Governor Lincoln D. Chafee welcomed Vermont Governor Peter E. Shumlin to the Rhode Island State House this afternoon for a private discussion in Governor Chafee's office. The conversation -- in addition to serving as a formal welcome to Rhode Island for Governor Shumlin -- touched on topics ranging from energy to job creation and economic development to the challenges facing New England as a region.
"I am honored to welcome Governor Shumlin to Rhode Island," Governor Chafee said. "As New England Governors, we are both aware of the unique challenges our region faces -- as well as the unique strengths and tremendous potential our area of the country possesses. The input and insight of fellow Governors -- particularly New England Governors -- are valuable to me as I work to create an economic climate in Rhode Island that will promote economic development and produce jobs for our state."
Following their meeting, the Governors appeared at a press conference organized by Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI) to urge the Rhode Island General Assembly to pass marriage equality legislation. Governor Shumlin spoke of his experience as President pro-tempore of the Vermont State Senate, where he played an instrumental role in the passage of Vermont's first-in-the-nation civil unions law and the subsequent 2010 Marriage Equality Act. Governor Chafee reiterated his strong support for marriage equality, speaking of the connection between economic development and a tolerant, welcoming state that recognizes and celebrates diversity. Governor Chafee praised Governor Shumlin's courage and leadership on the issue in Vermont and urged the General Assembly to demonstrate similar leadership in Rhode Island.