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.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RINPR

Boston landed the big prize with the relocation from Connecticut of General Electric, but Governor Gina Raimondo said Wednesday the state is continuing talks with GE about the possibility of bringing other jobs to the Ocean State.

In her first public comments on Rhode Island's pursuit of GE, Raimondo said in a statement, “We worked diligently to recruit GE’s headquarters to Rhode Island -- and we'll remain relentless in our efforts to bring jobs to the state."

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo plans to attend the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next week as part of her effort to promote Rhode Island while attempting to attract new jobs.

"The governor will participate in a range of policy discussions and meetings with several leading domestic and international business executives to promote Rhode Island as a place fostering innovation and economic opportunity," spokeswoman Marie Aberger said in a statement Wednesday. "The governor will be traveling from January 20-23."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Richard Culatta started on the job this week as Rhode Island's first chief innovation officer. The job represents a homecoming for the 37-year-old South Kingstown native after he most recently worked in senior jobs in the US Department of Education.

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday found that Rhode Island’s revolving door law does not apply to former state Rep. Tim Williamson, a part-time lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee, and his candidacy for a vacant District Court judicial post.

Commission spokesman Jason Gramitt says Williamson’s House Judiciary Committee job is not among the government roles covered by the revolving door law.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A study commissioned by the Rhode Island Trucking Association disputes the findings of the state economic study used to build support for Governor Gina Raimondo's truck toll plan.

The study by the international firm IHS asserts that Raimondo's RhodeWorks plan will generate only $24 million to $37.5 million a year in toll revenue, not the $60 million identified in REMI's state-commissioned study.

Richard Culatta, a former Obama Administration education adviser, has been chosen by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as the state’s new  $210,000 a year "chief innovation officer."

Raimondo said Culatta will lead an effort to find better approaches to deliver government services in an efficient manner.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former Rhode Island House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino is scheduled to meet Thursday with the House Oversight Committee probing the 38 Studios disaster.

House spokesman Larry Berman says Costantino, who now works in state government in Vermont, will meet with the committee to discuss his role in shaping the program that gave the doomed 38 Studios video game company a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed subsidy.

The committee is slated to meet after the House floor session ends Thursday. The confab is scheduled for room 101 at the Statehouse.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has harped on creating new manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island since she began running for the governorship in 2014. But since moving into the 2nd floor Statehouse office on Smith Hill, the first-term Democrat changed her tune a bit, especially when it comes to recruiting high-tech companies to come to the Ocean State.

This morning, Raimondo’s face was peering out from the first business page of the Boston Globe. Her message was a distinctly different approach from her emphasis on manufacturing for the Ocean State business crowd.

RIPR FILE

In good tidings for motorists, gasoline prices keep dropping in Rhode Island. Triple A reports that for the first time since March, 2009, that the average gas price has fallen below $2 per gallon.

AAA’s survey of prices in RI, released this morning, shows that self-serve regular unleaded gas is averaging $1.99 per gallon.

The pump price drooped even lower in Massachusetts, where self-serve regular is averaging $1.95 per gallon. January traditionally brings a low demand for motor fuel, according to Mary Maguire, AAA public affairs director.

The General Assembly is back, and the political year kicks into gear. 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.

Jeff Britt, one of Rhode Island's best-known Republican operatives, is pointing to what he calls anti-Muslim statements by Donald Trump and other politicians as the explanation for why on Thursday he formally left the GOP.

Britt said he has been a registered Republican since around the time when he was in college in the late 1980s. He disaffiliated from the party Thursday morning at Warwick City Hall.

Republican John Pagliarini -- the winner of Tuesday's special election in state Senate District 11 -- and Democratic rival Jim Seveney say opposition to Governor Gina Raimondo's truck-toll proposal was a significant factor in the race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

As expected, Governor Raimondo's controversial truck toll proposal quickly emerged as a hot topic on the first day of the 2016 General Assembly session. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he expects a revised version of the governor's plan to emerge in a week or two, although it might take longer, and that he anticipates passage early in the session. 

RINPR

In an email to the newsroom of the Providence Journal, executive editor David Butler downplayed a report by Politico indicating that he will serve as interim editor of the embattled Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In the email, the contents of which were described to RIPR, Butler said his time in the Review-Journal newsroom will be short and that he expects to be back in Rhode Island as soon as next week.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 2016 Rhode Island General Assembly session kicks off tomorrow. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has a preview of what to expect and some New Year's resolutions to suggest to the returning lawmakers.

As predictable as a winter chill, lawmakers throng Smith Hill tomorrow for the new  year. There will be the usual mélange of grandstanding,  pomposity and first-day-of- school style greetings.

Pages