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.
Occupation: organizer with the Providence Student Union.
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?
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.
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.
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.