An artificial tree will spruce up the Rhode Island State House this Christmas season. Governor Gina Raimondo hopes she's avoiding another controversy filled holiday season by going the articial route. Over the weekend, the Governor's staff assembled and decorated an 18 foot artificial tree from Balsam Hill described as a replica of a California Baby redwood. She'll light the tree in the annual event Wednesday night at 6:15.Raimondo issuing a statement saying it's challenging to keep a real tree alive and thriving from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. Over the years, the State House Christmas Tree has been the subject on controversy some even going national. In 2005, a national headline ran "Rhode Island Red Faced after killing official tree." That year the 18 foot Colorado blue spruce lost its needles and died after State House workers dried it with commercial fans and doused it with a fire retardant chemical.. Back in 2011, Governor Linc Chafee stirred up a storm by calling it a Holiday Tree. He was crucified on local talk radio and it even went national as the grist for late night comedians. Just two years ago, most of the needles fell off the tree in the overheated and stuffy State House leading the New York Post headline "This is the saddest state capital Christmas tree." Hard to argue with that. Before you go haywire about footing the $6,500 hundred dollar invoice for the fake tree, Raimondo's office says she used leftover dough raised for the National Governor's Association gathering she hosted in 2017 to pay for the tree. I certainly prefer a real Christmas Tree over an artificial one but I also prefer NOT being the butt of jokes nationwide. i applaud the Governor for this move.
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