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.

Gregorio Borgia / AP

Sen. Jack Reed is accepting requests from Rhode Islanders for tickets to Pope Francis address to Congress on Thursday, Sept. 24. Pope Francis will be the first pope to ever address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

The tickets are outdoors and standing room. Ticketholders will be able to watch the pope’s speech on outdoor Jumbotrons that will be set up. After the address, His Holiness is slated to make an appearance at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

RIPR file photo

Court officials met throughout the morning Monday without reaching a decision on how to distribute thousands upon thousands of pages of documents from the state's lawsuit over failed video-game maker 38 Studios.

Superior Court Clerk Henry S. Kinch Jr. said the talks will continue, although it remains unclear for now when a process for making the information public will be established.

A summer slowdown of news? Rhode Island's summer of 2015 will likely be remembered for two important releases of information -- the State Police report on Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, and, more significantly, the unsealing of documents in the state's lawsuit over 38 Studios. As always, feel free to drop me a tip or your comments, and to follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR file photo

All the currently sealed court documents in the state's lawsuit over 38 Studios will be made public, Judge Michael Silverstein said Friday, although the timing of the release remains unclear for now.


Karen Bordeleau, who rose to become The Providence Journal's first female executive editor during a 20-year career at the newspaper, is leaving Fountain Street after slightly more than two years in the post.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A proposed ballpark for the PawSox in Providence and the vacant so-called Superman Building might seem to have little in common. Yet both raise questions involving economic development and the possible use of taxpayer subsidies. 

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Andrew Roos, who joined Gina Raimondo as chief of staff in 2013 as she was gearing up for her successful gubernatorial run and who remained in that role for state General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, announced Tuesday he's leaving for an unspecified private sector job. In related news, David Ortiz, who has led communications at City Hall for Mayors Angel Taveras and Jorge Elorza, is joining Magaziner's staff as communications director.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The National Governors Association’s annual summer meeting will be held in Rhode Island in 2017, the NGA announced Monday.

"We’re excited to bring the nation’s governors to Rhode Island, and we thank Gov. Gina Raimondo for her invitation,’’ said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, vice-chair of the NGA.

Retired Rhode Island Superior Court  Judge Edward C. Clifton has joined the faculty of Roger Williams University Law School, where he will work with students to conduct research on ethnic and racial fairness in the court system.

Clifton, who retired after more than 20 years on the Superior Court  bench, has wide legal experience in Rhode Island. Before his appointment to Superior Court, Clifton served as Providence city solicitor, and as a judge on both the Providence Municipal Court and on the Rhode Island District Court.

Old stories have a way of cycling back into the news in Rhode Island, and this otherwise quiet week was a case in point. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says lawmakers are unlikely to consider a revised proposal for a Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence until their next regular session in January.

Mattiello pointed to concerns about the ownership of the intended ballpark site, part of which is owned by Brown University, as well as an ongoing review related to an elaborate storm-water runoff system underneath the site.


Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, announced today that they will be supporting President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.

In a joint statement, Reed and Whitehouse said the agreement is the best way to ensure that Iran does not manufacture nuclear weapons.

Reed said he supports the deal, ``because it cuts off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon and gives international inspectors unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and supply chains.’’

Rhode Island State Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg has granted the state attorney general’s request that Raymond `Beaver’ Tempest stay in prison until the full court can decide his case.

McKena Goldberg blocked, at least for a month, the release of Tempest that was ordered by Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini.

Procaccini last month vacated Tempest’s conviction for the 1982 murder of Doreen Picard of Woonsocket after finding that police and state prosecutors violated his fair trial rights by withholding evidence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Opponents of a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence say they have gathered enough signatures to ask the City Council to effectively block the proposal. They plan to pursue that approach when the council returns from its August recess next month.

Urban Land Institute

The I-195 District Commission charged with overseeing the redevelopment of about 20 acres of land near downtown Providence on Monday hired Peter McNally, who has extensive experience with a global real estate investment company, as the commission's executive director.

McNally succeeds Jan Brodie, who somewhat abruptly announced her departure from the commission last month. He's slated to start in the role September 1.