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 board of the state Commerce Corporation this week approved incentives to help two companies expand in Rhode Island. State Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor stopped by our studio yesterday to discuss a range of other issues involving economic development

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Behind the scenes negotiations on the I-195 District, and the inside word from state Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Anya Rader Wallack took the position as head of Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for low income residents, in October. Before that she led the state’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI. 

In an email sent to staff, Wallack wrote she accepted the Medicaid position during an especially difficult time, about a week after her husband passed away. She wrote the job has been “a rewarding challenge and a welcome distraction.”

Kenneth Zirkel/Creative Commons License

  Christina Bevilacqua, the talented intellectual and public face of the Providence Athenaeum for more than a decade, is stepping down from her post as director of public engagement at the library on September 1st.

As public engagement director, Bevilacqua has developed new audiences for the historic library on Benefit Street and cemented the Athenaeum’s reputation as a top cultural center in Rhode Island. She was crucial to organizing such programs as the celebrated Salon Series and the Marcel Proust Reading Group.


While many Ocean State voters are more focused on August vacations than politics, candidates for the legislature are knocking on doors, appearing at coffee hours and pleading for votes at taverns and ethnic clubs.

Wikimedia Commons

  Democrat Hillary Clinton got some good news from Pennsylvania today with a Suffolk University public opinion survey showing her up 9 points in the Keystone State over Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election.

In a four –way contest with Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson the mix, Clinton led Trump, 46 to 37 percent. Johnson got 5 percent and Stein was at 3 percent with 9 percent undecided.


Update: Bill Clinton and Rev. Jesse Jackson to attend Weiner funeral Tuesday at Temple Beth-El in Providence at 11 a.m.

Mark Weiner of East Greenwich, a confidante of Hillary and Bill Clinton, former Rhode Island state Democratic chairman, and top fund raiser for the Democratic Party, both nationally and in the Ocean State, has died after a battle with cancer. He was  62.

Aaron Read / RIPR

  This comes as no surprise, but it is relevant: RI House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston is demoting embattled Rep. John Carnevale, D-Providence, from the Democratic House leadership team.

Even at the Statehouse, loyalty has its limits. In this case, pragmatism and campaign exigencies have triumphed. At the capitol, there is nothing like self-preservation as a motivation.

  The Republican National Convention that nominated Donald Trump is history. The Democratic convention that is poised to tap Hillary Clinton begins today. 

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s economy remains in the doldrums. That’s the takeaway from the latest unemployment and jobs data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training

The state’s jobless rate inched up from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent in June.  The good news is that the state gained 1,700 jobs. The bad news is that job growth remains sluggish, with a decline of 100 jobs in the first six months  of 2016.

Calling all literate Rhode Islanders and Ocean State ex-pats: For a great read get thee to the bookstore (or Internet if you must) and get Bruce DeSilva’s latest Rhody-centric mystery novel "The Dread Line." It goes on sale in September.

RIPR file photo

The plan to improve the Port of Providence and a proposal to build a new power plan in Burrillville have stirred vigorous debates in recent weeks. 

Gov. Gina Raimondo has scheduled a sit-down with plant opponents. Rhode Island. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if these plans will reprise the 20th Century battles  between environmentalists and business and labor interests. 

John Bender / RIPR

The environmental organization Save The Bay on Monday sharply criticized the proposal for a $20 million taxpayer-financed port development project on the Providence waterfront.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Rhode island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee has been elected chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association. The Cumberland Democrat won  the post last week at the group’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As chairman, McKee will preside over a December 2016 confab in Arizona, a March 2017 meeting in Washington, D.C. and the annual summer meeting in Nashville.

McKee, a former Cumberland mayor elected as lieutenant governor in 2014, will also lead the group’s 17-member executive committee in directing policy discussions.

Wikimedia Commons

If you’re wealthy, you may see the British exit from Europe’s economy as an opportunity.