PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As of Thursday, Gov. Dan McKee has officially been in office for 100 days.
McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos marked the occasion with visits across the state, including to a high school vaccination clinic in Lincoln, two small businesses in Westerly that received relief grants, a construction site on the old I-195 land in Providence and Progreso Latino in Central Falls to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.
“We’ve made great progress, but this is only just the beginning of the work we have ahead to ensure Rhode Island emerges from this pandemic stronger than we went in,” McKee said. “I’m a firm believer that it only works if we work together – our team looks forward to working with Rhode Islanders over the next 100 days and beyond.”
McKee has faced various challenges including the coronavirus pandemic, restarting the state’s economy, and education and childcare.
Here’s a look at the Administration’s first 100 days:
Protecting Public Health
- Nearly 1.2 million vaccines have been administered. Nearly 55% of all Rhode Islanders are fully vaccinated, and more than 63% have received at least one dose of the vaccine; 65% of adults age 18+ are fully vaccinated and 73% are partially vaccinated.
- Rhode Island was one of the first seven states in the nation to beat President Biden’s vaccination goal. According to NPR’s vaccine tracker, Rhode Island is in the top 5 in the nation for percent of population fully vaccinated.
- Rhode Island has led the nation in vaccinating our seniors due in large part to our partnership with municipal leaders to vaccinate older adults with 94% of Rhode Islanders age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Restarting Rhode Island’s Economy
- The Rhode Island Small Business Relief Grant Program was launched to assist small businesses impacted by the pandemic. This program dedicated $20 million in CARES Act funds to provide 4,000 small businesses with $5,000 grants through a simple, streamlined application process.
- The economy reopened on May 21, a week earlier than planned. The state is currently ranked #3 in the nation and #1 in the Northeast according to the CNN/Moody’s “Back to Normal Index,” a multi-factor ranking system which tracks America’s recovery.
- The Administration worked with legislators to launch the 401 Works program to help get Rhode Islanders back to work. The program allows Rhode Island unemployment claimants to earn more, keep more, and stay connected to the Unemployment Insurance system while going back to work part-time, which makes it easier for them to transition back into the workforce.
Supporting Education and Childcare
- The Administration prioritized K-12 teachers, school staff, and childcare workers as part of the state’s vaccination plan to support our students, families, schools, and economy. More than 90% of this population has stepped up to get their shot.
- The Child Care Stabilization Grants was launched, a new stimulus-funded grant program to support and stabilize Rhode Island’s child care industry. The program is addressing some of the economic and operational hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to stabilize this essential infrastructure. Over $8.9 million in grants have been awarded to 91% of child care providers across Rhode Island, with another round of funding to be disbursed in July.
- Starting in September 2021, there will be over 2,300 Pre-K seats across 18 communities. Families can sign up to enter the Pre-K seat lottery on RIDE’s website through July 6.
- In April, a partnership was announced with colleges and universities across the state to make COVID-19 vaccines as accessible as possible for all students, faculty, and staff before the end of the Spring semester.
McKee has also made Rhode Island Promise permanent, providing up to two years of free tuition for eligible Rhode Islanders at the Community College of Rhode Island.
The Administration signed the Act on Climate and committed to developing a plan to incrementally reduce climate emissions to net-zero by 2050.
The minimum wage was also raised in the state from $11.50 to $15 over the next four years.