In 2011, my first year celebrating December in the State House I gave a simple six word instruction to the planners of the annual tree lighting: "Do what they did last year." Despite the myriad of pressing issues facing Rhode Island and the nation, this presumably happy event became a focal point for too much anger. Strangely lost in the brouhaha was any intellectual discussion of the liberties pioneered here in Rhode Island 350 years ago in our Charter. Because I do not think how we address the State House tree affects our "lively experiment," this year's invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree.
Secretary of State Mollis has offered to light the tree, and I have accepted his gracious offer. The tree lighting will begin on Thursday (December 5, 2013) at 5 p.m. in the State House rotunda. Once again, our many thanks to all those who have worked hard to make our State House festive.