Claiborne Pell

John Hawkins, the former RI Senate majority leader, father of the R.I. Lottery and a political power in Rhode Island for generations, died early Monday of a stroke. He was 80.

He was active until the last few hours of his life, said his nephew, William Hawkins, who along with other family members was at Hawkins bedside at Rhode Island Hospital when he died at 12:20 a.m. He had stopped one of his favorite spots, Twin Oaks in Cranston just hours before collapsing at his Providence home.

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Debra Messing, the East-Greenwich raised actress known for her role in the ``Will and Grace’’ television sitcom and Woonsocket Jazz club owner John Chan will both be honored with Pell Awards at Trinity Reparatory Theater’s annual tribute to the arts and the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

The ceremonies are scheduled for June 15 at Trinity Rep, with a reception to follow at the nearby Providence Public Library.

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The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities visited Rhode Island Monday. 

The agency has invested millions of dollars in Rhode Island cultural institutions including the Rhode Island Historical Society and Brown University. NEH also has roots in Rhode Island. It was created thanks in part to a bill sponsored by the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell. NEH Chair William Adams spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay about that history and why he thinks the federal government should continue funding for the humanities.

As U.S. Senate returns flow in later this evening from around the nation, the Rhode Island politician with the most at stake is U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who is expected to coast to reelection.

First elected in 1996 to the seat held for 36 years by the late Claiborne Pell, Democrat Reed has accumulated enough seniority to become  chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a crucial post for Rhode Island’s defense industry and the U.S. Navy installation in Newport that is anchored by the Naval War College.

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The life of Nuala Pell, widow of Sen. Claiborne Pell, was celebrated Monday morning with wit, tradition and family love and devotion in services at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport, the city she loved and where she died last week at age 89.

One of Rhode Island's two teachers' unions, the National Education Association Rhode Island, has endorsed democrat Clay Pell in the race for governor.

NEARI President Larry Purtill says this gubernatorial race will play a crucial role in the future of public education.

"We need a candidate who will listen to educators, stop the testing craze and make sure that every Rhode Island student has the opportunity for a great public school education," Purtill said in a written statement.

It isn’t a surprise that Rhode Island’s Republican Party is having a difficult time finding a credible candidate to take on Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

Reed first won election to the U.S. House in 1990 and moved up to the Senate after the retirement of Sen. Claibone Pell. Reed has never lost an election and in recent campaigns has had easier and easier opponents.


Political pundits love to emphasize that campaigns matter.  Clay Pell better hope that adage rings true if he hopes to be Rhode Island’s next governor, says our resident pundit, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is the grandson of a legendary Rhode Island U.S. Senator, a Harvard University graduate  and at just 32 years old, possessor of a resume that would be the envy of many a decade or two older.

Just when we thought we knew that next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary field was set, it suddenly was not. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay talks about the Clay Pell factor.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is a scion of a storied Rhode Island political family. He’s the grandson of U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, a quirky, even eccentric politician who nonetheless never lost an election in six terms, despite facing the toughest opponents our small state could muster.

Clay Pell, a grandson of the late US Senator Claiborne Pell, is looking at a possible Democratic run for governor in 2014, according to local Democrats.

Vice President Joe Biden has canceled plans to headline a Newport fundraiser Thursday for the Democratic National Committee and to appear during a Salve Regina University event honoring Nuala Pell, the widow of the late senator Claiborne Pell.

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The Rhode Island International Film Festival is underway.  One movie highlights the loan program named for the late Senator Claiborne Pell.

A documentary about Pell Grants will receive its world premiere in Providence as part of the week-long film festival.

The movie follows the battle Senator Claiborne Pell fought in Congress to pass the grant program in the seventies.

It was written and directed by Steven Feinberg, who’s also the executive director of the Rhode Island Film and Television Office.

A documentary about the fight to create Pell Grants will screen Wednesday evening as part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

The film is called "Pell Grants: A Passion for Education." It details the events in Washington leading up the the creation of the federal student loan program named for the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell.

As part of the screening at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in Providence, Pell’s widow Nuala Pell and his grandson Clay Pell will take part in a question and answer session.

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Salve Regina University on August 22 to honor Nuala Pell, widow of Sen. Claiborne Pell, and  to inaugurate a leadership program at the university to be named for Mrs. Pell.

Called the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in Public Service, the program will support leadership opportunities for Salve Regina students. The university and the Pell family have a long association; Salve Regina has a Pell center named for the late Sen. Pell and Mrs. Pell has been a college trustee.

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to attend a reception at Salve Regina University in Newport next month, according to the Associated Press.

The event at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy will recognize Nuala Pell, wife of the late Senator Claiborne Pell, for her work in philanthropy, education and public service.