Ian Donnis / RIPR

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss 2014; the health of the state pension plan; her views on boosting Rhode Island's economy; and whether adding table games is the best way for the state to protect one of its largest revenue sources.


Governor Lincoln Chafee’s departure from next year’s Rhode Island governor’s campaign has scrambled the field. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes on the new generation of leaders likely to vie for the Statehouse.

Whatever you think of his governorship or his policies, Chafee’s decision to drop out of the race passes the torch to a new generation of Rhode Island politicians. Unless you live in a yurt or have totally abandoned following state government, you’ve probably heard of Angel  Taveras, Gina Raimondo or Allan Fung.


The head of the Providence City Council says there aren’t any easy answers for cutting high commercial taxes in the capital city. Providence has among the highest commercial tax rates in the country.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has frozen the commercial tax rate in Rhode Island’s largest city. But the cost of the tax is still seen as an obstacle to new development.

City Council President Michael Solomon says city officials are limited in their ability to improve the situation beyond trying to encourage a broader tax base.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

As part of a week-long series of conversations with Rhode Island's congressional delegation. Senator Jack Reed stopped by to discuss Syria and the outlook for stability in the Middle East; Wall Street reform; upcoming spending battles in Washington; and more.


The head of the state Republican Party is blaming legislative Democrats for failing to improve Rhode Island’s economy. The state’s unemployment rate climbed by a tenth of percent in July, to 8.9 percent.

State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders are wrong to brag about their efforts when the unemployment rate is going in the wrong direction.

The debate over Obamacare rages from Providence to Pasadena. As the state moves closer to launching its health insurance exchange, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the arguments and traces the law’s Rhode Island roots.

Ask Rhode Island Republican State Chairman Mark Smiley what he thinks of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and you’ll get a blunt answer:  He says, ``I hate it.’’

Smiley’s position is simple and wedded to his party’s national stance: Repeal the entire law and start over. ``Socialism,’’ he says, ``doesn’t work.’’

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo raised just under $400,000 in the quarter that ended June 30, pushing her campaign cash arsenal past the staggering sum of $2 million.

Meanwhile, attracting a stronger fundraising base seemed to be part of the rationale when Governor Lincoln Chafee switched from an independent to a Democrat in May. Yet Chafee raised a modest $69,765 for the quarter, according to a report filed with the state Board of Elections.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has proven herself a superstar at raising campaign cash. Yet as independent-turned-Democrat Governor Lincoln Chafee faces what looks like a difficult primary next year, his ability to contribute mightily to his own campaign is a definite asset.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Fix says VP Joe Biden has a message in tune with Democrats' needs as they face a tough mid-term fight in 2014:

Speaking at a fundraiser in D.C. for Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey’s special Senate election campaign, the vice president launched into a lengthy broadside against the current state of the Republican Party.

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, joins Bonus Q+A for a discussion of pensions, President Obama, public education, and the Democratic field in next year's race for governor.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

One of Rhode Island's most prominent Democratic union leaders, Robert A. Walsh Jr., says he now regrets backing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008:

"I was an early and vocal supporter of President Obama's first bid for [presidential] office, and in hindsight, I probably should have been an early and vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton. So for all my friends who have chastised me for that, this is an admission that I was wrong on that case -- on the experience issue."

While Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat might be utterly unsurprising to some, the governor's move nonetheless scrambled the landscape for what already looked like a riveting election fight next year. That's why Chafee leads my weekly column. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (and) org  and to follow me on Twitter. Let's go:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee, who rose to public attention as the son of an iconic moderate Republican and left the GOP amid the rightward movement of George W. Bush's presidency, on Thursday became a Democrat.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with host Elisabeth Harrison to discuss Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to join the Democratic party.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee plans to visit Warwick City Hall Thursday morning to change his party affiliation from unaffiliated to Democrat and to make a brief statement.

Chafee plans to make the switch at 10:30 am Thursday, according to spokesman Christian Vareika (who emphasized he was speaking on personal time, on a personal phone).

Vareika denied that Chafee's move is an opportunistic one in advance of a tough re-election fight: