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Saturday, January 13, 2024

Sen. Gu attends White House Communities in Action event

Celebrating federal funding for local projects including infrastructure, green energy 

From left, Sen. Victoria Gu, Senate Judiciary
Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer, Sen. Pamela
J. Lauria and Senate Finance Committee Chairman
Louis P. DiPalma at the White
House event Wednesday.
Sen. Victoria Gu attended an event with local officials from Rhode Island and Connecticut at the White House on Wednesday. Entitled “Communities in Action: Building a Better Rhode Island and Connecticut,” the event is part of a White House series that features local elected officials and community leaders discussing how key investments and programs are improving their state and communities.

“I am excited to participate in this event that highlights the ways in which the American Rescue Plan Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and Inflation Reduction Act have brought much-needed community programs and investment to our state. Together we can maximize this investment and work to solve some of our biggest challenges in Rhode Island,” said Senator Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown). 

“Of particular interest to me are the investments we’ve made in green building standards, which are investments that will continue to pay off for Rhode Islanders for years to come. Not only will they lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions in our state, they will also save new homeowners and all occupants of new buildings money on utility bills.”

According to a fact sheet from the event, “the average new homeowner in Rhode Island will save $814 annually -- or 18.5% on their utility bills -- if state and local governments use new grants (from the Inflation Reduction Act) to adopt the latest building energy codes.” 

Senator Gu sponsored legislation (2023-S 0855) that became law last year that sets Rhode Island on track to be among the first states in the nation to adopt these codes. 

Along with the federal funding offered by the Biden-Harris Administration to assist states in adopting these codes, this has led to a productive partnership with the building trade associations in Rhode Island to train builders on the best standards for new energy-efficient homes.

Federal grants and partnerships have also benefited Rhode Island’s health care system, particularly in under-resourced fields like behavioral health. “Rhode Island schools have also received multi-year federal grants to support mental health programs,” said Senator Gu. 

“I want to extend our state’s gratitude to the Biden-Harris administration for prioritizing and funding grants for programs like Project AWARE, which support mental health awareness, prevention, intervention, and resilience for kids in our local schools.”

Senator Gu was joined by her colleagues Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) ​and Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence). 

Chairman DiPalma also presented at the event, discussing Rhode Island’s federally supported investments in its infrastructure, economic development and innovation in the ocean tech fields.