Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has repeatedly named him as one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. In addition to other tasks, Ian tweets frequently 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, and remains an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment. Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the Associated Press, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

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On Politics
12:40 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Chafee to Seek Re-election as a Democrat

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee plans to visit Warwick City Hall Thursday morning to change his party affiliation from unaffiliated to Democrat and to make a brief statement.

Chafee plans to make the switch at 10:30 am Thursday, according to spokesman Christian Vareika (who emphasized he was speaking on personal time, on a personal phone).

Vareika denied that Chafee's move is an opportunistic one in advance of a tough re-election fight:

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On Politics
3:50 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Chafee Administration Analyzing Cost of Not Paying Back 38 Studios' Investors

The Chafee administration is conducting a financial analysis on the cost of not paying back the moral obligation bonds that funded a $75 million loan guaranty for failed video game maker 38 Studios, the governor's spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger says the governor remains a strong believer that paying back the investors who bought the bonds is the right thing to do.

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38 Studios
3:41 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Gov. Chafee's Office Analyzing Cost of Defaulting on 38 Studios Loan

Protestors rally in downtown Providence against paying back a $75 million guaranteed loan to 38 Studios.
Credit Don Borman / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s administration is doing a financial analysis on the cost of not paying back investors who underwrote the state’s loan guarantee for failed video game maker 38 Studios.

The governor has said it’s important for the state’s reputation to pay back the 38 Studios loan. Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, said several state agencies and department heads are conducting an analysis on the cost of not paying back those bondholders.

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Politics
4:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

For Third Year, Advocates Press Their Case Against Payday Lending

Margaux Morisseau says she's seen how payday loans trap vulnerable people in a cycle of debt.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Margaux Morisseau became a leader in the fight against payday lending after seeing its impact in the Constitution Hill neighborhood of Woonsocket. She works there as a community advocate for a nonprofit agency. This blue-collar neighborhood was once full of boarded up homes, and it has seen a comeback in recent years. But a payday lending shop moved in about three years ago and Morisseau says things have taken a turn for the worse.

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On Politics
4:08 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

TGIF: 8 Things to Know About RI Politics + Media

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column, truncated this time before the ceremonial start of summer. Let's get to it.

1. The 2013 legislative season will be remembered as the Year Rhode Island Legalized Same-Sex Marriage. How much more of substance gets done as the weeks tick down is an open question, particularly with lower than expected revenue estimates casting a pall over the budget. 

2. Steve Laffey, the voters of Colorado barely knew ye.

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On Politics
4:00 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Political Roundtable: RI GOP Chairman Mark Smiley on Gist + 2014

Credit Ian / RIPR

RI GOP chairman joins the Roundtable this week (along with guest panelist Tim White of WPRI-TV, Channel 12) to discuss the debate over state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist; Moderate Party founder Ken Block's entry in the 2014 gubernatorial race, what's next for Rhode Island Republicans, and more.

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Politics
4:00 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Bonus Q+A: Smiley on the Next Steps for RI Republicans

RI GOP chairman Mark Smiley joins us on Bonus Q+A to discuss building GOP ranks in the General Assembly, attempts to rebuild Republicans' presence in New England, and other issues.

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On Politics
4:31 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Young Volunteers Could Loom Large in the Expected Taveras-Raimondo Primary in 2014

The sophisticated grassroots campaign in support of same-sex marriage offers a tangible reminder of the value of field work makes in Rhode Island politics. So as we move closer to an expected Democratic gubernatorial clash between Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo next year, keep an eye on their level of outreach to young political activists.

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RI News
12:43 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

RI Supreme Court Upholds Pona Murder Conviction

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man charged in the slaying of a 15-year-old murder witness in 2000.

Charles Pona was charged with arranging the death of witness Jennifer Rivera. Rivera was approached by a gunman as she was skipping rope in front of her house on Providence’s South Side. She was killed to prevent her from testifying against Pona in a murder case.

In rejecting Pona’s appeal of his conviction, the Supreme Court said he’s had his day in court after two trials and two appeals and that the rule of law has prevailed.

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On Politics
12:33 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Hassett Throws Support in Secretary of State Race to Pacheco

Longtime Providence City Councilor Terry Hassett, who had been eyeing a bid for secretary of state in 2014, has decided to seek re-election instead while tossing his support to former state Democratic chairman Edwin Pacheco.

Via news release:

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