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.

Leon F. Tejada, a former Providence City Council member and state representative, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for devising and executing two tax fraud schemes to steal tax refunds from  76 taxpayers whose returns he prepared and filed.

U.S. Labor Department

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will be the commencement speaker at Roger Williams University Law School commencement exercises on May 13th at the school’s Bristol campus.

Perez, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, is no stranger to Rhode Island. He is a 1983 Brown University graduate, who later earned a graduate degree in political science from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Harvard’s Law School.

    

Cumberland State Representative Karen MacBeth, who last week changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, announced Monday that she will run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House in the First District, a seat currently held by Democrat David Cicilline of Providence.

  Dr. Barry Black, the first African-American to serve as U.S. Senate chaplain, returns to his alma mater to serve as commencement speaker at Salve Regina University at the university’s 66th commencement on May 15 in Newport.

Elected in 2003 as the first black Senate chaplain, Black had served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years, retiring as a Rear Admiral and chief of Navy chaplains. He received a master’s degree in human development from Salve Regina in 1989.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Local voters will go to the polls in a little more than three weeks, on April 26. As part of our RhodyVotes ’16 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis went looking for answers about how and why Trump zipped to the front of the local Republican presidential field.

It was quite the week in Rhode Island politics, and the fallout led to tardy publication of this week's column. So thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Responding to a week of criticism over the state's new tourism campaign, Governor Gina Raimondo announced Friday she has accepted the resignation of the state's chief marketing officer, is recovering some of the spending on the campaign, and will involve Rhode Islanders in a revised effort to better market the state.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Betsy Wall, Rhode Island's chief marketing officer, apologized Thursday for the troubled rollout of the state's new $5 million push to promote tourism 

Nick Black, who worked on Senator Elizabeth Warren's 2012 campaign and became a special assistant for Warren, has been hired to run Hillary Clinton's Rhode Island campaign, RIPR has learned.

Clinton beat Barack Obama by 18 points in Rhode Island in 2008. But the challenge posed by Democratic rival Bernie Sanders has made Rhode Island a more contested battle this year, according to a recent Brown University survey.

Screen capture of VisitRhodeIsland.com
Aaron Read

Is anyone home at the Statehouse? Did the governor go to Davos after all?

Whatever one thinks about the Raimondo Administration’s new cooler-warmer passive aggressive tourism branding, there is an undisputable fact about the new website: It’s a disaster.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Colorado's director of marijuana coordination said the legalization hasn't led to a significant increase in demand for the drug in the Rocky Mountain State in the short term, although legalization is "a heavy lift" and the related revenue isn't a panacea for cash-strapped states.

Andrew Freedman told reporters during a Statehouse availability on Tuesday that most of those wanting to buy marijuana legally were those who were previously using it illegally.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Oversight Chairwoman Karen MacBeth announced Monday she's leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a Republican since she thinks the GOP is more aligned with serving the public interest of Rhode Islanders.

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 Superior Court

Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Patricia A. Hurst, a jurist of wit, wisdom and legal acumen, is retiring after 26 years on the state trial court.

Hurst sent her retirement letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo today and plans to leave by the end of April.

RI DOT

In a boost for the vision of remaking the 6/10 Connector as a boulevard, state DOT Director Peter Alviti said Wednesday that a boulevard hybrid concept offers far more public benefits than traditional reconstruction of the Connector's seven deficient bridges.

Yet following a public meeting in Providence Wednesday evening, some civic observers were unimpressed, calling the concept more highway than boulevard.

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