President Barack Obama has proclaimed May 15, 2013, Peace Officers Memorial Day and has ordered the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff during the course of that day. Accordingly, Governor Lincoln Chafee has ordered that, in addition to the flag of the United States, the Rhode Island flag fly at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds across the state on Wednesday, May 15. Click here to see the proclamation from the President.
I am pleased that the Senate has voted overwhelmingly, with strong bipartisan support, to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act.Since taking office as Governor, I have been a vocal proponent of Marketplace Fairness. I sent a letter to all of my fellow Governors in conjunction with the 2011 National Governors Association meeting urging them to lobby their Senate delegations on this important issue. I also submitted written testimony last year to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. And just a few weeks ago, I joined with Senator Reed, who has been a leader in these efforts, and local retailers to point out the ways in which Marketplace Fairness will help Rhode Island businesses.Not only will the Marketplace Fairness Act level the playing field between Main Street stores and online retailers, it will also bring valuable revenue to our state and make our overall economic climate more competitive. The FY2012 Rhode Island Budget I signed into law included a trigger to lower the overall state sales tax rate from 7% to 6.5% if Marketplace Fairness legislation passes at the federal level.Now our efforts move to the House of Representatives. This is an important economic issue that matters to Governors across the country, and I therefore encourage my colleagues to contact their House delegations and strongly urge swift passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of Rhode Island’s former First Lady Elena Pastore. A devoted mother, she was surrounded at the time of her death by numerous loved ones, including her daughter.From the very beginning, it was clear that Elena Pastore was special. Born on Leap Day in 1920, she grew up one of 10 children in a large, Italian-American family in Providence.Although she was only in her early 20s when her husband, John Pastore, became Governor, she was his most important and trusted political advisor. Throughout his long career – in which he was both the first Italian-American Governor and U.S. Senator – Elena was by his side, his companion, confidante, and counselor. Those who knew John and Elena well had little doubt that she was a key ingredient to his tremendous success.Elena helped raise and nurture three accomplished children, including her son, Dr. John O. Pastore, Jr., who was secretary of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War when the group won the Nobel Peace Prize.John Pastore is among the most beloved leaders the State of Rhode Island has ever known; we have now lost the extraordinary woman without whom his distinguished career would not have been possible. When we consider the many contributions Governor and Senator Pastore made to his home state, we should thank Elena, as well. She will be missed.