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

Ways to Connect

James Baumgartner / RIPR

Even though they are illegal, it’s the season of March Madness and gambling pools.

Now, an East Providence state representative wants to make those bracket basketball bets legal in Rhode Island.

Rep. Gregg Amore, a Democrat, has introduced a bill to make `social gaming’ in private residences, taverns and private clubs legal, so long is there is a `social relationship’ among bettors and no person other than bettors receive anything of value.

Wikimedia Commons

This week marks two holidays honoring St. Patrick and St. Joseph, the patron saints of Irish and Italian-Americans. All of this has RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay thinking about the rich history of Irish and Italian immigration in Rhode Island and the recent debates about new immigrants. 

RIPR FILE

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, today announced his support for providing Rhode Island drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

In his statement, Bishop Tobin noted that Catholic bishops in the United States have supported enactment of comprehensive immigration reform. ``Until that finally happens, particular, ad hoc issues such as providing drivers licenses for undocumented individuals will inevitably arise,’’ said Tobin.

World Travel and Tourism Council

Robert Redford and Rooney Mara are teaming up to bring Hollywood to Rhode Island. That’s the word from Steve Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film and Television Office.

Redford and Mara will star in "The Discovery," a science-fiction love story set in a world where the existence of the afterlife is scientifically proven.

Redford returns to the Ocean State for the first time since his lead role in "The Great Gatsby," the 1974 movie filmed in Newport, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age novel.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The presidential primary campaign is in high gear, but Rhode Island gets scant attention from White House hopefuls. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some ideas about how we can change this.

Since 2014, Rhode Island’s large and diverse Irish-American community has been working to remember and commemorate Ireland’s 1916 `Easter Rising.’

Now, a 1916 Easter Rising exhibit is on display at the Providence Public Library. It will be displayed from March 1st until March 31st.

  Zachary Sherman, who has been acting director of HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s Obamacare health insurance exchange, has been chosen as the new director, state Administration Director Michael DiBiase announced today.

Sherman, a longtime health care consultant, has been the interim director since November, 2015. A Vermont native, Sherman took over the post when Anya Rader Wallack left it to become executive director of the state’s Medicaid program.

RIPR FILE

Once again, Rhode Island lawmakers are ensnared in a joust over extending ethics oversight of the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the measure isn’t likely to usher in change on Smith Hill.

RIPR FILE

Some good news for Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island General Assembly in the latest revenue numbers for fiscal year 2016 from the state Department of Revenue.

Through January, both the personal income tax collections and the sales tax receipts are exceeding state projections. Income tax collections are running nearly four percent –3.8 percent—ahead of estimates. The sales levy is bringing in 3.4 percent more than estimates.

Gage Skidmore / Southern New Hampshire University/flickr

Rhode Islander Tad Devine is the chief messenger for insurgent Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay caught up with Devine recently to talk about Sanders surprising success.

President Obama intends to appoint Providence native Tom Donilon, the president’s former National Security Advisor, to be chairman of the federal  Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, according to a top White House aide.

Mr. Obama also intends to tap Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, as the vice-chairman of the commission.

It’s that time of the year again – As the song trills: It’s Follies Time at The Veeeenus De Milo!

Longtime Rhode Islanders know what that means. So for the uninitiated, or if you’ve been living in a yurt for the past year, the event is always held the last Friday in February, which is Feb. 26th this year. It is the social and political event of the season -  the Providence Newspaper Guild’s annual Follies show at the Venus de Milo in Swansea, Mass.

Wikimedia Commons

As the nation pays its final respects to Antonin Scalia, the brilliant legal scholar and conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice, one interest group breathing a sigh of relief is organized labor, particularly the public employee unions.

That’s because one of the crucial cases likely to be affected by Scalia’s passing is the future of public employee unions. Under a California legal joust that was decided in favor of the unions in the lower courts, a union’s right to charge dues to members who are not union members, but are part of a collective bargaining unit, was up in the air.

Federal Wildlife Service

Rhode Island’s New England neighbors are moving aggressively forward with legalizing marijuana. RIPR political analyst says the Ocean State shouldn’t be last to tap a new source of state money.

Whatever you think about legal marijuana, it is difficult to defend the current prohibition of the weed. 

New Hampshire Public Radio

The only sure element of the 2016 presidential sweepstakes, in the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary , is that both Democrats and Republicans now face long nominating battles.

The party elites hate this – short and sweet nominating contests work best for them. Long campaigns drain money and effort away from the general election and create internecine jousts. That doesn’t mean, as in the Democratic battle of 2008, that the primary wounds can’t be healed, but it does take time.

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