On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

Another month, another poor jobs report in Rhode Island. The September unemployment rate remained at 5.6 percent, but Rhode Island-based jobs were down 900 from August, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Training.

The date shows job losses in educational services, health care and social assistance, ambulatory health care services and government and professional services.  There were also smaller job declines in manufacturing, information and transportation and utilities.


Rhode Island voters support all five spending bond issues on the November general election ballot but do not think the state is headed in the right direction, according to results of a public opinion survey conducted by the Hassenfeld  Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University.

The poll, done by Fleming and Associates, sampled 400 state voters by telephone between October 6th and 10th. It carries an error margin of about 5 percent and included 52 percent landlines and 48 percent mobile phones.

Googie Man / Creative Commons

Curt Schilling said Tuesday he was surprised to learn in 2010 that most of state reps voting on a $125 million job development program were unaware that a big chunk of the money was "earmarked" for 38 Studios.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Critics of Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson are gathering signatures in an attempt to knock him out of office.

Signatures of 20 percent of the registered voters in Jackson’s Ward 3 district need to be gathered within 120 days days to trigger a recall election.

Jackson is accused of making personal use of campaign contributions and embezzling more than $127,000 from a youth sports organization. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court in December.

Curt Schilling took to the op-ed page of The Providence Journal Sunday to renew his argument that former Governor Lincoln Chafee bears a large part of the responsibility for the failure of 38 Studios in 2012.

Your humble correspondent is back on the beat after taking most of last week off. So thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and your can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After being defeated by 21 votes during the September primary, John DeSimone unveiled Wednesday a write-in campaign against Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, and said he's running because out-of-town special interests propelled his rival's victory.

Ian Donnis

Americans remain sharply divided in the run-up to the presidential election next month. One issue raised repeatedly during this campaign is immigration, and what it means to be an American. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island House Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence, who was narrowly defeated in the September primary, is announcing tomorrow that he is mounting a November general election write-in challenge to the political newcomer who defeated him in the primary, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell.

Policy & Pinot: The November 2016 Election

Oct 7, 2016
Aaron Read / RIPR

How is the presidential election resonating with Rhode Islanders? What are the big local races? Our guests are Republican House Minority Leader Brian Newberry and Democratic campaign operative Kate Coyne-McKoy, along with RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay and our intrepid moderator, RIPR Political Reporter Ian Donnis.

October beckons, with playoff baseball, autumnal beauty, and the run-up to the deciding of legislative races. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. (A quick program note: I'm taking most of next week off, so TGIF will probably not return until October 14.) Here we go.

Major Thomas Verdi, a 29-year veteran of the Providence police department, has been named deputy chief by Col. Hugh Clements, police chief.

Verdi takes the post vacated by former Deputy Chief Thomas Oates, who has become police chief in Woonsocket.

Verdi has recently served as commanding officer of the uniform division. He has also been executive officer of the administrative division and has many years  experience as a detective, an organized crime investigator, in the patrol bureau and in SWAT operations.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state Investment Commission on Wednesday approved a recommendation by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner to reduce the 15 percent hedge fund allocation in Rhode Island's $7.65 billion pension plan to 6.5 percent over the next two years.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund is using its general election endorsements to mostly support General Assembly incumbents, although the group also backs a challenger to one House incumbent, and favors Republican candidates in the races for three of six open House seats.

In Cranston, the NRA's Political Victory Fund supported House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (with an A+ rating) over GOP challenger Steven Frias (who has a B rating.)

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A Kansas City design firm, Pendulum Studio, has been selected to study the future of McCoy Stadium and the area around the ballpark. The company is supposed to releases its findings by the end of next January.

The study by Pendulum Studio is meant to develop a plan and cost estimates for enhancing McCoy Stadium and the surrounding area. Many fans love the 74-year-old ballpark, but attendance for the Triple A PawSox has declined over recent seasons.