Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has called him one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. Besides reporting, Ian tweets at @IanDon, hosts RIPR’s weekly Political Roundtable, and contributes to the station’s On Politics blog.

He was for many years a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, is an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment, and has been a political debate panelist for each of Rhode Island's three commercial television stations.

Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the AP, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

Ways to Connect

Moody’s Investors Service says the $8.1 billion budget signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee on June 15 “is credit positive for Central Falls and schools, but leaves Woonsocket and pensions unaddressed.”

Moody’s points to “a material increase in funding for schools” — $34 million, or almost 4 percent, “marking the third consecutive annual increase in school funding. State funding for education now stands at over $900 million, well above pre-recession peak.”

Lawyer Max Wistow, a partner in the Providence firm of Wistow & Barylick, was hired by the state today to try to reduce the roughly $100 million liability faced by taxpayers due to the meltdown of 38 Studios.

After being introduced by Governor Chafee during a Statehouse news conference, Wistow said he couldn’t offer specifics on his approach since he’d just started on the job as a special counsel for the state Economic Development Corporation.

State Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher Koller plans to camp somewhere in the vicinity of the US Supreme Court when the court is expected to issue its highly anticipated decision Thursday morning on the Affordable Care Act.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has offered the following statement in response to lawsuits filed today challenging the state’s pension overhaul:

A series of union lawsuits filed today in Superior Court — aimed at stopping the sweeping state pension overhaul enacted last year — shouldn’t come as a surprise, says Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island. He says opponents made their stance clear before the overhaul was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Tony Simon, deputy state director for US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, is leaving that position to run the freshman senator’s re-election campaign, RIPR has learned.

The worst-kept secret in state government came to an end this morning when Governor Chafee introduced Christine Ferguson as the director of the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange. Ferguson has a long history in health policy, and she says the exchange offers the promise of cutting healthcare costs:

Although state treasurer Gina Raimondo has criticized payday loans as a “predatory product,” two of her political associates have links with a check-cashing business that has offered payday loans.

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist once famously talked about shrinking the federal government “to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Providence native Joe Nocera uses his New York Times’ op-ed column today to argue that state Representative Jon Brien is wielding a similar cudgel to cut spending in Woonsocket:

The Rhode Island GOP yesterday held its second in a series of recent news conference to introduce a batch of legislative candidates. The latest bunch was enthusiastic and their let’s-rock-the-status-quo messaging is potentially appealing in a state suffering from persistently high unemployment.

Longtime former Providence city councilor John Lombardi is set to make formal on Thursday his run for the House seat held by state Representative Michael Tarro (Libby Kimzey is also in the running):

Governor Lincoln Chafee has issued the following statement in response to the indication by federal prosecutors today that they intend to use the death penalty against Jayson Pleau:

Woonsocket City Council President John Ward invokes the example set by Providence in describing how the city might wipe out its deficit if negotiations with unions don’t get the job done.

John Igliozzi announced during a meeting this evening of the Providence City Council’s Finance Committee that he’ll be stepping down as FinCom chairman, effective July 1.

US Senator Scott Brown, who is casting himself as a centrist as he seeks re-election, is the headline for a July 2 fundraiser for GOP congressional candidate Brendan Doherty in East Providence:

Music will be provided by the Reggie Centracchio Quintet during the time at Metacomet Country Club.

Contribution levels range from $100 for “friend,” to $2500 for members of the “Colonel’s Club.”