Lincoln Chafee

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Rhode Island state government has asked a state Superior Court judge to open to the public records related to the state’s civil suit against several financial companies and law firms in the long-running case to recover damages from those involved in the ill-fated 38 Studios bond deal.


Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Lots of pots cooking, so we'll keep the formalities short. Your tips and comments are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me 24/7 on the twitters. Here we go.

The last budget crafted by former Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s administration and the General Assembly seems to be holding up fairly well, according to the latest revenue assessment by the Rhode Island  Department of Revenue.

The official state bean-counters say that adjusted total general revenues are up about $61 million more than expected in the current budget year, which ends on June 30. This is good news for a state that has been slowly emerging from the recession.

The 2.6 percent increase in revenues is fueled by increases in the personal income tax and the corporate tax.

Hillary Clinton, the most favored non-incumbent presidential candidate in memory, enters the 2016 Democratic presidential sweepstakes tomorrow in what will be the real beginning of the presidential cycle.

She has become a prohibitive favorite and cleared the Democratic field simply by saying she was seriously considering a race for the nomination she has coveted since 2008, when she was a huge front-runner but ultimately stumbled by treating the run for the nomination more like a coronation than a campaign.

Expect the unexpected in Rhode Island politics, right? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome (idonnis at ripr dot org), and feel free to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender / RIPR

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss Lincoln Chafee's possible presidential run; the proposed settlement of the state pension conflict; and what's ahead for public education.

Cade Tompkins Projects

Lincoln Chafee’s announcement that he is seriously considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential  nomination brings to mind sports broadcaster Al Michaels’ famous call from the USA hockey team’s upset victory over the USSR in the 1980 winter Olympics: Do you Believe in Miracles?

That’s pretty much what is would take for Chafee to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced that he is considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president.

The 62-year old former U.S. Senator and governor said in an interview that he wants to give Democratic voters a choice for president. ``The Republicans have lots of choices, I feel that Democratic voters deserve choices too.’’

Chafee said the launch of his exploratory committee will be made via videos posted on his website,

  The state Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case involving police reports from a party hosted by the son of former governor Lincoln Chafee. The case is considered an important test of government transparency.


Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.

It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared  the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.

Oh,  the delicious ironies of Rhode Island politics: Gov. Gina Raimondo posed with a flock of mayors and local officials this afternoon to tout her new executive order that is meant to help Rhode Island cities and towns save money.

As part of her executive order, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, the former Cumberland mayor, will lead an effort to talk to municipal leaders and get their ideas for saving taxpayer dollars, according to RIPR’s report by our political reporter, the intrepid Ian Donnis.

John Bender / RIPR

The state unveiled the official portrait of former Governor Lincoln Chafee Thursday.  The austere painting is unlike many of the previous portraits.

Take a walk through the statehouse and you’ll see dozens of portraits of Rhode Island governors standing in front of desks, holding books, sitting in regal looking chairs. 

Not Lincoln Chafee. 

John Bender / RIPR

The state Senate has started scheduling confirmation hearings for four of the nomination made by Governor Gina Raimondo for her administration. The first four hearings center on holdovers from Lincoln Chafee’s time in office.


The confirmation process for Governor Raimondo’s nominees is slated to start next Tuesday. That’s when separate Senate committees will take up the nominations of Charles Fogarty as head of the Division of Elderly Affairs, and of State Police Colonel Steven O’Donnell to remain director of the Department of Public Safety.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Warwick has become a Rhode Island economic success story. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses what the rest of us can learn from the state’s second-largest city.

One afternoon about 15 years ago, Lincoln Chafee and Scott Avedisian hiked up to the top of the parking garage at Green State Airport. As jets lifted off,  they looked at the huge swatches of undeveloped land nearby. Both quickly came to the same conclusion.

Continuing the themes of her gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Gina Raimondo took office as Rhode Island’s first female governor this afternoon with a pledge to work diligently to improve the state’s struggling economy.

Raimondo, 43, a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard University graduate, projected optimism and a can-do attitude as she delivered her inaugural address under snow flurries and a January chill on the south steps of the State House.