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 plan for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox in Providence has hit a roadblock. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses how this field of dreams turned into a nightmare.

Aaron Read

Just 5 percent of Rhode Islanders now lack health insurance and the uninsured rate has dropped by more than half since 2012, according to data released today by HealthSourceRI, the state’s Obamacare health exchange.

The rate of Rhode Islanders who lack health insurance has declined from 11 percent in 2012 to 5 percent now.

Anya Rader Wallack, HealthSource director, said the numbers show the Affordable Care Act is working best in states, like Rhode Island, that have expanded Medicaid and run state-based health exchanges, rather than relying on the federal program.

AFGE / flickr

While the Donald Trump surge in the Republican presidential sweepstakes has dominated media coverage among GOP hopefuls, the Democratic side has been suffused with reports about Hillary Clinton’s foundering campaign and her drop in public opinion poll favorability ratings.


Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said today that he is ``extremely pleased’’ that Pope Francis has ``approved the simplification of the annulment process.’’

In a statement, Tobin said, ``It will perhaps allow some Catholics to have prior marriage situations resolved in a way that will benefit them spiritually, while also maintaining the essential Catholic teaching regarding the permanence of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Wikimedia Commons

For  workers and unions, there hasn’t been much to celebrate on Labor Day in recent years. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says things may finally be looking up.

Before you start that barbeque and get into your favorite beverages, treat yourself to a visit to the Museum of Work and Culture, where the spirit of Labor Day is celebrated every day.

On Monday, the museum tucked away in Woonsocket’s historic mill district, holds its annual Open House. Admission is free on Labor Day.

The museum is one of the few in the U.S. that documents and celebrates working people, unions  and their struggles. It is also a repository for the French-Canadian immigrant experience in the Blackstone Valley.

A federal judge has tossed out the four-game suspension imposed by the National Football League on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the so-called Deflategate  case.

RIPR file photo

One tragic trend that Providence has so far avoided is the soaring murder rates in American cities.

Rhode Island’s capital has been the scene of 10 murders to date this year, compared to 11 at this time last year. In 2013, there were 11 at this point in the year, according to Providence police spokeswoman Lindsay Lague.

Gregorio Borgia / AP

Sen. Jack Reed is accepting requests from Rhode Islanders for tickets to Pope Francis address to Congress on Thursday, Sept. 24. Pope Francis will be the first pope to ever address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

The tickets are outdoors and standing room. Ticketholders will be able to watch the pope’s speech on outdoor Jumbotrons that will be set up. After the address, His Holiness is slated to make an appearance at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Students head to classrooms this week in the annual back-to-school ritual. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this should be the year our public schools embrace teaching history and civics.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The National Governors Association’s annual summer meeting will be held in Rhode Island in 2017, the NGA announced Monday.

"We’re excited to bring the nation’s governors to Rhode Island, and we thank Gov. Gina Raimondo for her invitation,’’ said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, vice-chair of the NGA.

Retired Rhode Island Superior Court  Judge Edward C. Clifton has joined the faculty of Roger Williams University Law School, where he will work with students to conduct research on ethnic and racial fairness in the court system.

Clifton, who retired after more than 20 years on the Superior Court  bench, has wide legal experience in Rhode Island. Before his appointment to Superior Court, Clifton served as Providence city solicitor, and as a judge on both the Providence Municipal Court and on the Rhode Island District Court.


Opponents of mandatory HPV vaccinations want the Rhode Island General Assembly to stop requiring the vaccines for all seventh graders. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if  politicians should be allowed to interfere in medical decisions.


Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, announced today that they will be supporting President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.

In a joint statement, Reed and Whitehouse said the agreement is the best way to ensure that Iran does not manufacture nuclear weapons.

Reed said he supports the deal, ``because it cuts off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon and gives international inspectors unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and supply chains.’’

Rhode Island State Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg has granted the state attorney general’s request that Raymond `Beaver’ Tempest stay in prison until the full court can decide his case.

McKena Goldberg blocked, at least for a month, the release of Tempest that was ordered by Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini.

Procaccini last month vacated Tempest’s conviction for the 1982 murder of Doreen Picard of Woonsocket after finding that police and state prosecutors violated his fair trial rights by withholding evidence.