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

Could this really be happening or is it a trope straight out of the Groundhog Day movie? Talk that Vincent A. `Buddy’ Cianci may run again for mayor in  2014 is coursing through City Hall and sending shivers through some in Providence’s political hierarchy.

It would be preposterous to think that Cianci, convicted a decade ago of running the city as a criminal enterprise, could win a two-way race. And there is no way he could defeat Democratic Mayor Angel Taveras.

Rhode Island voters have twice turned down the chance to bring Las Vegas style casinos in the Ocean State. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says things will probably be different this year.

Rhode Island once had a vigorous anti-casino movement whose members lobbied at the State House and campaigned across the state. Our state once had an anti-casino governor, Republican Lincoln Almond, who considered state promotion of gambling little more than a cheap tax on the poor. The state’s media, led by the Providence Journal, once editorialized against the expansion of gambling.

The ProJo, which is cutting employees once again, is really penny-pinching with this one. The state’s largest newspaper is ending the `Papers for Patients’  program, according to a letter from Lori Gardnier, director of consumer sales for the ProJo, to hospital officials.

As the weeks dwindle down toward the general election showdown, Mitt Romney seems to be running on empty. Romney’s dilemma is that he can’t seem to boast about his business or political career without chewing on his toes. The latest in a long string of incautious statements is that the middle class in the U.S. comprises those earning between $200,000 and $250,000 annually. This comes in the wake of the Olympics insult to the British and the swing and miss comments about the latest Middle East diplomatic mess.

Former Gov. Donald Carcieri has finally broken his silence on 38 Studios. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the former governor did not say.

It was a grim-looking Don Carcieri who ended his retirement hiatus from media scrutiny with an interview with WPRI-TV’s Tim White. If not contrite about the disaster that was the state’s $75 million investment in the video game company, the former governor at least took responsibility for pushing the deal.

Democratic State Chairman Ed Pacheco must have taken a trip to the rest room or something at the Democratic National Convention when the political figure from Rhode Island with the biggest speaking role of anyone from the Ocean State took the podium at the Charlotte convention.

Joseph R. Paolino Sr., a prominent Rhode Island real estate dealer and developer for more than a half century and the father of former Providence mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr., died today after a battle with cancer. He was 83.

A lifelong Providence resident, Paolino, president of  Paolino Properties,  started in the real estate business at age 17, while still a student at Providence College. During the 1960s, he owned and managed Crescent Park, the iconic East Providence amusement park.

In another blow to the Big East Conference, Notre Dame has announced that it will leave the Providence-headquartered college sports conference and join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Fighting Irish are the fourth Big East college sports program to leave the conference over the last 14 months, joining Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. West Virginia went to the Big 12 Conference and Pitt and Syracuse left for the ACC. Traditional New England Providence rival Boston College earlier left the Big East for the ACC.

In a resounding show of support from 1st District Democratic primary voters, Congressman David Cicilline swamped  businessman Anthony Gemma to win renomination, establishing  a strong foundation for a general election showdown against Republican Brendan Doherty, of Cumberland, the former state police superintendent.

With readership dropping and advertising revenues declining, the Providence Journal, the state’s largest newspaper, is seeking to shed more workers. The Projo  is offering buyouts to veteran employees. If a sufficient number of employees do not take the buyouts, layoffs are likely, says John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, the union representing many employees.

There is only one Rhode Island primary election tomorrow (Tuesday Sept. 11) that is being watched from Woonsocket to Washington, D.C.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay brings you the first district Democratic donnybrook.

The 1st District U.S. House primary joust between Democratic David Cicilline and Anthony Gemma has been in-your-face nasty, as rough as it gets in a little state known for big political fights.

It is rare that 5th graders are featured in the lead of the letters section of a major political media outlet. But that is what happened in the most recent issue of the Nation, that liberal publication of politcs and arts.

Brendan Doherty, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in the 1st District, issued a nice uplifting Labor Day statement but somebody on his communications staff ought to have done a better job vetting it. The former RI state police superintendent stated: “The United States Constitution asserts one of our guiding principles that still rings true. That is, that we as people, are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’’

Today RIPR kicks another in our `One Square Mile’ reports on a Rhode Island community. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes a break from the political circuit to take us to the Point Judith ferry dock.

Block Island‘ is just nine miles from the Rhode Island mainland but a world away. Home in January to just 1,000 hardy souls, in summer the pork-chop shaped island’s population bulges to ten times that.

In 30 years in Rhode Island politics, Lincoln Chafee has been elected to every office from Warwick city council, to U.S. Senate and governor. He never has been a Democrat. Yet now independent  Governor Chafee will have the biggest speaking role any Rhode Island political figure has had at any Democratic National Convention since 1964, when Sen. John Pastore was the keynote convention speaker.

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