Because of her work in championing small business legislation, the Oil Heating Institute of Rhode Island/Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association invited Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D – Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) to speak about Rhode Island’s small business climate at its annual conference last Thursday.
It was the first time that the Oil Heating Institute of Rhode Island joined the Connecticut association for the annual gathering, which took place at the MGM Grand Hotel at Foxwoods. Aside from delivering the good news on how the state has made it easier for small businesses to thrive, Representative Serpa said she gained some valuable insight into the world of an oil company owner doing business on the border between Rhode Island and Connecticut.
“We want all small businesses to be able to expand, but the energy sector is a very specific type of business with very specific concerns,” she said. “The conference was a great way to reach out to them and offer my willingness to work with them on legislation that will help them rectify their issues. Our goal, of course, is to keep more business on this side of the border.”
The conference enabled Representative Serpa to participate in an engaging roundtable discussion about small business operations and economic development in Rhode Island, as well as possible legislation to improve customer service and the state’s process of permitting and licensing. She said for many of the business owners, it was the first time someone from the state General Assembly had reached out with ideas and an attentive ear.
She added she was pleased to be able to inform the business owners of some of the new legislation that would directly help small businesses in the energy sector.
“I think everyone was very receptive to the state’s new laws regarding the periodic review of legislation to eliminate redundant or cumbersome regulations and language,” said the representative, who sponsored the recently enacted bill. “I know it’s hard to get the word out about some of these measures when so many other issues surface in the scope of the media. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with the fact that many thought it was easier to do business here than in other places. I hope that good news continues to spread.”
Representative Serpa is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business. During the last legislative session, she spent time working with leaders of the annual Small Business Economic Summit to generate new ideas for economic development and became the sponsor of multiple bills aimed at improving the state’s business climate.