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.

  In bad news for the Rhode Island economy, the unemployment rate inched up to 5.6 percent in August  from 5.5 percent in July and the Ocean State-based jobs dropped by 700, according to data released today by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The state jobless rate was higher than the national unemployment rate, which stood at 4.9 percent. The DLT also said the data shows that the July job losses, the state has about 5,800 more jobs than at this time last year.

John Bender / RIPR

A Providence police investigation of the August 24th accident in which a Peter Pan bus driver hit and killed a Cumberland woman in Kennedy Plaza has resulted in no criminal charges against driver Matthew Reidy of Taunton, Mass.

Michelle Cagnon, 30, of Cumberland was struck by a bus operated by Reidy as she was walking on Washington St. in Kennedy Plaza.  She died as a result of the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The decision against criminal charges came after what police called “an extensive” investigation and reconstruction of the events that led to her death.

Political newcomer Jason Knight defeated veteran State Rep. Jan Malik in the District 67 Democratic primary by winning a huge victory in the two Barrington precincts, even as Knight lost the two polling places in Malik’s Warren stronghold.

Elisabeth Harrison

In Tuesday's primary, Rhode Island voters ousted House Majority Leader John DeSimone and five other incumbents. Progressive Democrats picked up three wins, and mayors in North Providence and Woonsocket won re-election. Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Analyst Scott MacKay discusses these results and more with Host Chuck Hinman.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Islanders will go to the polls Tuesday to vote in a primary election. The general lack of high-profile races is expected to result in a low turnout of voters. 

RIPR FILE

Edward Fitzpatrick, who has been The Providence Journal's political columnist since 2008, is leaving to become the director of media and public relations for Roger Williams University.

The change is effective October 5.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Longtime North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Kristen Catanzaro in Tuesday's primary election. The race is the hardest-fought mayoral contest in this week’s election.

On a recent afternoon, North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi showed off 19 acres of forested preservation land at Camp Meehan, near the town’s border with Smithfield. Sunlight gleamed nearby on the blue water of the Wenscott Reservoir, a scene so bucolic you’d never know that busy Mineral Spring Avenue is only about a mile away.

Happy Weekend and 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. Here we go.

Sophie Kasakove

Jim Vincent, president of the Providence NAACP, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to begin a formal national search for a new state police superintendent to replace Col. Steven O’Donnell, who is retiring after more than five years on the job.

Vincent said a national search is necessary because the top brass of the state police currently lacks any women or minorities in a position to apply for the job.  "We need a national search so that Rhode Island can get the best possible superintendent.’’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Colonel Steven O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police is retiring later this month.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state plans to speed up an overhaul of bridges along the 6/10 Connector because they’re deteriorating faster than expected and will eventually pose a safety risk, Governor Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday during a Statehouse news conference.

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein on Tuesday approved the $25.6 million settlement over 38 Studios with two large financial firms, Wells Fargo Securities and Barclays Capital.

Happy September! The approach of fall brings plenty of fresh developments on the politics beat. 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. Here we go.

RI For Gun Safety, a new 527 group funded by former Hasbro Chairman and CEO Alan Hassenfeld is spending tens of thousands on four legislative races ahead of Rhode Island's September 13th primary.

Hassenfeld has contributed $87,500 to the group.

Using that money, the group plans to send four direct mail pieces criticizing House Majority Leader John DeSimone's stance on gun-safety issues. DeSimone faces a primary challenge from Marcia Ranglin-Vassell.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A first-time candidate is challenging one of the most powerful Democrats in the General Assembly, House Majority Leader John DeSimone. 

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