Ken Block

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block sits down with host Elisabeth Harrison and Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott Mackay to discuss a variety of issues including public school, the floundering economy, and his switch from Moderate to Republican.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

On tap this week, Republican Ken Block’s plan to rescue the Rhode Island economy, and the outlook for the settlement aimed at ending the lawsuit over the state pension system.  Host Elisabeth Harrison sits in for Ian Donnis, and is joined by Rhode Island Public Radio’s political analyst Scott MacKay, and University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Maureen Moakley.

Ken Block, founded of the R.I. Moderate Party only to abandon it and become a Republican. Now he’s running for the Republican nomination for governor against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

From Block’s opening speech this week, it is evident that he is seeking to carve out an image as a social liberal and financial conservative. A software engineer and entrepreneur, Dartmouth graduate Block is busy staking out positions that appeal to small business owners, a natural constituency in GOP circles.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block announced his “Block Plan” to “fix Rhode Island,” should he be elected governor.

Block outlined a series of major tax reforms he would pursue, including reducing the corporate sales tax from 9 percent to 7 percent.  That would make it the lowest in New England.

He also called for eliminating a $500 minimum tax for new businesses. Block said the current tax policy makes Rhode Island an uninviting place for businesses and entrepreneurs.

A leading Rhode Island Republican is calling on GOP voters to keep an open mind about their two choices in this year’s primary.

By using his Facebook page, former gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille is urging GOP voters to focus on deciding whether Allan Fung or Ken Block has the best plan for moving Rhode Island forward. He says the candidates’ courage and personal authenticity are more important than internal politics within the state Republican Party.

John Robitaille, who came within fewer than three percentage points of winning the 2010 race for governor, took to Facebook Wednesday to urge Republican voters to keep an open mind on the Republican primary contest between Ken Block and Allan Fung.

Don Boorman / RIPR

Every serious candidate says Rhode Island’s poor economy is the top issue in this year’s governors’ race. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for Rhode Island to sort economic myth from reality.

Say hello to any of the five major candidates for governor and you’ll get a marathon run of rhetoric on the need to create jobs in our struggling state.  On the Republican side, Ken Block and Allan Fung have both talked about ushering in a better business climate, lowering taxes and looking for ways to save taxpayer money.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In the governor's race Republicans are responding to Democratic proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage.

It’s an issue that’s dividing candidates along party lines.

Providence Mayor and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras was the first to give specifics about a plan to hike the minimum wage.

He’s proposing a two-dollar ten cent increase over the next four years; from eight dollars to ten-dollars ten cents by 2018.

Fellow Democratic candidate for governor, and state treasurer Gina Raimondo wants to see the same increase, but by 2015.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee will unveil his last state budget during a State of the State address Wednesday at the Statehouse. As Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis reports, Chafee announced last year he wouldn’t seek re-election

Chafee will present his spending plan during a public address to the legislature, which typically makes significant changes to the budget before ending its session in June. During a recent interview, Chafee said his spending priorities remain unchanged.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo started fleshing out her vision for Rhode Island as she formally announced her campaign Monday morning.

Raimondo emphasized the economy, laying out ideas that include writing off some college loans to encourage grads to stay in Rhode Island, creating a funding formula for road and bridge improvements, and establishing an institute to foster growth-sector jobs.

In the astute words of C. Andrew Morse: "In terms of news density, the holidays are over and the new year has definitely arrived." So read on, and welcome back to my weekly column, dear readers. Your thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Let's head in.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block has filed a complaint, accusing the state agency that manages state-owned properties with multiple violations of the Open Meetings Act.  The candidate is also calling on the General Assembly to strengthen the law and enhance the penalties for violating it.


Governor Lincoln Chafee says he still hasn’t decided which candidate to support in this year’s gubernatorial race but he’s decided one thing.  Chafee, a Republican-turned independent-turned Democrat, said there’s no way he would endorse a Republican.

"I’m a democrat and I’m a very proud member of the democratic party now. It’s been an evolution, as you know. And I’m proud to become a democrat and stand up for the values of building the middle class and closing the disparity of wealth that exists in this country and that’s what I care about," said Chafee.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the possible fate in the General Assembly of the 2011 pension overhaul; continued fallout from the failure of 38 Studios; and the intensifying race for governor.

Your faithful correspondent is breaking from TGIF's usual format this week to gaze ahead into 2014. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.