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 at Rhode Island Hospital.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScotMackRI

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On Politics
5:17 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Chafee signs Bryant University tax-exempt legislation

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed into law legislation that will require Bryant University and Smithfield town officials to negotiate reimbursement for the university’s use of town police, fire and rescue services.

The university and its president, former U.S. Rep. Ron Machtley, have argued strenuously against the legislation, saying Bryant already contributes to the town and generates $17 in local economic activity. But town officials and Smithfield lawmakers say it is isn’t fair for Bryant to charge town taxpayers for services used by the university and its students.

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On Politics
3:48 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Reed's student loan interest limit fails again

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed has failed again in his attempt to hold down college student loan rates.

The Senate has once again failed to pass Democrat  Reed’s legislation that would keep federal student college loans from doubling in interest. Reed’s bill failed on a procedural motion by a vote of 51 to 49. Sixty votes were needed to end the Republican filibuster.

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On Politics
2:45 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

How R.I. and Virginia flipped on the defense sequester

The federal spending sequester has been little more than an inconvenience for most Americans, especially in states that do not have a plethora of defense spending.  As it turns out, the fortunes of Virginia and Rhode Island have been flipped due to changes in the economics of military-industrial complex spending.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
10:45 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Why Did the General Assembly Move Slowly After Same-Sex Marriage?

The passage of gay marriage, was one of few pieces of legislation passed before the end of the legislative session.
Credit Don Boorman / RIPR

Rhode Island’s 2013 General Assembly made history by legalizing same-sex marriage back in April. But it left Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay scratching his head wondering why lawmakers don’t handle other issues in the same manner.

After a vigorous debate, the Assembly made history in April when it approved same gender marriage, making Rhode Island the 12th American state to sanction gay unions.

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On Politics
1:02 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

Child Care Workers are not `babysitters'

Organized labor has been beset in recent years with declining membership in the private sector and a corresponding drop in clout at the Rhode Island Statehouse.  Unions have taken their lumps recently, but there were signs of a rebound during the recently adjourned General Assembly session.

Labor did not get nearly everything it wanted; building  trades union  leaders are unhappy that lawmakers did not approve requiring construction firms bidding on state projects worth $1 million or more to have a union apprenticeship program.

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On Politics
11:35 am
Sat July 6, 2013

To veto `Chose Life' RI plate or not is Chafee's choice

Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but we have a big crush on license plates. Over the years, there have been family fights over who gets grandpa’s low digit tag and thousands of dollars have changed hands in pursuit of those coveted one, two, or three digit beauties.

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On Politics
2:57 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Some personnel changes in Gov. Chafee's office

Some comings and goings in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office:

Jamia McDonald is moving from deputy chief of staff and the governor’s liason to the state’s emergency management agency to become executive director of RIEMA.

Christian Vareika, the governor’s deputy communications director and chief speechwriter, is leaving the administration to attend law school. Vareika worked on Chafee’s 2010 campaign and has crafted major Chafee speeches.

Communications Associate James Alvarez is leaving the administration to pursue a creer in the U.S. Army.

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On Politics
2:25 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Chafee skeptical about `Choose Life' RI license plate

Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expressing skepticism over the General Assembly’s last-minute license plate legislation that created a special  anti-abortion ‘Choose Life’ plate.

Chafee spokeswomen Christine Hunsinger says the governor has made no decision yet on whether to veto the measure or let it become law but that he is concerned whether ``it is appropriate for money that flows through the Division of Motor Vehicles to go to a religious organization.’’

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On Politics
12:54 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

The Good and Bad of 2013 RI General Assembly

Rhode Island’s 2013 General Assembly made history by legalizing gay marriage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why lawmakers don’t handle other issues in the same manner.

After a vigorous debate, the Assembly made history in April when it approved same gender marriage, making Rhode Island the 12th American state to sanction gay unions.

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On Politics
12:16 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Will State House hijinks derail Dynamo House nursing plan?

Tis the high season of summer in the Ocean State and the time of hijinks at the State House. As the hours dwindle towards adjournment, items big and small sometimes get lost in the last-minute shuffle as the competing egos in the House and Senate square off.

One very important economic development and education issue to watch: the fate of the resolution needed to move forward the plan to revive a gateway to the old Jewelry District in Providence by putting a nursing school in the old Dynamo Building, the onetime South Street power station.

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