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

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R.I.P. Chris Nocera

Jul 17, 2015

Christopher Nocera, a longtime Providence political operative, Elmhurst neighborhood activist and City Hall fixture, died suddenly last night. He was 60.

A burly man with an infectious sense of humor, Nocera was instrumental in Patrick Kennedy’s 1988 campaign for state representative in Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant that launched the career of  Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s son, who later became a Congressman. Nocera put together a fine ground voter turn-out effort that propelled Kennedy to victory over then Rep. Jack Skeffington, a Mount Pleasant funeral director.

Aaron Read

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate  inched down to 5.9 percent in June, the lowest level since 2007, the state Department of Labor and Training has announced.

The rate has dropped 1.8 percentage points since June, 2014, when it was 7.7 percent.  The level in May was 6.0 percent. Rhode Island’s jobless rate is still above the national average, which was 5.3 percent in June, six-tenths of a percent lower than in the Ocean State.

In a statement, Gov. Gina Raimondo lamented that Rhode Island is not recovering from the recession as fast as the rest of the country.

RIPR File Photo

A new coalition of community and organized labor groups called `Rhode Island Working Families’ is forming in the Ocean State to lobby the General Assembly and conduct grass-roots organizing around issues dear to working and middle-class families.

So far, the coalition includes Teamsters Local 251, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, the United Auto Workers union, the Restaurant Opportunities Center, UniteHere Local 217, Demand Progress and the Service Employees International Union 32bj.

After six months in office, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has finally appointed an economic development director: Mark Huang, a San Francisco energy developer who also has a military background and worked for General Electric and was involved with start-up firms in sustainability-related sectors.

``I am pleased to welcome Mark to Providence and excited to work with him to craft new economic development opportunities,’’ said Elorza in a statement.

Wikimedia Commons

The murder conviction of a 62-year-old Woonsocket man has been vacated by Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini.

The judge cited DNA evidence introduced by lawyers for Raymond 'Beaver' Tempest during post-conviction relief hearings earlier this year. Tempest was convicted in the 1982 killing of Doreen Picard of Woonsocket.

AFGE / flickr

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders has become the leading challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay, a former Vermont reporter, spent a few days in the Green Mountain state parsing the Sanders campaign.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island’s two U.S. Senators, Democrats Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, have nominated Rhode Island’s top public defender, Mary McElroy, to the U.S. District Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Mary Lisi.

RIPR FILE

Work is the fulcrum of social mobility in our country. In Rhode Island, lawmakers have approved an increase in the minimum wage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says that falls far short of what’s needed to help the working poor.

Democrats claim to be the party of working people. Come campaign season, Democratic candidates boast at every turn that they care about ``working families’’ more than Republicans, the party Democrats brand as the tool of the rich and the one-percent.

RIPR FILE

Providence Fire Chief  Clarence A. Cunha is retiring after almost 35 years with the capital city’s fire department.

Cunha has reached the mandatory retirement age of 60. His retirement is not related to the ongoing negotiations between the union representing firefighters and the administration of Mayor Jorge Elorza, said mayoral spokesman Evan England.

``This didn’t come as a surprise,’’ said England. ``It is not related to the platoon talks.’’

Elorza said in a statement that Assistant Chief Scott Mello will take over as chief on an interim basis.

Emily Wooldridge / RIPR

The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Rhode Island’s Episcopal Bishop, voted in favor of a resolution approved by the Episcopal  Church’s highest governing body, that issued a strong statement that marriage should be available to ``straight, gay and lesbian couples equally across the church.’’

``This has been the practice in Rhode Island since very soon after I was consecrated bishop in 2012,’’ Knisely said in a statement.

The resolution was approved at a meeting of the church's leaders at a meeting in Salt Lake City.

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