As the media burst with news that Gov. Lincoln Chafee was not seeking re-election, the state’s top elected officials crafted statements praising the governor.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state treasurer Gina Raimondo, who are both expected to run for Chafee’s office, released statements thanking him for his years of public service. Taveras called him a man of integrity, while Raimondo called Chafee an unfailing optimist who always had the state’s best interest at heart.
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.
Rhode Island voters can expect to decide next year whether to organize a constitutional convention. Voters are supposed to be asked that question once every 10 years.
The question of whether to stage a constitutional convention can be put on the ballot by either the General Assembly or the secretary of state. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis said if the legislature doesn’t pose the question for voters, he’ll put it on the ballot next year.
As same-sex marriage becomes legal in Rhode Island Thursday, state Representative Frank Ferri and his longtime partner are among those planning to mark the day by tying the knot. It took almost 20 years to legalize same-sex marriage in the Ocean State.
Ferri and his partner, Tony Caparco, plan to marry in Warwick this evening with about 300 friends and family members on hand. House Speaker Gordon Fox will perform the ceremony. Ferri, a Warwick Democrat, says the newfound ability of gays and lesbians to marry in Rhode Island will lend special meaning to the nuptials.
Thanks to a cost of living adjustment mandated by the state Constitution, 111 state lawmakers are entitled to get a $307 boost in their annual pay, bringing the yearly amount to $14,947. The pay hike is doubled for House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who get twice the salary of other lawmakers.
Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Block has hired a veteran of Rhode Island politics to manage his run for governor next year.
Block has hired Jeff Britt to run his latest campaign for governor. Last year, Britt managed a spirited run by an independent challenger to House Speaker Gordon Fox. Block said he thinks Britt has the ability to make a big difference in his campaign.
Rhode Island politicians are increasingly looking to non-profit institutions to finance local government. The latest tug-of-war between town and gown is in Smithfield, where the town thinks Bryant University is not paying its fair share. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says its time for cooperation, not confrontation.
Seldom does a politician have a chance to not only change history but the trajectory of his own life. That was the case this year with Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, who spearheaded the same sex marriage bill that passed the General Assembly after years of defeat. Fox, an openly gay politician, discussed how the law will affect his own life in an interview with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic and Scott MacKay.
Same sex marriage. Tolling the Sakonnet River Bridge. The 38 Studios taxpayer bailout. Those are some of the topics we touch on this morning. Our regular host, Ian Donnis, is out, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic is filling it.