CRANSTON, R.I._”We’ve got an economy where people are hurting. We are working on creating an atmosphere that our state is open for business,” Mayor Allan Fung, Republican candidate for Rhode Island Governor, said was his campaign’s main goal. Working to create more jobs, lower taxes on small business and pump funds into the arts and culture, Fung’s campaign platform is the revival of the Rhode Island economy.
Fung’s headquarters, located in a city center in Cranston, reveal life-size Fung posters, boxes of t-shirts and steadfast volunteers, ready to greet you with stickers and smiles. The Fung team has been canvasing the neighborhoods surrounding Cranston, sharing Fung’s main message, “We are bringing Rhode Island back.”
With the recession five years out, Rhode Island has yet to fully recoup from the hit. Unemployment throughout the state remains at a staggering 7.9% as of June 2014.
The state, being home to 13 higher education institutions, sprinkled throughout the nearly 40 municipalities that comprise Rhode Island, continues to attract the youth. However, much of that population is transitory. Though they spend their four years attaining a degree from a Rhode Island school, they tend to skip town as soon as the ink on their diploma is dry. This cyclical nature effectively robs Rhode Island of fresh talent, new business owners, policy makers, taxpayers and homeowners, just to name a few.
Fung’s campaign initiatives include job creation, with the transitionary college student in mind. As a first generation American, Fung spent much of his childhood at his parent’s Chinese restaurant. “I learned how hard it was to earn a dollar and to keep a dollar,” Fung said, “It was their [my parent’s] first steps to this country, 45 years ago, to live the American Dream, that I’m even able to do what I’m hoping to do and that’s why I’m running for governor, to ensure the next generation have that same opportunity.”