Scott MacKay

Political Analyst

With a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Vermont and a wealth of knowledge of local politics, it was a given that Scott MacKay would become a commentator for Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable.

As a former political reporter for The Providence Journal, MacKay has spent more than thirty years documenting the ins and outs of politics in Rhode Island and New England. MacKay is married to Dr. Staci Fisher, an infectious diseases specialist.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScotMackRI

Ways to Connect

The latest Republican assault on Obamacare has failed. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to resurrect some ideas with roots in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. (Advance copy of commentary scheduled to air Monday).

So much for the master deal makers in Washington. Even though they control the Congress and White House, President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers don’t seem to be able to address the gnawing issue of health care.

A group of more than 20 Rhode Island religious and community groups are calling on the General Assembly to return to the Statehouse to approve a state budget for the fiscal year than began July 1 and approve legislation to limit access to guns for domestic  abusers, grant earned sick time to workers and adopt other measures.

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The latest Rhode Island unemployment data shows anemic job growth, with the unemployment rate inching up to 4.2 percent, which is slightly less than the national rate of 4.4 percent.

Rhode Island-based jobs were up just 200 in June, a drop from  900 jobs gained during the average month in 2017, according to data from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.

Educational services posted the largest gain in June with 800 new jobs. But the retail trade sector reported a decline of 600 jobs in June.

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The National Governor’s Conference brought leaders from around the world to Providence to discuss such topics as trade, climate change and the opioid crisis. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says this was a sharp contrast with Rhode Island, where lawmakers can’t even figure out how to approve a state budget. 

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Rhode Island is now a week into a new fiscal year without an approved budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the longer this goes on, the worse lawmakers look. 


Alex Guibord / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to address the nation’s governors in Providence during the 109th summer meeting of the National Governors Association, which runs from July 13th to 15th.

Elipongo / Wikimedia Commons

City leaders in Hartford, Connecticut’s capital city and once the insurance capital of New England,  have hired an international law firm that has expertise in bankruptcy, the Hartford Courant reported today.

John Bender / RIPR

At the turn of the century, Providence was at the epicenter of technological innovation. Rhode Island’s capital city was home to state of the art manufacturing facilities, and at the center of those companies was Brown and Sharpe.

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The conventional  Rhode Island Statehouse wisdom was that the departure of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport for a private sector job and her replacement by Dominick Ruggerio of North Providence would usher in more cooperation between the House and Senate. The theory was that Ruggerio would get along better with House Speaker Nick Mattiello of Cranston, than did Paiva Weed.  All three are Democrats, but Paiva Weed and Mattiello had differences on policy and styles of leadership.

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An end of session impasse erupted at the State House Friday, leaving Rhode Island state government without a budget as the new fiscal year began Saturday. 

Gage Skidmore / CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE VIA FLICKR

Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says that President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the G-20 summit in Germany is ”ill-advised.”

Manuel C. Correira / RIPR

Few institutions in our society remain relevant for more than two centuries. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes us to his adopted hometown of Bristol, where the 232nd Independence Day parade steps off Tuesday.

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Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest hospital chain, is resuming payments in lieu of taxes to the city of Providence, Lifespan announced today.

Lifespan President and CEO Dr. Timothy Babineau said that better finances have led the hospital to resume the payments to Providence with a $400,000 contribution. According to the hospital system, Lifespan’s finances have rebounded from a $33 million operating loss to a break-even status on its balance sheet, enabling the system to resume the payments.

Maria D’Allesandro, a top executive at the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, has been placed on administrative leave.

D’Allesandro, who earns about $150,000 annually, has a significant portfolio at the department. She is deputy director of commercial licensing, deputy director of gaming and athletics and deputy director and superintendent of securities regulation.

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The Rhode Island General Assembly is expected to do its final business this week, and then go home for the Fourth of July holiday. Before the summer recess, House lawmakers voted last week on the state budget. What else remains for lawmakers to do?

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison put the question to our political analyst Scott MacKay.

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