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

Tis the season of shopping, socializing and celebrating. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says commercialism has over shadowed the holiday season. (Advance copy of weekly commentary).

Thanksgiving is that wonderful holiday dedicated to feasting, family and giving thanks for what we have. The next day, Black Friday, is the day many  people speed to the mall in the pre-dawn darkness to line up under the wary eyes of security cops,  jostle each other and buy more stuff.

David Sullivan, Rhode Island’s well-regarded state tax administrator, is leaving his post in state government for a private sector job.

James DeWolf Perry has been named executive director of the Center for Reconciliation, the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s initiative to locate a slavery museum and inter-racial reconciliation center at the former Cathedral of St. John in Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

Since the Paris terrorist attacks, Americans and Rhode Islanders have been engaged in debate over the fate of refugees.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Islanders must consider our state’s immigrant heritage.


Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, has joined mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other cities in saying they are ready and willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration has proposed.

In a letter to the president, the mayors said, ``We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities.’’

Aaron Read / RIPR

The latest Rhode Island job numbers are the usual mix of good and not-so-good.

While the rest of the country experienced strong job growth in October, Rhode Island did not. Total jobs were down 600 from the September number of 528,100. The long-beleaguered construction sector is finally picking up, adding 500 jobs in October, the largest gain in construction since April, 2006, when 700 jobs were added.

That was tamped down by declines in food services, government employment and manufacturing.

Buddy Cianci’s mayoral portrait is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday evening at Providence City Hall with a reception to follow at the Roma restaurant on Federal Hill.

But there has been a last-minute change of plans because one of the men slated to officiate at Cianci’s ceremony – Providence City Archivist Paul Campbell – has been suspended with pay from his $60,000 a year job.


A Dartmouth College student visiting Brown University for a weekend Latino Ivy League conference asserted that he was assaulted by a Brown campus police officer Friday evening outside a Spanish House event. 


Tourism has long been a foundation of Rhode Island’s economy. As Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration rolls out a new tourism promotion plan, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the state must include local tourism councils in any new initiative.

The Providence Preservation Society is asking Rhode Island Hospital to reconsider its plan to demolish the historic southwest pavilion on the hospital’s South Providence campus.

The building, constructed in 1898, is part of the hospital’s original landscape. After feasibility studies in 2010 and earlier this year, the hospital decided that razing the structure was better than restoring the pavilion due to the high cost of restoration.

One of Rhode Island’s grand holiday traditions –the Buy Nothing Winter Coat Exchange – is back in its usual Black Friday incarnation. This year the coat exchange will be held on Nov. 27th, the day after Thanksgiving.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Don’t be fooled by the recent blush of September-like weather; New Englanders know winter is on  the way.

In this vein, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation announced today that the state is getting an additional $2.4 million in federal money from the Federal  Emergency Management Agency to help defray cleanup costs from last winter’s big January snowstorm.

Erika Smith/FLICKR

Johnson & Wales University has purchased the property that housed the  troubled Club Karma on Richmond Street in Providence for $1.6 million, according to a statement from college spokeswoman Lisa Pelosi.

The university intends to use the property either to ``accommodate the university’s expanding academic programs or for student life services.’’

Club Karma was shut down last year by the city’s licensing board after two men were shot at the nightclub on January 25, 2014.


Former Providence State Representative Leon Tejada  has agreed to plead guilty to federal tax and wire fraud charges.

Tejada, 50, has agreed to pay back more than $79,000 to the federal government and acknowledge that he knowingly prepared false income tax returns for clients and skimmed money from their refunds. He deposited the money into his bank account.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR


The gloomy cloud of the 38 Studios debacle still hangs over Rhode Island. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay parses the latest General Assembly probe of the failed video game company.