the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, which were created by legislation authored by Senator Pell, has long been a priority of mine, and I am committed to do all I can to prevent the defunding and dismantling of these American institutions as proposed under President Trump’s budget outline. Reading Across Rhode Island is a great example of why we need to continue to support the public humanities.

Reading Across Rhode Island is celebrating its 15th anniversary and continues to promote civic engagement, community dialog and, simply enough, reading, all of which can seem to be in short supply these days.

I had the pleasure of joining Reading Across Rhode Island participants this month at the annual reception, which featured author Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson wrote this year’s book, Just Mercy, a memoir that details his work as an idealistic, young lawyer and the many lives of those he defended. It is an inspiring, compassionate story in the pursuit of justice. Bryan has committed his life to ensuring that equal justice under the law is not just an ideal, but a fully realized practice. As a lawmaker myself, I know firsthand how important it is that the laws are fairly and faithfully executed, and I commend Bryan for his work ensuring the same. Just Mercy is a must read!

Reading Across Rhode Island is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and I will continue to fight for these programs having seen firsthand, at events like the Reading Across Rhode Island, the cultural impact National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities dollars have in the Ocean State.

 

April 7 

Honoring a Hero

Congressman Langevin with Private First Class Robert Liebrich's wife, Carol

When the family of a veteran reaches out to me asking for help, I am always happy to assist. This month, I had the privilege of helping Mrs. Carol Liebrich of Cranston by working with the Department of the Army to issue a Purple Heart on behalf of her late husband, Robert Liebrich, for his service in World War II.

At 18-years-old, Private First Class (PFC) Robert Liebrich was wounded by enemy fire in events leading up to the Battle of the Bulge, which began in December 1944 and was the last major German offensive campaign of the war. He earned his first Purple Heart from this injury.

After a quick recovery, PFC Liebrich returned to his unit. Then in March 1945, in a different engagement with opposing forces, he was again wounded by enemy fire; however, he was not awarded the second Purple Heart for this injury.

We owe our soldiers who fought in World War II an enormous debt of gratitude, and PFC Liebrich is no exception. Through talks with the Department of the Army, my office was able to secure the second Purple Heart for Mrs. Liebrich.

I was humbled and honored to present this prestigious decoration to Mrs. Liebrich and members of her family and was delighted to see photos of Robert Liebrich from his time in the Army. It was truly a privilege to present Mrs. Liebrich and her family with the Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, signifying a second award, for Robert Liebrich’s heroism.