activism

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former gubernatorial candidate Ken Block is calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to ask the state Supreme Court for an opinion on the constitutionality of legislative grants.

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.

A conservative-leaning citizens group, Rhode Island Taxpayers, is disbanding due to a lack of financial support.

RI Taxpayers began 12 years ago as the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition. It had also been known early on as the Rhode Island Shoreline Coalition.

In a statement, Rhode Island Taxpayers said the group was founded with the idea of raising the voice of citizens in state issues. The organization has pursued that in part with a web site and by using a daily email bulletin to distribute news stories.

The leaves are falling, and fight over truck tolls remains hot and heavy. So thanks for stopping by for my weekend roundup. As always, your tips and feedback are welcome via my email and you can follow me all week long on the twitters. Here we go.

Courtesy of Chris Torres

Rhode Island Working Families, the new progressive/labor advocacy group, has hired Chris Torres, an experienced organizer with past Ocean State experience, as its state director. Torres is slated to formally start his new job November 15.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new coalition held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to press for an increase in the state’s $2.89 sub-minimum wage. Supporters call this a matter of fairness, since the sub-minimum wage hasn’t changed in 20 years. But the restaurant industry says higher wages would lead to higher food prices.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With 18 new members in the 113-seat General Assembly, On Politics is offering a periodic look at the latest additions to the House and Senate. We continue with Representative Aaron Regunberg (D-Providence), who used his activist background to catapult into the seat previously held by former Speaker Gordon Fox.

Age: 24

Occupation: organizer with the Providence Student Union.

Party: Democrat

Although Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren keeps rejecting the idea of a Democratic presidential run, that hasn't stopped liberals from trying to draft the progressive firebrand. The liberal advocacy group MoveOn is leading the push, attracting more than 200,000 signatures.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, have sparked a national focus on police-community relations. At issue is a number of cases in which unarmed black men have been killed during encounters with white police officers. Rhode Island hasn’t seen this much concern about police-community relations since a black police officer was killed in a friendly-fire incident almost 15 years ago. So how much things have changed?

John Bender / RIPR

More than 100 Student and community protestors shut down a lecture by New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly at Brown University yesterday afternoon.

Mario Vega, a Brown student, says he was there to protest the way NYC police have monitored Muslim residents since 9/11.

“I think Ray Kelly’s policies are completely racist and Islamiphobic, and I completely do not support how Brown is paying him to come here and unilaterally impose his doctrine on the people of the University.  That gives the impression that we support it and we don’t," said Vega.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Ray Sullivan, who led Rhode Island United's successful campaign this year to legalize same-sex marriage, is joining Checkmate Consulting Group, Brad Dufault's advertising, marketing and PR shop, as a partner.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins the Political Roundtable this week to discuss legislative attempts to improve Rhode Island's economy; the search for a new state commissioner of higher education; and why the Senate voted in April to legalize same-sex marriage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

When the Rhode Island Senate made history by approving same-sex marriage legislation in April, more than a few close observers (including me) saw it as a matter -- in part -- of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed preserving her leadership. The thinking was that if same-sex marriage was defeated again (in a battle that started in 1997), SSM supporters would aggressively target legislative opponents at the polls next year.

The sophisticated grassroots campaign in support of same-sex marriage offers a tangible reminder of the value of field work makes in Rhode Island politics. So as we move closer to an expected Democratic gubernatorial clash between Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo next year, keep an eye on their level of outreach to young political activists.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Devin Driscoll, communications head for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage -- which led the grassroots campaign to legalize same-sex marriage -- is heading to a new job, as the Chicago-based Northeast regional director for Organizing for Action, the Democratic effort formerly known as Obama for America.

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