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How would a merger of Lifespan and Care New England affect Rhode Island’s health care system and workers? I have serious concerns.

The two largest health systems in the state want to merge into one even larger health care system that would control 80% of the hospital market, including seven of the nine not-for-profit hospitals in the state. Not only would the new entity control hospital care, it would largely control the physician market as well.

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In 2021 the Narragansett Town Council passed a durable, legally supportable version of the “no more than three students per household” ordinance originally passed by the prior council in 2020, but overturned on a procedural technicality.  Residents who fought for this for twenty–five years were finally rewarded.  Now enforcement is the emphasis.

While critical and long overdue, this ordinance is only a first-step in stabilizing Narragansett as a residential community. 

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As the 2022 legislative session begins, there is work to be done and opportunities to push for positive change. Two years ago, the General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act.  In doing so, the House issued its policy statement on abortion rights and access in Rhode Island and affirmed that we should protect the right for each of us to make our own decisions.  The problem is that we still have policies on the books that take away health coverage for abortion for state employees and people who use Medicaid.

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I am writing as the parent of an elementary school-aged child in Rhode Island to express my extreme concern over the way the state of Rhode Island is handling the current COVID crisis in the public school system.  Most schools in the state are addressing positive cases (in most cases asymptomatic children) by quarantining either entire classes, or large groups of “close contacts” (determined by various dubious methods of seating charts, etc).  This method of testing and quarantining is unsustainable and not in the best interests of students or families.

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In reflection, 2021 has been an impactful year filled with many personal and town accomplishments.  

This year I learned a lot about time management. I was proud to serve on a council that took on so many important issues including building a new state-of-the-art library, amending student housing ordinances to balance quality of life issues in our local neighborhoods, and fighting for a seat at the table to guide the future prosperity and redevelopment of a 5-acre vacant parcel in Galilee. These are just a few of the many issues and policies that shape and affect our beloved town every day.

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The Schartners came to America through Ellis Island in 1880 to pursue the American Dream and began farming the land in Rhode Island in the 1920’s. For over one hundred years, their vision was to offer their neighbors fresh food, locally grown, at a great price.

It hasn’t always been easy, though. Local farms and farmers have dealt with a plethora of issues, and specific to us, a fire. And like a phoenix rising from the ashes – we are rising again. It’s a rebirth for Schartner’s Farm with a greenhouse being built and operated by my company, RI Grows.