- Associated Press - Sunday, January 14, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo plans to use this year’s State of the State speech to highlight the state’s progress and make the case for continued investments in job training, economic development incentives and education.

The Democratic governor is scheduled to address a joint session of the General Assembly at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Raimondo told The Providence Journal it’s an opportunity to thank Rhode Islanders.

“My primary message is thank you,” she said. “Thank you Rhode island for digging in, believing in Rhode Island, and committing yourselves to our progress. And oh, by the way, it’s working.”

Raimondo spokesman Michael Raia said Friday that the governor will talk about how the decline of the manufacturing industry and the recession led to high unemployment rates, how new economic development incentives and job training programs have helped the state recover and how the economy can grow further with continued investments in those programs and in education.

She invited residents and business owners who have benefited from these programs to the speech.

“Stylistically, it’ll be a different kind of speech,” Raia said. “She’ll be presenting her case and presenting her vision for Rhode Island through their stories.”

Raimondo will also discuss her plan for school construction, policy proposals to support small businesses and the need to continue tackling the state’s opioid crisis.

On Thursday, Raimondo presents her budget proposal to the legislature.

An initiative to rebuild schools is among her top priorities for 2018. She has said that “no department will be spared” as she works to close a budget deficit.

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