Blogs | Ethan Shorey

Question to Raimondo goes unanswered: Did CCRI commit an immoral act?

Elected leaders love to talk about how they stand up for the "little people" at all costs, particularly the vulnerable and poor, but do they really mean it?

On June 28, Gov. Gina Raimondo sent out a mass email denouncing Trumpcare, calling it "immoral" and saying it would bring "disastrous ramifications" for "Rhode Island residents at risk of losing health care coverage." The use of the word immoral got me to wondering about Raimondo's thoughts on the Community College of Rhode Island's decision to end the Mission of Mercy, an annual volunteer event giving some of Rhode Island's poorest residents access to free dental care.

It's no secret that CCRI is the centerpiece of what's left of Raimondo's free state college tuition plan, but given the governor's frequent statements about helping the poor, I thought she would at least give me some sort of response, perhaps expressing sympathy but saying the decision is up to the school. I emailed spokeswoman Catherine Rolfe that same day. In light of the wording used in her email about Trumpcare, did Raimondo find what CCRI did to the Mission of Mercy to be immoral?

I didn't hear back, so on July 3 I forwarded my original request to Raimondo spokesman Mike Raia. Three days later, on July 6, I received an email back from Rolfe apologizing for the late response and saying my email must have gotten lost in her inbox.

"CCRI is the best contact for questions about that program," she wrote.

I repeated that my question was for the governor, not CCRI.

"Just like with Trumpcare impacting Rhode Islanders, the loss of the Mission of Mercy also impacts them, so I think it’s fair to ask the governor whether she’s OK with it," I responded that same day.

It's now July 12 and I still haven't heard back from Rolfe. Perhaps my email was lost again?

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