scott mackay

Erin Donovan-Boyle has been appointed the executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

Donovan-Boyle, who is currently outreach director for U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, has had a stellar career in Rhode Island public affairs and political circles. A former vice-president of the Mayforth Group, Donovan-Boyle has also served as executive director of Ocean State Tall Ships and as campaign manager for former Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.

Doyle will take over at the chamber on June 15, succeeding executive director Jody J. Sullivan, who is retiring.

Scott Mackay RIC commencement 2015
Rhode Island College

RI Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay delivered the commencement speech at Rhode Island College Saturday, May 16th. He was granted an honorary doctorate of journalism. 

Good Morning. Most of you are from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so you get what I mean: That by virtue of your degrees today, you are all officially "wicket smaht."


Rhode Island’s two U.S. Senators, Democrats Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, were both on the winning side as President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats derailed one of the president’s top priorities, voting to hold up so-called fast track trade authority unless other provisions designed to protect American jobs are included in the legislation.

So Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza wants to build a trolley system. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says this is a great idea, but can the city afford it?

Sure, it would  be wonderful to jump on a Providence  trolley system and ride from Brown University, down historic College Hill, to Rhode Island Hospital..

One can even imagine taking the trolley to a spanking new retro baseball stadium along the Providence River to watch the Boston Red Sox top minor league team.

David Axelrod’s fine and quite well-written new political memoir entitled `Believer: My Forty Years In Politics’ has some interesting insights on Patrick Kennedy’s early career, in which Axelrod had a role.

In 1994, Axelrod, who would later become Barack Obama’s political consigliere, was the media consultant for Kennedy’s first campaign for Congress in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District. Kennedy, just 26, had served five years in the RI House of Representatives as a rep from Providence’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood.

Providence’s rich baseball history is on display at City Hall in a new exhibit to be formally unveiled tomorrow (May 7) at City Hall.

The exhibit, which features memorabilia, baseball cards and photographs of the city’s long and florid baseball history, is located on the third floor of City Hall.

A reception introducing the exhibit will be held at 6  p.m. tomorrow on the third floor at City Hall. It will be hosted by City Council President Luis Aponte, a Ward 10 Democrat, and City Archivist Paul Campbell, a noted Rhode Island historian.

Rhode Island motorists will see a small increase of one-cent in the gasoline tax on July 1, 2015 to account for inflation, according to the state Department of Revenue.

This tax, known commonly as the state "gas tax" will increase from 32 to 33 cents per gallon, based on calculations from the state Division of Taxation. This adjustment is required under state law.

The Red Bandana Fund, which honors the legacy of social activist and journalist Richard Walton, has chosen to bestow the annual Red Bandana awards to Providence College Professor Eric Hirsch and workers at the Renaissance Hotel in Providence.

Hirsch, a sociology prosessor, is that rare academic who translates his research into action. A tireless advocate for the poor and homeless, Hirsch has worked with the RI Coalition for the Homeless, in the classroom and at the Rhode Island Statehouse, helping the less fortunate in our community.

Wikimedia Commons

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.


Federal Wildlife Service

A push to legalize marijuana – once again – has returned to the Statehouse.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses what has become a perennial issue.

Except for speeding on Rhode Island’s roads, is there a law more frequently scoffed at by citizens than the ban on recreational use of marijuana?
As the General Assembly again tackles the prickly issue of legalizing marijuana, it is well beyond the time for rigorous study of a policy that too often devolves into cliché and anecdotal opinion.

Love, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and star in the Academy-Award winning documentary, 20 feet from stardom, will deliver the commencement address at Providence College’s 79th graduation exercises on Sunday, May 17. The event will be held  at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Love’s musical career began at age 10, when she sang in a gospel choir at a church where her father was a preacher. She has credited her gospel beginnings as having a big influence on her carer. In the 1950s, Love joined a group called the Blossoms and quickly became the lead singer.

Bernard Sanders, Vermont’s independent, left-leaning U.S. Senator,  is preparing to launch a longshot campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign on Thursday, according to sources close to the senator.

A Sanders entry would provide Democratic primary voters with a liberal alternative to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, who once served with Sanders in the Senate. Bernie Sanders, as he is universally known, is widely popular in Vermont, a state he has represented in the U.S. House and Senate since his first election to the House in 1990.

The old Rhode Island cliché is that only the best families in our state can trace their lineage all the way back to a slave trader or rum-runner. One of those families, the DeWolfs of Bristol, have dug deep into their family’s dark past as the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history.


So Twin River’s parent company wants to build a new casino in Tiverton.   The idea is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it  has to be done.

There are many Rhode Islanders who don’t believe that state government should be in the business of promoting gambling. Those critics point out the lottery games and slot-machine emporiums that speckle New England like daffodils these days are little more than cheap taxes on the poor.

RIPR file photo

  The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is honoring RI Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, with the organization’s Susan L. Farmer Award.

The award will honor Paiva Weed for her leadership role as the first female Senate president and for her support for the state’s Temporary Caregivers Insurance program, which was a top priority of the Women’s Fund of RI.

Paiva Weed became the first women to hold the post of Senate president in 2009. She is a lawyer and Providence College graduate.