The name of the state with the longest name is changing, but it’s not getting any shorter.* On Wed, April 1. Governor Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Theresa Paiva Weed announced that Cranston-based jewelry company Alex and Ani have purchased the naming rights to one of the original 13 states.
Starting next week, the new name will be “The State of Alex and Ani and Providence Plantations.” The Department of Motor Vehicles will be issuing new license plates with a choice of four collectible bangles, including quahog-contentness, coffee-milk celebration, and the anchor of hope.
“I don’t think of this as a bailout,” said Governor Raimondo. “It’s an investment opportunity, with a little bit of bling!”
“Theresa and I are already looking forward to jerking the governor’s chain,” said Speaker Mattiello.
In recent years Alex and Ani have been on a spending spree in the Ocean State, including the purchase of the formerly Sakkonet Vineyards, a Newport Mansion, buildings at the Rhode Island School of Design, labs at the University of Rhode Island, and even the formerly Bank of America formerly Fleet Ice Skating Rink in Providence. Although the exact terms of the deal remain classified as a business secret, Raimondo assured voters and taxpayers, “This is a very sweet deal. Even better than pension reform! They’ve purchased all our debt in exchange for the right to collect tolls, raise taxes, teach color and chakra theory in schools, require people to assemble jewelry in exchange for their unemployment benefits, and of course, have our children perform as neck and hand models. Nothing too tacky.”
In a backroom renaming ceremony at the State Capital, House Speaker Nicholas Matiello and Senate President Theresa Paiva Weed were each presented with empty charm necklaces with plenty of room for contributions from lobbyists and special interests.
“Historically, Rhode Island was the costume jewelry capital of the world,” explained Brown University Professor Dr. I.M. Fulaship. “Now the costume jewelry has retaken the capital and the entire state.”
When we asked Dr. Fulaship why the name “Providence Plantations,” which some see as a tie to the institution of slavery, was kept, he simply explained, “We’re all slaves to fashion.”
*PolitiFact Truthiness checker: Although there is one fewer letter in “The State of Alex and Ani and Providence Plantations,” there are the same number of characters and one fewer word. We deem this fact “Mostly Truthy.”