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.

Fasten your seatbelt for what promises to be an impactful Election Day next Tuesday. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your comments and tips are welcome , and you can follow me through the week on the twitters . Here we go. 1. While the nation remains transfixed by the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump , all eyes in Rhode Island are on Republican Steven Frias ' challenge to Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello . Indications point to...

BU Rob13, Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons License

After a toxic presidential campaign, the national question will become how to unite a fractured country. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Islanders will hopefully be better at this than other states.

RIPR staff

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is headed to New Hampshire Thursday night to join New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the Granite State, at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton’s presidential quest. Raimondo and Hassan, both Democrats, will appear at a telephone bank kick-off in the southern New Hampshire town of Exeter. Raimondo is scheduled to return to Rhode Island Thursday evening. Hassan is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in...

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday she picked the new colonel of the state police based on her qualifications and her ability to bring more diversity to the agency. "Col. Assumpico has 40 years of experience," Raimondo said when asked by reporters if she picked Assumpico because of her gender. "She has experience as a cop, experience as a correctional officer; she's been on the Rhode Island State Police for 25 years; she's been a member of the command staff; she's worked in every barracks,...

Dank Depot / flickr/Creative Commons License

With all the focus on the ugly, roller-coaster presidential campaign, a referendum closer to Rhode Island’s borders hasn’t received much media attention in the waning days of the campaign. That would be the Massachusetts ballot question that would legalize recreational marijuana, which voters consider on Tuesday. The latest public opinion survey for WBUR, Boston’s npr affiliate, shows a 15-point gap in favor of making the weed legal. The poll, conducted by MassINC, showed 55 percent in favor...

Lookout RI's endorsement of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello through an advertisement in the Cranston Herald may violate an IRS ban on campaign activity by 501(c)(3) organizations. According to the IRS , "all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of...

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has more than $1.5 million in her campaign account as she approaches the mid-point in her term. Raimondo raised a relatively small amount over the last three months, according to her latest campaign finance report. But the haul pushes the governor’s war chest higher than the previous balance of $1.45 million . Having that much cash on hand could discourage some potential challengers from taking on Raimondo in the state’s next gubernatorial election in 2018. Raimondo has...

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The speaker of the House is often called the most powerful elected official in state government. That’s because the speaker controls the flow of legislation in the House and has a lot of influence over the state budget. But just like a rank and file lawmaker, the speaker has to win re-election every two years.

We're heading into the home stretch ahead of Rhode Island's November 8th election. 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. 1. How pissed off are Rhode Islanders at the status quo? We'll get some insight into that question after voters decide legislative races on November 8. A few cycles ago, Republicans were unable to build their ranks on Smith Hill despite the seemingly...

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

An organizer of the attempt to recall Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson is criticizing a slowdown in the recall process, although Jackson's lawyer said his client is raising legitimate issues. As it stands, Jackson has until 4:30 pm Friday to provide the Providence Board of Canvassers with specific objections to the more than 300 signatures gathered to initiate the recall process. Tricia Kammerer, one of the organizers of the recall , said the Canvassers terminated the signature...

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Block on Monday endorsed Steven Frias, describing Frias as someone who will bring greater change to the Statehouse. "Steve Frias is honest and intelligent and he will not be afraid to champion government reform or hold the Raimondo administration accountable," Block said in a statement distributed by the state Republican Party. "It is time for Rhode Island voters to take back control of their state house and provide an object lesson to every legislator...

It's not every week that begins with 38 Studios and ends with a yoga pants dispute in Barrington. But that's why Rhode Island is the gift that keeps giving. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters . Here we go. 1. Curt Schilling has said for a long time how he would one day come to Rhode Island, face the taxpayers, and drop big bombs about the real story behind 38 Studios. So a lot of people were...

Aaron Read / RIPR

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 data show 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...

RIPR FILE

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 6 th and 10 th . It carries an error margin of about 5 percent and included 52 percent landlines and 48 percent...

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.

Pages