Scott MacKay commentary


There was a sad note at the Rhode Island State House this afternoon as the 2015 General Assembly opened  the legislative session: Conspicuously missing from the press tables at the head of the chambers was veteran Statehouse political reporter and columnist Jim Baron, who died yesterday. He was 57.

Unless you were living in the abandoned East Side tunnel during the Providence mayoral campaign, you listened to round after round of desultory electioneering rhetoric about high crime in the city.

One of the delicious ironies of the mayoral tilt was Buddy Cianci, who knows his way around a prison cell, fueling fears about crime on the campaign circuit and in Tee Vee spots, going after Jorge Elorza for a teen-aged shoplifting incident.


Tis the season to be Jolly. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that not everyone enjoys the holidays.

For most Rhode Islanders, this is a sacred time of the year. As we gather together with friends, family and food, most of us will be giving thanks and turning our thoughts to those New Year’s resolutions.

Yet, before the first strain of Auld Lang Syne is sung on New Year’s Eve, we all need to take a  moment or two to remember that not all of us are surrounded by family, opening gifts, dipping into the eggnog and tossing another log on the fire.

CVS Health

What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and  economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.

First Student Company

It sometimes seems as if all of our contemporary debates over education revolve around high-stakes testing. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our schools are neglecting an important topic that isn’t tested.

Trying to figure out what’s happening in education nowadays is an exercise in futility. You have to learn a new language suffused with psycho babble and techno-speak:  educators use terms  like rubrics, social-emotional learning and  site-based management..


Rhode Island’s Democratic General Assembly leaders want to exempt pensions and social security from state income taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this makes sense in our cash-strapped state government.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, have both said that one of their top priorities when the Assembly convenes in January is legislation that would end income taxes on pensions and social security.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Conservatives love to say that liberalism and political correctness have led to a `War on Christmas’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the war is actually against Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t been stuffed yet but the frenzy of Christmas shopping has begun with the annual blizzard of tinsel and glitz. Stroll into your local CVS and you are greeted by shelves festooned with overstuffed Santa Claus figures.

Aaron Read puzzles over the new NPR clocks
Dave Fallon RIPR

Starting on Monday Nov.17th, the clocks for Morning Edition, All Things Considered (both weekdays and weekends) and Weekend Edition  will be changing.  

Today's Engineer's Corner is co-authored with our Operations & Production Manager, James Baumgartner.  He and I are the ones directly responsible for organizing all the clock changes' impact on Rhode Island Public Radio, and we've put together this synopsis of what the changes mean for our listeners.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.


When Rhode Islanders head to polls next week, they will face an important issue that a recent poll shows most Rhode Islanders don’t either know about or understand. To shed some light on the issue, Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay takes a look at the Constitutional Convention.

Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard every Monday morning at 6:35 and 8:35 on Morning Edition and again during All Things Considered. You can also follow him at the “On Politics” blog.


The major candidates for Rhode Island governor have spent much of their campaigns focused on the economy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what they aren’t telling voters.

All of the Rhode Island political campaigns this year are talking about our state’s sluggish economy. In the governor’s contest between Republican Allan Fung, the Cranston mayor, and Democrat Gina Raimondo, the state treasurer, jobs and the economy often seem to be the only topic.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island has been a laggard in electing women to high office. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  on why that may change on November 4.

By most measures, Rhode Island is one of America’s most liberal and deepest blue of the 50 states. Our Washington, D.C. delegation is all-Democratic and no Republican holds any statewide or federal elected office.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Providence mayoral campaign, aka the Buddy Cianci redemption effort, is drawing national media attention. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay talks about the paths to victory for independent Cianci and Democrat Jorge Elorza.

Cianci, Elorza and Republican Dan Harrop faced off in their first campaign debate last week at Laurelmead, an East Side elderly housing complex. There was more heat than light as Elorza, a former city Housing Court judge, and Harrop, a psychiatrist, attacked Cianci’s record as one of New England’s infamously corrupt politicians.


Final musings Sunday a.m. before church and the Patriots opener.  Pats provide welcome respite to politics as the hours dwindle until Tuesday.

The biggest question in the Democratic gubernatorial primary is whether Clay Pell is incurring some last-minute cuts. His debate performances in the final week were underwhelming. And the revelation that he was a registered Republican when he lived in Arizona isn’t going to help him. Neither will the news that his skating queen wife, Michelle Kwan, was also registered with the GOP when she lived in California.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The televised air wars have started in the Democratic primary for governor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if voters are paying attention yet.

As the weeks dwindle towards the September primary, the advertising rhetoric among the major Democratic candidates has heated up. This is especially true of the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.