Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has called him one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. Besides reporting, Ian tweets at @IanDon, hosts RIPR’s weekly Political Roundtable, and contributes to the station’s On Politics blog.

He was for many years a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, is an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment, and has been a political debate panelist for each of Rhode Island's three commercial television stations.

Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the AP, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

Ways to Connect

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! I'm grateful for our listeners/readers at RIPR, my excellent colleagues in the local media, the staffers and spokespeople on the beat, and of course, Rhode Island politics -- the gift that keeps giving. With that in mind, feel free to drop me a tip or comment via email and to follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Police are maintaining extra patrols this weekend in an attempt to reduce cases of impaired driving.

Law enforcement calls the Thanksgiving holiday weekend one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the roads. In an effort to fight that, State Police and local departments are teaming up as part of what they call Operation Blue RIPTIDE.

This effort is funded by the state Department of Transportation. Extra police patrols will be on the lookout for impaired drivers in high-traffic, high-incident areas.

For Thanksgiving week, the panel looks back at Rhode Island political stories for which we were thankful for in 2015, as well as our top political turkeys of the year.


Governor Gina Raimondo is using the words “Christmas tree” in connection with a holiday celebration at the State House. That’s in contrast to the initial approach used by former governor Lincoln Chafee.

In Governor Chafee’s first year in office, in 2011, he called the tree in the State House rotunda a “holiday tree.” Chafee maintained his approach was in keeping with tradition, but critics said the governor was stepping on the spirit of the holiday.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has signed a subpoena calling on Curt Schilling to appear for a December 15th meeting of the House Oversight Committee.

Wexford Science & Technology

The president of Wexford Science & Technology, which has proposed a one-million-square-foot mixed-use development on five acres in the I-195 District, told a crowd of business and civil leaders Monday night that Providence has the necessary elements to create a successful innovation hub.

After a mid-November slowdown, politics near and far remains roiled by fallout from the Paris attacks. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.


State Senator Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton), who attracted national criticism for an email in which she condemned Muslims, released a statement Friday defending her concerns about admitting Syrian refugees into the US.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the debate over Syrian refugees, fallout from Cranston's police controversy, and the state's disappointing PARCC scores.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss a host of issues, including a lawsuit filed by public safety retirees over pension cuts, his preference in the presidential race, his political future, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a 9-0 margin, the House Oversight Committee voted Thursday to seek a subpoena meant to spur State House testimony by Curt Schilling about his ill-fated video game company, 38 Studios. Yet the committee's counsel, Charles Knowles, told the panel that a court in Massachusetts, where Schilling resides, is unlikely to recognize the subpoena.

State Rep. Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland), who chairs the committee, said there's value in issuing the subpoena, even if it doesn't succeed in the short-term in causing testimony by Schilling.

John Bender / RIPR

Two new firms will be taking over the management of the state’s $7 billion CollegeBound fund. The fund was created in 1998 to help Rhode Islanders save money for college.

State Treasurer Seth Magaziner led the move to change management of the CollegeBound fund. He saidparticipants will benefit from the hiring of the highly rated investment company Invesco and Ascensus, the nation’s biggest administrator of so-called 529 college savings programs.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State Senator Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton) is attracting national attention for an email she sent condemning Islam and calling for Syrian refugees in the US to be kept in a "camp" separate from Americans.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

The Providence City Council finance committee voted to approve a proposed downtown hotel Tuesday night. The project was proposed earlier this year, but movement on the issue was slow.

A local developer wants to build a nine-story hotel on the site of a now-vacant government building. The project was proposed this summer, but the city’s finance committee did not vote on it for several months. Local construction workers felt opposition by a hotel workers union seemed to be stalling the project.

UNITE HERE, Local 217, the hotel workers' union, is poised to support the Fogarty Building hotel project slated for a vote Tuesday by the Providence City Council's Finance Committee, if the committee backs an amendment ensuring a higher wage for workers at the hotel.

However, the Procaccianti Group, which is seeking a 13-year tax stabilization agreement to build a nine-story extended stay hotel on the site of the vacant Fogarty Building, questions whether requiring certain wages as part of the deal is legal.