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.

Stephen Neuman, chief of staff for Governor Gina Raimondo, joins Bonus Q&A to talk about personnel changes at the state Department of Transportation; Raimondo's infrastructure-funding proposal; the state's new education commissioner, and much more.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The City of Providence is arguing that the Providence firefighters' union can't use arbitration to fight the looming implementation of a money-saving shift-change plan 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is opposing the immediate release of a State Police review that found "deep problems" within the Cranston Police Department, including complaints about political interference by Fung and his staff.

Michael J. Sepe, Cranton's longtime Democratic City Chairman, is running to be mayor in Cranston's November 2016 election. The move comes as Mayor Allan Fung faces the fallout of a State Police report criticizing management of the city's Police Department and the city administration.

TGIF is back in the swing of RI politics after a relaxing summer break. So thanks for stopping by, and feel free to share your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Let's dive in.

Brandon Bell, who won election in March as chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party, joins Bonus Q+A this week to talk about the GOP outlook, Donald Trump, Governor Raimondo's job performance and much more.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to raise the salaries of some of Rhode Island’s top state employees, a move Republican State Chairman Brandon Bell calls ``absurd.’’  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the latest dust up over state employee salaries.

There’s a Rhode Island cliché: Question: Which state worker makes too much money? Answer: Anyone who makes more than I do.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Providence City Council's Finance Committee appeared unmoved Thursday night after dozens of Rhode Island Building Trades members urged the committee to approve a tax-stabilization agreement for the Procaccianti Group's proposed hotel on Fountain Street.

Although a vote was not expected during the meeting, boisterous Building Trades members appeared frustrated that concerns expressed by UNITE HERE, Local 217, have effectively slowed down the process.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Thursday signed into law a standardized tax break approach meant to encourage development on the former I-195 land and in city neighborhoods. A more predictable process for tax treaties has been described for years as a key need.

Construction costs are similar between Boston and Providence, but taxes are higher here and rents are lower. Because of that, public officials say tax incentives are needed to catalyze new development.

The Elmwood U.S. Post Office in Providence is being officially named for the late Sister Ann Keefe, a beloved Roman Catholic nun who served for more than 30 years at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Providence.

Sister Ann, as she was universally known, died earlier this year after a long battle with brain cancer at age 62.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Paul J. Thomas, who was fired in 2012 as Providence's director of public works, is suing Mayor Jorge Elorza, his predecessor, Angel Taveras, and City Council President Luis Aponte -- among others -- in a claim alleging he was let go because he refused to hire or promote two unqualified individuals.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Eric Hyers, who managed Governor Gina Raimondo's winning campaign last year, has signed on to pilot what is expected to be a competitive re-election fight for Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Hyers previously led two winning races for Congressman David Cicilline, including his initial 2010 vault into Congress, as well as campaigns in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr., the former chief judge of RI's Family Court, died Sunday at age 80, a court spokesman said.

Courts spokesman Craig Berke said details were not immediately available on the cause of Judge Jeremiah's death.

According to Berke, Jeremiah was appointed associate justice of the Family Court in March 1986. A year later, in March 1987, he was sworn in as Chief Judge. He retired June 30, 2010. Jeremiah previously served in the Cranston City Solicitor’s office from 1963 to 1984, and as executive counsel for then-Governor Edward DiPrete from 1984 to 1986.

The annual Governor’s Bay Day is back, with free parking at Rhode Island’s state beaches on Sunday July 26th.

The day includes family-friendly attractions, including free beach parking, free saltwater fishing without a license and free Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus rides  on all service to South County beaches on the Route 66 bus (the URI/Galilee route).

``Celebrating Governor’s Bay Day is a chance for all Rhode Islanders to enjoy our great beaches and parks,’’ said Gov. Gina Raimondo in a statement.

R.I.P. Chris Nocera

Jul 17, 2015

Christopher Nocera, a longtime Providence political operative, Elmhurst neighborhood activist and City Hall fixture, died suddenly last night. He was 60.

A burly man with an infectious sense of humor, Nocera was instrumental in Patrick Kennedy’s 1988 campaign for state representative in Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant that launched the career of  Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s son, who later became a Congressman. Nocera put together a fine ground voter turn-out effort that propelled Kennedy to victory over then Rep. Jack Skeffington, a Mount Pleasant funeral director.