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
3:42 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

The inconvenient master lever truth

Here is the voting data:

Providence is Rhode Island’s most diverse municipality. The capital city is home to just about every segment of  Rhode Island’s rich ethnic, racial and socio-economic  mix.

Thus Providence is a reliable prism through which to view the never-ending debate over the master lever. What the data show is that the some of the proponents of abolishing it have, as  Ricky Riccardo used to say to Lucy on the old Lucille Balll Show, ``some 'splanin to do.’’

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On Politics
4:42 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Where is the R.I. Minimum Wage debate?

While economists and media outlets from Providence to Seattle engage in hand-wringing over inequality, Rhode Island’s political leaders seem to have no solutions at all. Smith Hill is bogged down in ridiculous debates over the master lever and the never-ending tsunami that is 38 Studios. Yet, we don’t hear much of anything about raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8 an hour rate.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
3:40 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: RI Master Lever Myths

State lawmakers have been fighting over the master lever for years, but how much does it really matter?
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Eliminating the master lever in Rhode Island elections is picking up steam in the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says getting rid of straight party voting may be much ado about not much.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to end the so-called master lever, a relic of the state’s urban political machine past. A conga line of statewide elected politicians, from Gov. Lincoln Chafee down to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, support this change.

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On Politics
2:25 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Chafee blasts Block, Fung on 38 Studios debt. They fire back

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has hammered Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Ken Block, the two candidates vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, for their advocacy of defaulting on the 38 Studios debt.

Chafee said in a news release that paying the debt is necessary for the state to continue its recovery from the recession and recoup taxpayer money via the courts.

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On Politics
2:27 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

RI Assembly Caught in Curt Schilling Rundown Pickle

So here’s another report that shows just how badly the General Assembly has fumbled the 38 Studios ball. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has released a financial consultant’s report that shows that it would cost less for the state to pay off the 38 Studios  bonds than to default.

The finding, by the firm SJ Advisors, states that Rhode Island’s credit rating would take a significant hit if the state walked away from the $75 million in  bond obligations to those who invested retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s folly, 38 Studios.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
4:06 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: RI Lawmakers Swept 38 Studios Under The Rug

It's been nearly four years since the General Assembly approved state support for the now-defunct video game company 38 Studios.
Credit RIPR FILE

What’s worse than the 38 Studios fiasco for Rhode Island ‘s political and economic reputation? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay points to the aftermath.

It’s been nearly four years since  then- Gov. Donald Carcieri, the state Economic Development Corporation and the General Assembly foisted the disaster that is 38 Studios on Rhode Island taxpayers.

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On Politics
4:37 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Rep. Frank Ferri of Warwick mulling Democratic Lt. Gov. run

Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick, said today he may become the third candidate to vy for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

Ferri represents House District 22. He was first elected in a 2007 special election to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Peter Ginaitt, who left the House for an executive post at the Lifespan hospital chain.

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RI News
2:27 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

RIP George Borts, Brown U. economics professor

George Borts, a prominent Brown University economics professor and researcher, has died.

Borts was a teacher and mentor for generations of Brown economics students. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1950 after studying under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. Borts retired last year after teaching and researching economic issues for 63 years.

One of his students was Janet Yellen, head of the Federal Reserve. She was a 1967 Brown graduate.

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On Politics
2:07 pm
Sun May 4, 2014

Jack Reed formally announces his re-election bid

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed D-R.I., made official this morning what everyone in Rhode Island’s political circuit  assumed: That he is a candidate for reelection to a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

Reed’s announcement came before a crowd of 1,000 of his supporters at the senator’s 25th annual May Breakfast at Rhodes-on-the- Pawtuxet in his home city of Cranston.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
10:58 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: Rhode Island's Democrats vs. Massachusetts

RI Democrats could take a page out of Massachusetts' book when dealing with the economy.
Credit RIPR FILE

Rhode Island Democrats should look to Massachusetts for some leadership on the economy. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay explains why.

Rhode Island is once again ensnared in a noisy political campaign season. The stench of government corruption has led to new leadership on Smith Hill. Gordon Fox is out as speaker and Nick Mattiello is in. Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly by big margins. Yet the historic majority party can’t seem to speak with a coherent voice on our state’s struggling economy.

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