Jack Reed

The Democratic primary election for governor is shaping up as a close contest between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

The early Channel 12/ProJo public opinion surveys conducted by veteran Rhode Island pollster Joe Fleming show this to be the case.  Now comes last night’s endorsement confab held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick by the R.I. Association of Democratic City and  Town Chairs, which failed to reach consensus on an endorsement for governor.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Jack Reed joined by Senators Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren outlined legislation Wednesday that curbs student loan debt.

The bill allows federal and private student loans to be refinanced at a lower rate with no refinancing fees. The interest on some loans can reach 14 percent. The bill lowers that to 3.86 percent. Reed said the bill is critical to the country’s future.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed D-R.I., made official this morning what everyone in Rhode Island’s political circuit  assumed: That he is a candidate for reelection to a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

Reed’s announcement came before a crowd of 1,000 of his supporters at the senator’s 25th annual May Breakfast at Rhodes-on-the- Pawtuxet in his home city of Cranston.

file / RIPR

General Dynamics has landed a $17.6 billion Navy contract to build submarines. The Virginia-class subs will be built at Electric Boat in Quonset Point. General Dynamics spokesman Bob Hamilton said this contract involves ten submarines, starting construction over the next five years at a rate of two per year.

Raymond McKay’s Republican U.S. Senate candidacy seems to depend on his legal battle with Warwick city officials over whether he should be allowed to keep his city job while he runs for office.

Local media outlets have much of McKay’s alleged ``right’’ to run for any office he chooses. Steve Brown of the R.I. Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Providence Journal that the Warwick city ordinance that bars classified municipal employees from running for office is ``overly broad’’ and too restrictive.

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.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.

For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.

Courtesy: Sen. Jack Reed's Office

Rhode Island’s senators are applauding a 67- 32 vote passing legislation that delays a spike in flood insurance premiums. Sen. Jack Reed said the Senate took a positive, bi-partisan step, while Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse called the measure a necessary step to balance solvency of the federal flood insurance program with rate shock.

Four Rhode Islanders are joining the congressional delegation for tonight’s State of the Union Address.

Rhode Island’s senior Sen. Jack Reed’s guest will be Anne Nolan, president of the non-profit homeless agency Crossroads RI. Sen.

Sheldon Whitehouse is bringing businessman Scott DePasquale, the CEO of Utilidata, a company that moved to Rhode Island from Washington state two years ago.

Over in the House, Congressman Jim Langevin’s guest is Davide Dukcevich of Daniele Foods, a Burrillville company specializing in gourmet Italian meats.

RIPR FILE

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.

RIPR FILE

Political and business leaders are meeting in a couple events Tuesday looking at how to rev up the state’s economy.

The first event is a roundtable centered on the national issues, such as patents, facing the state’s innovation industry, and how this industry can help boost Rhode Island’s struggling economy.

Both Senator Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse will attend the roundtable, along with Congressman David Cicilline.

Flo Jonic

Senator Jack Reed says he’s pleased a bill he co-sponsored to extend unemployment benefits for 90 days has moved forward in the Senate on a procedural vote. And he’d like to see it continue to move forward without having to negotiate how to pay for it. But Reed says he’s open on that point.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who has taken a leadership role in the democratic drive to renew long-term unemployment insurance benefits, has made a national call for Republicans to join the effort.

Reed was one of four Senate democrats who held a nationwide media conference call Sunday in an effort to break a congressional logjam over long-term unemployment insurance. The insurance expired last week when lawmakers failed to extend a recession-era law providing nearly a year of benefits after state jobless benefits run out.

RIPR FILE

Making ends meet is about to get harder for thousands of Rhode Island families who will lose their unemployment benefits Saturday.  Those taking the hit are the long-term unemployed.

Congressional failure to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will result in the loss of benefits to 1.3 million Americans starting tomorrow. In Rhode Island, six thousand long-term unemployed individuals will lose their weekly checks. In the first six months of 2014 another nine thousand will join their ranks.

The hours are dwindling to Christmas and the annual shopping frenzy is on. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says we should shop local to support the Rhode Island economy and details what Congress can do to help.

The twinkle of  seasonal  lights on new fallen snow are everywhere,  Christmas shopping is in full blush and youngsters are readying for the annual reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic `Twas the Night Before Christmas.’

Pages