Amid Nation's Highest Unemployment Rate, RI Legislature Considering Naming a State Appetizer

Christine Rousselle

3/26/2014 11:27:00 AM - Christine Rousselle

The jobless rate in Rhode Island currently stands at 9%, the highest in the nation by a sizable percentage. Compared to neighboring states Massachusetts (6.5%) and Connecticut (7.2%), the Ocean State's job prospects are pretty dismal. When confronted with these statistics, one would expect that Rhode Island's lawmakers would do something to improve the business climate of the state, but instead, today they're considering a bill that would declare calamari as the official state appetizer.

In what has been a nearly year-long effort to name fried squid rings served with banana peppers as the state appetizer, the Rhode Island House of Representatives will be reviewing the proposed bill today.

A similar bill introduced last year passed through the House of Representatives but did not get through the Senate. Both bills were introduced by Rep. Joe McNamara, a Democrat representing the bayside city of Warwick. McNamara claims that naming calamari the official state appetizer will help boost the state's fishing industry and economy.

Rhode Island has the largest squid fishing fleet on the east coast and brings in roughly half of the east coast's squid catch.

No other state has a designated official appetizer, although some have created official foods, beverages, and desserts.

While calamari is certainly delicious, shouldn't Rhode Island's leaders focus more of their efforts on job creation rather than fried squid?