Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island’s tiny Republican Party has struggled for years to increase its presence in the General Assembly. Back in 1983, the GOP made its biggest gains in recent history by highlighting a Democratic boondoggle that cost taxpayers more than a million dollars. The man who engineered that Republican strategy, former state party chairman John Holmes, spent part of his childhood in Bristol. He returned to the town with his wife Kathy when they fell in love with a historic home near the center of town. Bristol is the focus on our series this week, One Square Mile.

RI's Congressional Delegation Slams Shutdown

Sep 30, 2013

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is roundly criticizing House Republicans  over the budget impasse. Over the weekend Republican lawmakers agreed to continue funding the government beyond midnight Monday provided there’s a one year delay in the implementation of Obamacare; a proposal that’s dead on arrival in the Senate and the White House.

Congressman David Cicilline calls the House Republican caucus strategy the “height of irresponsibility” and he has harsh words for House Speaker John Boehner.

Reed Warns Against Government Shutdown

Sep 27, 2013

Senator Jack Reed took to the Senate floor Thursday to make an impassioned speech against shutting down the government. That’s a strategy backed by  House Republicans as a way of defunding Obamacare.  Rhode Island’s senior senator called a potential shutdown “unfortunate and inappropriate.”

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Senator Dawson Hodgson (R-North Kingstown) joins the Political Roundtable to discuss an ethics complaint against House Speaker Gordon Fox; Hodgson's interest in running for attorney general in 2014; debate about federal cuts in food programs; and the latest on Deepwater Wind.

There's a big gender gap for Republican women in the General Assembly; of 113 legislative seats, there are only two GOP female lawmakers: Patricia Morgan and Doreen Costa. By comparison, there are 28 female Democrats between the House and Senate.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has tapped a host of prominent Republicans -- including former governors Don Carcieri and Lincoln Almond, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, and Lincoln Town Administrator Joseph Almond -- as part of an exploratory committee for his anticipated GOP gubernatorial run.

Via news release, Fung said Rhode Islanders are hungry for leadership, "someone who has both the private and public sector experience necessary to get Rhode Islanders back to work and get this state back on track.”


Governor Lincoln Chafee’s departure from next year’s Rhode Island governor’s campaign has scrambled the field. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes on the new generation of leaders likely to vie for the Statehouse.

Whatever you think of his governorship or his policies, Chafee’s decision to drop out of the race passes the torch to a new generation of Rhode Island politicians. Unless you live in a yurt or have totally abandoned following state government, you’ve probably heard of Angel  Taveras, Gina Raimondo or Allan Fung.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With Congress on its August recess, Rhode Island Pubic Radio invited the four members of the Rhode Island delegation in to our studio to talk about major issues facing the state and the nation. We continue our series today with Congressman David Cicilline. (This interview was taped before President Obama asked Congress to authorize a strike against Syria.)

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With Congress on its August recess, Rhode Island Pubic Radio invited the four members of the Rhode Island delegation in to our studio to talk about major issues facing the state and the nation. We start our series with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

Daniel Harrop joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his Republican campaign for mayor of Providence; the challenges facing the Rhode Island GOP; economic development in Rhode Island's capital city; and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Daniel Harrop, a Republican candidate for mayor of Providence in 2014, joins the Roundtable this week as we discuss a ruling in the 38 Studios lawsuit; Harrop's campaign for City Hall; the organization of child care workers; and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.


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.

State Republican chairman Mark Smiley issued a news release Monday, taking to task Rhode Island's Democratic legislative leaders for the moribund condition of the local economy. Smiley's message -- if we can borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run -- is: It's (still) the economy, stupid.

John O.  Pastore was a legendary Rhode Island political figure, the son of immigrants and the first Italian-American elected as a governor and a U.S. Senator. A dominant figure in state politics, Pastore had a distinguished 26-year tenure  in the Senate and never lost an election in a long career that began in the doldrums of the Great Depression in the General Assembly and ended with his decision in 1976 to retire rather than run again for a seat he would have easily kept.