Scott MacKay

Political Analyst

With a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Vermont and a wealth of knowledge of local politics, it was a given that Scott MacKay would become a commentator for Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable.

As a former political reporter for The Providence Journal, MacKay has spent more than thirty years documenting the ins and outs of politics in Rhode Island and New England. MacKay is married to Dr. Staci Fisher, an infectious diseases specialist.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScotMackRI

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Insurgent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won a resounding victory over front-runner Hillary Clinton in Rhode Island’s Democratic presidential primary today. On the Republican side, Donald Trump crushed challengers Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

On a rainy and blustery New England day, voters surged to polls in both primaries to deliver a strong message to the establishment of both major parties, saying emphatically that they aren’t pleased with the status quo.

Stephen L. Brown, founder of the Vermont Vanguard Press, longtime publisher of the Providence Phoenix and a leader for nearly four decades in New England’s alternative newspaper industry, died Monday at Rhode Island Hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was 62.

Brown has endured health challenges in recent years with his usual mix of grit and humor. He was a grand companion, whether on the golf course and the 19th hole, at Fenway Park or grilling swordfish in his backyard. He especially enjoyed Pawtucket Red Sox games at McCoy Stadium.

John Bender / RIPR

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his insurgent Democratic presidential primary campaign to Rhode Island Sunday, giving an impassioned speech to 7,000 cheering supporters at a sun-dappled Temple to Music at Roger Williams Park in Providence.

Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, when roughly 1,000 Irish nationalists marched through the streets of Dublin, beginning a week long rebellion against British colonialism. That Revolutionary act will be commemorated Sunday as the Rhode Island 1916 Centenary Committee holds a ceremony and places a plaque near the Irish Famine Memorial along the Providence riverfront. RIPR’s Scott MacKay sat down with Donald Deignan, a founder of the committee.  

R.I. Public Radio, ProJo, East Side Monthly, R.I. Monthly, and Newport Mercury win Metcalf Awards for Diversity in Media, Rhode Island for Community and Justice has announced.

The Providence Journal captured two awards. One went to the paper’s great crime reporter, Amanda Milkovits for her piece entitled `RI’s Minority Police Officers Understand Life On Both Sides of the Blue Line.’

RIPR FILE

Providence’s precarious finances are once again the top topic at City Hall. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says capital homeowners should be prepared for a tax increase this year.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is banning city-financed travel to North Carolina and Mississippi after those states approved laws limiting access to public services and protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

``The city of Providence is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone who lives, travels, and works here,’’ said Elorza, in a statement. ``We stand in solidarity with residents in North Carolina and Mississippi who are being denied the same rights and protections that anyone should expect.’’

The 2017 military construction and Veterans Administration legislation approved today by the Senate Armed Services Committee on a 30-0 vote includes $20 million for a new National Guard readiness center in East Greenwich, Sen. Jack Reed announced today.

Reed, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the $20 million will build a new 80,000 square foot readiness center to support training, administrative and logistical requirements for the Rhode Island Army and Air National Guard.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from February to March at 5.4 percent, according to the state Department of Labor and Training. The national unemployment rate is at 5.0 percent and neighboring Massachusetts is at 4.4 percent.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced that her husband and former President Bill Clinton will campaign for her in in Rhode Island on Thursday, April 14. Former President Clinton will speak at the Community College of Rhode Island Knight Campus in Warwick at 12:30.

The short statement announcing the visit read, "President Clinton will attend a public event where he will discuss why Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to raise wages and break down all the barriers holding families back.’’

Rhode Island's Democratic presidential primary is April 26.

Staci Fischer / RIPR

Heather Abbott, whose injuries sustained in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing spurred her to start a foundation which helps amputees get prosthetic devices, will be the commencement speaker at Providence College’s 98th graduation exercises on May 15 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.

Gage Skidmore

If campaign kick-offs are any indication of the respective strengths of the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, Rhode Island’s April 26th primary will boil down to grass roots Democrats campaigning for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and party leaders supporting Hillary Clinton.

About 250 enthusiastic Sanders acolytes thronged the opening of Sanders Rhode Island headquarters  on Broad Street in Providence this afternoon. They held large light blue `Bernie 2016’  signs and waved them at cars and pedestrians in the South Side neighborhood.

Don Borman / RIPR File

  Baseball is back in New England. The Boston Red Sox open their home season this afternoon at Fenway Park and the team hopes to rebound after a last-place finish. Their top minor league club, the Pawtucket Red Sox, face some different challenges this season, says RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Elisabeth Harrison

UPDATE: Tonight's PawSox Opener has been postponed due to rain.  The home-opener is now scheduled for Friday at 6:15pm.

Thursday is opening day for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The game comes after a tumultuous year for the PawSox. A new ownership team announced plans to move the team to Providence, but the architect of the deal died unexpectedly, the public rebelled, and the plan had to be scrapped.  

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay sat down with the PawSox new President Charles Steinberg to find out what’s next for the team.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Calling it an ``election year stunt,’’ Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has vetoed a City Council ordinance that would establish a $12.50 per hour minimum wage for city employees.

``I cannot burden the taxpayers with what amounts to nothing more than a poorly thought out election year stunt,’’ said Fung in a news release.  ``The proposed ordinance does not have a proper cost-benefit analysis, has no data to support the arbitrary selection of $12, $12.50 or the originally proposed $15.’’

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