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
11:43 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Brett Smiley Exploring A Run for Mayor of Providence

Fundraising specialist and lobbyist Brett Smiley is joining those looking at a run for mayor of Providence if Angel Taveras moves on next year.

"I am seriously exploring a race for mayor in 2014," Smiley tells RIPR. He says he has started meeting with people to talk about a possible run and plans to make a decision this summer about whether to move forward.

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RI News
7:08 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Superman Building Owner Pursues State Aid

Credit RIPR

The owner of the vacant Superman Building in downtown Providence wants to use $39 million in state money to convert it into for residential apartments.  It remains unclear whether the General Assembly is willing to support that kind of spending.

The Superman Building has been sitting empty ever since Bank of America left in early April. The property’s owner, High Rock Development of Massachusetts, wants to convert the art deco building into 278 rental apartments.

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Politics
6:42 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Clears Another Legislative Hurdle

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected Thursday to sign into law legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The House Judiciary Committee quickly approved the bills Tuesday.

Any uncertainty facing the same-sex bills was eliminated when the state Senate overwhelmingly approved them last week. In a largely procedural matter, House Judiciary followed up with an unanimous 13-to-zero vote. Education activist Maryellen Butke, who can recall how fellow gays and lesbians once faced overt hostility in Rhode Island, called the vote historic.

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On Politics
6:54 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Chafee Set to Sign Same-Sex Marriage Bills on Thursday

Judiciary chairwoman Edith Ajello instructs Kara Young to sit down during the committee meeting.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee, who emphasized same-sex marriage during his inaugural address on the south side of the Statehouse in 2011, is set to use the same location Thursday to sign same-sex marriage bills into law.

The signing ceremony is tentatively planned for 5:45 p.m. Thursday, after the House is expected to offer final passage of the legislation. Rhode Island will become the tenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the last in New England to do so.

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Same-Sex Marriage
1:01 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Rhode Island Public Radio Same-Sex Marriage Special

Rhode Island State House
Credit RIPR

In this hour long special, Rhode Island Public Radio's political reporter Ian Donnis and political analyst Scott MacKay sit down with local observers on both sides of the complex and hotly contested same-sex marriage debate in Rhode Island.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

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On Politics
9:45 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Speaker Fox Pours Cold Water on Superman Building Owner's Quest for 39M in State Help

HR&A Advisors of New York is out with its economic-impact report on the now-vacant Superman Building, which was prepared for Cornish Associates.

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Politics
7:15 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Rhode Island Republicans Eye Reed's Seat

The state Republican chairman says the GOP plans to field a candidate when Senator Jack Reed seeks re-election next year.  A fundraiser on Monday, featuring Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, helped pour even more money into Reed’s campaign war chest.

Reed is considered to have one of the safest seats in the US Senate, and he’s sitting on a war chest of about $2 million. Reed, a Democrat, plans to seek his fourth term next year.

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On Politics
4:54 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Smiley: RI GOP Intends to Field a Candidate Against Reed Next Year

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

State GOP chairman Mark Smiley says his party "absolutely" intends to run a candidate against US senator Jack Reed next year.

A few politically active Republicans privately say they consider a challenge against Reed -- or the other Democrats in Rhode Island's congressional delegation -- an utter waste of time. Resources would be better used, they say, in trying to build the 11-member GOP presence in the 113-member General Assembly.

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On Politics
12:36 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Women hold just 30 of 113 seats in the General Assembly

With the YWCA Rhode Island set to hold its fifth annual Women Holding Office celebration this evening at the Kirkbrae Country Club, it's a good time to revisit the under-representation of women in Rhode Island politics.

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On Politics
4:54 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Lorne Adrain considering possible mayoral run in Providence

Add Lorne Adrain, businessman, community activist and the former chair of the RI Board of Governors for Higher Education, to the list of those mulling a run for mayor of Providence if Angel Taveras seeks a different office in 2014.

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