Artificial state house Christmas tree has local growers angry

The Rhode Island State House Christmas Tree, 2014. (File)

Rhode Island Christmas tree growers are furious about Governor Gina Raimondo’s decision to install an artificial Christmas Tree at the State House.

“It’s a slap in the face to all the Christmas Tree growers, and all the farmers in the state,” said Tim Leyden, owner of Big John Leyden’s Christmas Tree farm in West Greenwich. He calls the artificial State House tree “shocking and outrageous.”

Leyden is appealing on the Governor to reverse the decision and bring a Rhode Island grown tree to the State House. He says a committee should be established to choose the best tree from the state for the Capital’s display.

“Rhode Island’s perennial challenges with the State House Christmas tree have been well-documented,” said Governor Raimondo. “Due to conditions inside the State House, it’s challenging to keep a real tree alive and thriving from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. I want Rhode Islanders to be able to enjoy the State House Christmas decorations—especially the tree—for the entirety of the holiday season.”