The murder of George Floyd is a national tragedy and as a retired law enforcement officer, it truly breaks my heart to witness such unnecessary and horrible violence perpetrated by bad law enforcement on an American citizen. Even more troubling is the fact that we are all aware that this was not an isolated incident and too many of our neighbors of color are needlessly hurt and killed every year by the hands of rogue law enforcement officers. Simply put, this tragic and horrific pattern needs to end.
Our nation, myself included, are justifiably angry and fed up. Something needs to change in order to end this illegal and immoral violence, but what can we do? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but drawing upon my experiences as a law enforcement officer and my current role as the State Representative of District 71, I have taken a course of action which I believe could have real and tangible positive impacts to the situation our state and country currently faces in order to end this aggression and violence against our community of color.
I have been in contact with Sid Wordell from the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association and I believe together, with the Police Chiefs Association and the two law enforcement unions of our state, the FOP and the IBPO, we should all come to the table and discuss serious reforms that need to occur within Rhode Island’s law enforcement community. In particular, I believe there needs to be an overhaul in the training that new police cadets in the training academy and current officers during their in-service training receive to properly address racial and police brutality issues.
There are far more good and dedicated cops who care for their communities and go out every single day with the sole intention of protecting their communities and their residents of all races, creeds, and colors, yet, there are still too many bad apples and those with inadequate training to stressful situations that need to be corrected.
We do not claim that we have all the answers to this serious problem that our country faces but, this is an important step to rectify the injustices that our citizens have faced for far too long. I have faith that together, our community, our state, and our country can fix the inequities and violence unjustifiably perpetrated against our country’s community of color. The fixes that are necessary are only attainable through true collaboration and I am grateful that our state’s law enforcement community desperately wants to be a part of this solution.
As always, as your representative in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, I encourage you to contact me with your own ideas and concerns in order to make our society a better, safer, and healthier place for all of our citizens to live, regardless of their color of their skin, their personal beliefs, or the differences and diversity that makes Rhode Island strong and unified together.
STATE HOUSE - Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is announcing several recreational grants that the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has awarded to projects within District 71.
“I thank DEM for these crucial grants that will go a long way to protecting our district’s beautiful natural resources and public spaces so that they may be enjoyed and utilized by residents and visitors for many more years to come,” said Representative Canario.
Tiverton received a $375,000 grant to replace playground incorporating accessible equipment and sensory elements, to create a new fitness park, and to modify two of the four existing tennis courts into six full-time pickleball courts.
Little Compton was awarded a $80,000 grant for town landing improvements, which will establish a safe all-weather parking area, develop a walkway from the parking area to the beach, install plantings, restore turf, and establish a stone memorial to benefactor.
The caring, selfless, and dedicated direct care workers who assist our state’s disabled population are in dire need of our help. More specifically, since they are not classified as “essential health care workers” during this COVID-19 pandemic, these workers are being expected to work without Personal Protective Equipment, since masks and other medical supplies are being directed and rationed toward workers deemed “essential health care workers,” which includes nursing home staff, but not direct care workers in our state’s group homes.
This is a problem for several reasons, including the fact that our direct care workers are being deemed non-essential, which could not be any further from the truth.
With over 1000 adult Rhode Islanders with disabilities in our state’s group homes, this is a potential crisis that is being ignored as the threat for COVID-19 to run through our group homes is just as dangerous as it is to our nursing homes. But without proper equipment, our direct care workers and their families are being put at unnecessary risk while they help, care for, and assist some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
As a father to a child with a developmental disability and a husband to a direct care worker, this situation is especially troubling and I know how frightening it is for the residents of our group homes, our direct care workers and their families.
Simply put, this situation needs to end and our direct care workers deserve the proper and necessary medical and protective equipment that our other health care workers are receiving. If one member of a group home contracts COVID-19, it will pose the same disastrous threat to our group home residents and workers as it does in our nursing homes and hospitals.
Direct care workers need to be classified as “essential health care workers” for the safety of our group home residents, their families, our state as a whole, and themselves
Dear Constituents of District 71,
I wanted to write to you today to update you on our current situation regarding the COVID-19 virus and the effects it is having on our state.
Although these are tough, uncertain, and extremely stressful times, I am confident we will get through this and Rhode Island will be proven to be resilient once again. I’d like to thank all of those who are still working, keeping our residents safe, secure, and supplied with the necessities of daily life. Our first responders, medical professionals, truckers, warehouse workers, delivery people, grocery store employees, and so many others deserve our gratitude and thanks for their selfless actions to help the rest of us get through these difficult days.
I would also like to thank everyone who is doing their part to help contain this virus. Those of you social distancing, sanitizing, and doing everything in your power to stop the spread of COVID-19, thank you for being responsible citizens and your actions demonstrate how much you care for our community and its residents.
As we navigate these unchartered waters, I can assure you that the General Assembly and state leaders are working around the clock to ensure that Rhode Island comes out of this period stable and operational. There will be some tough decisions that must be made due to this unprecedented crisis, but our first and only goal is to protect the quality of life that every Rhode Islander enjoys on a daily basis.
I also believe this time will help us better prepare for future possible disturbances in our normal routines. Areas such as remote-voting and remote-viewing for General Assembly business must be established, as well as, the ability for the public to weigh-in on legislative business if they are unable to come to the State House physically, need to be enacted to ensure the continuity of government during times of distress. Remote public input has already been established through email and we will continue to update our procedures to make sure that as little disruption as possible occurs in the day-to-day business at the State House.
Although we are a small state, Rhode Island is uniquely suited to meet these problems head-on. In fact, WalletHub ranked us as the most aggressive state in the country regarding our handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. I hope this fact, as it does for me, provides a small sense of relief to our citizens that our leaders are doing everything that they can to keep all our residents safe and healthy. We have a wealth of public and private partners working collaboratively to ensure that this crisis does not cripple our state or its citizens.
As always, I am available to answer any question you have, whether it is regarding the state’s responses to the pandemic, or special programs available to those affected by business closings or those in need of treatment or help. Please send me a message, and I will do everything I can to help you.
There is no doubt that we are facing a serious crisis, but I am confident that all of us will come together and get through this period of health and economic uncertainty. We are a proud state, a resilient state, and most importantly, a state that cares for one another. We will persevere through this and we will be okay.
Dennis M. Canario
RI Representative – District 71
Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton
78 years ago today, our Nation’s history was forever changed by the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Today we solemnly remember this tragic event. Let us never to forget and honor those who perished in defense of our nation that day and in the next 4 years of war that followed. God bless all those who were effected and God bless the United States of America.
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is calling for the passage of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) proposed Major Amendment #19 to the FFY 2018-2027 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The proposed amendment to STIP will be voted on this Thursday by the State Planning Council.
The amendment proposes shifting funding from planned bicycle and pedestrian improvements, named the Transportation Alternatives Program, to road and bridge improvement projects.
“Even after the state has implemented the RhodeWorks program to fix our bridges and roads, our state is consistently ranked as having the worst roads and bridges in the country, signaling to us that there is far more work to be done. I am in full support of expanding and supporting further bicycle and pedestrian projects, but we have to prioritize the most important projects to ensure the well-being of our state. Safe and dependable roads and bridges is critical not only to the financial health of our state, but also, important quality of life aspects for our residents. By shifting these funds to our roads and bridges, RIDOT will be able to continue the crucial bridge and road repair projects without the state asking for any more money from the taxpayers. It is for this reason that I am in full support of Major Amendment #19 and I hope that it is passed at tomorrow’s meeting,” said Representative Canario.
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is highlighting two grants totaling $19,725 from the Department of Environmental Management to two local farms in Little Compton and Tiverton.
“With our Rhode Island’s food being internationally recognized, it is important that we help nurture and support our food growers and small businesses. These grants will go a long way to help the Sweet and Salty Farm and the Roots Farm continue to improve their operations so that their businesses will remain strong and vibrant into the future,” said Representative Canario.
The RI DEM, in partnership with the RI Food Policy Council, awarded grants to help new and existing small businesses and food initiatives take root and prosper in Rhode Island. The grants were funded under the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act grant program.
The Sweet and Salty Farm in Little Compton has received a $15,000 to significantly increase production and sales of cheese and yogurt through the purchase and installation of an ice accumulator that can cool milk rapidly after pasteurization.
The Roots Farm in Tiverton received a $4,725 grant to increase productivity through the purchase and implementation of scale-appropriate tools for seeding, transplanting, and cultivation on a small-scale, intensively planted, non-mechanized farm that will help increase productivity, and to share this work with other RI growers through on-farm workshops.
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is highlighting a $20 thousand grant from the Department of Environmental Management to Ferolbink Farm in Tiverton for the purpose of installing a solar energy system.
“This is exciting news for Tiverton and I thank the DEM and the Ferolbink Farm for committing to responsible, sustainable green energy to power this agricultural small business in our town. It is important that we all adapt to the changes in our climate through the use of green energy and I find it very encouraging that our state’s administration and our small businesses are working together to ensure the future protection of our environment,” said Representative Canario.
The RI DEM, in partnership with the RI Office of Energy Resources and the RI Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, awarded grants to help farmers “green” their operations, enabling the farmers to save energy and money. The grants were funded through the RI Farm Energy Program.
The Ferolbink Farm will use the grant to install a 41.25 KW roof-mounted solar array that will offset all the energy needs for the main barn and the storage area at the potato and squash crop farm.
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is praising the passage of legislation (2019-H 5539) by the House of Representatives that requests the RI Department of Health develop statewide sepsis protocols. House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) is the lead sponsor of the legislation and Representative Canario is a cosponsor of the bill.
“As we have seen recently in the news, sepsis is still posing a great danger to those that enter our hospitals and we as a state are still not adequately prepared to identify and treat cases of sepsis before it is too late and death results. This legislation is a good first-step in treating this public health problem and I was proud to cosponsor this life-saving bill,” said Representative Canario.
Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to infections that can cause organ damage when not treated, and if the condition develops into septic shock, the chances of dying from sepsis greatly increase.
According to a 2018 study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Rhode Island ranks fourth lowest in the United States for properly treating sepsis, which kills more than 200,000 people yearly in the country. Sepsis is also the most common cause of death in hospitalized children in both Rhode Island and the entire United States.
Early identification and treatment of sepsis greatly reduces the risk of death in patients. The legislation calls for the Department of Health to develop statewide evidence-based sepsis protocols for the early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis cases.
The legislation is a House resolution so it does not require Senate approval.