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

North Kingston State Representative Doreen Costa sits down with Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis, and RIPR political commentator Scott MacKay for this Bonus Q+A.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Rep. Doreen Costa (R-North Kingstown) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss efforts to reduce gun violence; the high-stakes pursuit of General Electric; and the outlook on Governor Gina Raimondo's truck toll plan.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The key sponsor of the bill later used to attract 38 Studios to Rhode Island returned to the Statehouse from his current out-of-state job Thursday evening, distancing himself from responsibility in an hours-long meeting that was rich in theatrics yet thin on fresh details.

Former House Finance Committee chairman Steven Costantino said he set the $125 million size of the job creation guarantee program passed in 2010, and then applied to 38 Studios, with the idea of helping a number of businesses.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RINPR

Boston landed the big prize with the relocation from Connecticut of General Electric, but Governor Gina Raimondo said Wednesday the state is continuing talks with GE about the possibility of bringing other jobs to the Ocean State.

In her first public comments on Rhode Island's pursuit of GE, Raimondo said in a statement, “We worked diligently to recruit GE’s headquarters to Rhode Island -- and we'll remain relentless in our efforts to bring jobs to the state."

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo plans to attend the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next week as part of her effort to promote Rhode Island while attempting to attract new jobs.

"The governor will participate in a range of policy discussions and meetings with several leading domestic and international business executives to promote Rhode Island as a place fostering innovation and economic opportunity," spokeswoman Marie Aberger said in a statement Wednesday. "The governor will be traveling from January 20-23."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Richard Culatta started on the job this week as Rhode Island's first chief innovation officer. The job represents a homecoming for the 37-year-old South Kingstown native after he most recently worked in senior jobs in the US Department of Education.

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday found that Rhode Island’s revolving door law does not apply to former state Rep. Tim Williamson, a part-time lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee, and his candidacy for a vacant District Court judicial post.

Commission spokesman Jason Gramitt says Williamson’s House Judiciary Committee job is not among the government roles covered by the revolving door law.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A study commissioned by the Rhode Island Trucking Association disputes the findings of the state economic study used to build support for Governor Gina Raimondo's truck toll plan.

The study by the international firm IHS asserts that Raimondo's RhodeWorks plan will generate only $24 million to $37.5 million a year in toll revenue, not the $60 million identified in REMI's state-commissioned study.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A common concern for opponents of Governor Raimondo's truck toll plan is the fear that the tolls could be extended in the future from trucks to cars. Raimondo and legislative leaders say that's unlikely to happen.

Raimondo's office said the governor's original toll plan included a ban on tolling cars. That plan was passed by the state Senate last June, but the measure died after not being taken up in the House.

The General Assembly is back, and the political year kicks into gear. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR

Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the Raimondo administration's attempt to cut Medicaid spending and improve the troubled state Department of Children, Youth and Familes, as well as the outlook on the governor's truck-toll plan.

Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, joins Bonus Q&A to discuss efforts to improve agencies under her watch; the growing cost of the UHIP IT project, and other issues.

Jeff Britt, one of Rhode Island's best-known Republican operatives, is pointing to what he calls anti-Muslim statements by Donald Trump and other politicians as the explanation for why on Thursday he formally left the GOP.

Britt said he has been a registered Republican since around the time when he was in college in the late 1980s. He disaffiliated from the party Thursday morning at Warwick City Hall.

Republican John Pagliarini -- the winner of Tuesday's special election in state Senate District 11 -- and Democratic rival Jim Seveney say opposition to Governor Gina Raimondo's truck-toll proposal was a significant factor in the race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

As expected, Governor Raimondo's controversial truck toll proposal quickly emerged as a hot topic on the first day of the 2016 General Assembly session. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he expects a revised version of the governor's plan to emerge in a week or two, although it might take longer, and that he anticipates passage early in the session. 

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