joseph mcnamara

State Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Warwick), chairman of the state Democratic Party, joins Bonus Q+A to discuss education, former House speaker Gordon Fox, how Democratic dominance of the General Assembly has affected the state, and other issues.

For more McNamara, check our Political Roundtable session with him. 

Ian Donnis / RINPR

State Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Warwick), chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss new revelations about 38 Studios; an apparent slowdown in the path to a Providence ballpark; and the hiring of a new head for the I-195 Commission.

For more McNamara, check our Bonus Q&A interview with him.


New legislation aimed at increasing access to experimental medical treatments was introduced Wednesday at the Statehouse.  It could broaden access to drugs not yet approved by the FDA.

There is already a process for patients with terminal illness to try out drugs that are still in testing… But Democratic Representative Joseph McNamara wants to make it easier.   He said all the red tape doctors and patients have to cut through takes too long for people who are critically ill. 

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is recommending state Representative Joseph McNamara (D-Warwick) as the next chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.

McNamara was first elected in 1994 and chairs the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee, although he may be best known for championing a bill to make calamari the state's official appetizer. The legislation became law this year, after dying in the state Senate in 2013.

Calamari Becomes The Ocean State's Official Appetizer

Jun 28, 2014
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Calamari is now Rhode Island’s official state appetizer. At the signing ceremony, Governor Lincoln Chaffee said this bill is an important way to support Rhode Island’s fishing industry, despite the pushback he got for it.

Chafee said fishermen frequently told him, “We want our calamari bill!”

“And I said to myself, you know [despite] all the cynicism about, ‘Why  are you doing this with an appetizer when there are so many more important things to do?’ I went back to Rep. McNamara and Sen. Sosnowski and I said, ‘Let’s get that calamari bill. The fisherman want it!’”


The House and Senate passed scores of bills Wednesday as the General Assembly raced to finish its session. The measures moving forward include the repeal of the master lever.

A Rhode Island House committee aims to find out why a health care company failed to win a license to provide home pain management services in the state. Pentec withdrew its application, but the controversy continues.

Pentec is a company that provides specialty services for patients using complicated medical devices, such as pain pumps. These are devices that are implanted to help control pain that’s otherwise unmanageable. Pentec nurses can visit patients at home to refill their pain pumps. And some say that’s critical for patients who find it too painful to travel for a refill.

Dozens of bills have been introduced in the General Assembly this session that, if passed, could affect your health, your family's health, or the state's health care system.

A bill that would protect doctors from legal action if they tell their patients they’re sorry has been filed once again in the General Assembly. The bill faces an uphill battle.