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
2:30 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

State's Largest Public-Employee Union Hires Critic of Raimondo

AFSCME's Council 94, the largest union of state public employees, has hired pension expert Edward "Ted" Siedle, whose Forbes.com piece in April sparked debate about state Treasurer Gina Raimondo's heightened allocation of hedge funds in the $7 billion state pension fund.

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On Politics
1:42 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Number of Downtown Providence Businesses is Growing, says Foundation

The unresolved future of the Superman Building remains the big headache of downtown Providence. But boosters say the number of downtown businesses in the capital city is on the rise.

According to a news release from the Providence Downtown Improvement District:

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Politics
8:35 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Rhode Island Republicans Demand Default

The Rhode Island Republican Party said the state should default on the roughly 100 million dollars it owes due to the failure of video game maker 38 Studios.  The GOP notes how the state isn’t legally required to pay back so-called moral obligation bonds.

State Republican Chairman Mark Smiley said the people who purchased the bonds bought an insurance policy as part of their investment. Smiley said the potential return on investment was higher because of the risky nature of the bonds. He also said taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for a decision they didn’t make.

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Politics
8:21 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Future of the EDC Remains Unclear as Economic Bills Pass in the House

House Finance chairman Helio Melo speaks in support of the House's economic development package.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

By overwhelming margins, the Rhode Island House of Representatives Tuesday passed a half-dozen bills to change the state’s approach to economic development.

One bill would try to create a more streamlined effort through a new Executive Office of Commerce. Another bill replaces the state Economic Development Corporation with a Commerce Corporation headed by a secretary of commerce. 

It is not yet clear precisely how the state will move forward.

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On Politics
11:07 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Support Grows for Defaulting on $100M Taxpayer Tab Over 38 Studios

The debate is intensifying over whether Rhode Island should default on the roughly $100 million owed by taxpayers due to the state's losing investment in failed video game-maker 38 Studios.

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Politics
10:44 am
Tue June 4, 2013

RIPEC Urges the General Assembly to be More Amenable to Business in RI

RIPEC is urging lawmakers to restructure the way the state goes about economic development.
Credit file / RIPR

A business-backed advocacy group says Rhode Island needs to make fundamental changes to strengthen its economy.  The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council is urging support for legislation this week to reshape the state’s approach.

The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, RIPEC, said lower than expected state revenue is a sign of continued weakness in Rhode Island’s economy. In contrast to Massachusetts, the Ocean State has yet to regain the peak number of jobs that existed before the recession.

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Politics
10:26 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Lincoln Chafee and Gordon Fox at Odds Over EDC

The Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected, this Tuesday, to approve a package of bills reshaping the state’s approach to economic development.  House Speaker Gordon Fox and Governor Lincoln Chafee differ on how to move forward.

One of the House bills would replace the state Economic Development Corporation with a Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. It would establish a secretary of commerce, with the idea of making one person responsible for pursuing economic development.

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On Politics
10:22 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Speaker Fox, Former Ballplayer Baldelli Hosting Fundraiser for Baldelli-Hunt

House Speaker Gordon Fox and former MLB standout Rocco Baldelli are co-hosting a June 11 kickoff/fundraiser for state Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's Woonsocket mayoral campaign.

In a letter for the event at the Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, Fox writes:

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On Politics
4:26 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

TGIF: 11 Things to Know About RI Politics + Media (Chafee Switch Edition)

While Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat might be utterly unsurprising to some, the governor's move nonetheless scrambled the landscape for what already looked like a riveting election fight next year. That's why Chafee leads my weekly column. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (and) org  and to follow me on Twitter. Let's go:

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On Politics
1:40 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Langevin Hires Meg Fraser as his New Press Secretary

Meg Fraser, editor in chief for the Cranston Herald and Johnston Sun newspapers, has gotten the nod as US Representative Jim Langevin's press secretary, succeeding Jonathon Dworkin, who recently left for another job. She starts June 24.

Via news release:

[Fraser] is also Editor of PrimeTime magazine, a senior living publication.  She received a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2008.

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