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

Obama Challenge: GOTV

Aug 15, 2012

Political professionals know that every election is decided by who turns out at the polls. It is one of the trite truths of campaigns. Well, guess which presidential campaign wins if more voters show up at polls? According to the Washington Post:

Gay rights advocates have a new arena in which to battle for marriage equality: state ballots.

November‘s general election features same-sex marriage referenda on state ballots in Washington State, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland.

While public opinion on marriage equality has been moving rapidly from con to pro, same-sex marriage has never been approved in the more than 30 state elections in which some incarnation of gay marriage has been up for a vote.

Rhode Island has been the stage for contentious debate over same-sex marriage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the political landscape is shifting in favor of marriage equality.

Providence city government and the Providence Journal have reached an agreement on the ProJo’s tax assessment lawsuits that will lower the newspaper’s property tax liability on its properties in Providence by about $2.5 million.

Under terms of the deal approved by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst, the Journal will get a tax credit of $625,000 in 2012, $833,333 in 2013 and about $1 million in 2014.

The settlement was filed in court last Friday before a trial on the issue, which was scheduled to begin today.

The sign on Interstate 95 says `entering historic Providence.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to change that slogan to entering the `city of  cracked pavement.’

From the top of Elmhurst to the bottom of Elmwood, from Wanskuk to the banks of the Woonasquatucket, Providence is a city of crumbling roads. Potholes pock the business arteries like acne on a teenager’s face. Poorly maintained sidewalks make things precarious for joggers and the wheelchair-bound alike. The endless patching of roads riven by underground utility work never ends.

Rhode Island has a new official state historian laureate. He’s former Providence College history professor Patrick Conley of Bristol, an expert on the state’s past.. Conley, the author of many books and essays on Rhode Island history and law, was appointed to the unpaid post by Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.

The position was created by the General Assembly.  Mollis established a three-member search committee, which included Gwenn Stearn, state archivist, state librarian Tom Evans and Deputy Secretary of State Paul Caranci. Conley was the committee’s unanimous choice.

Now comes Boston Magazine with an in-depth dissection of Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios video game fiasco that has snared Rhode Island taxpayers to the tune of at least $75 million. The article by Jason Schwartz details the mess that was 38 Studios long before the arrival of the $75 million in financing from Rhode Island taxpayers that was pushed by Gov. Donald Carcieri and approved by the General Assembly and the RI Economic Development Corporation.

Looking for a no-brainer issue for Rhode Island General Assembly candidates this fall? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has one that should resonate with taxpayers.

Even in the middle of a glorious summer, the ocean sometimes just doesn’t compensate for living in the Ocean State. This has become a season of both electioneering and discontent.

Our state’s economy is in the dumpster. As our New England neighbors are recovering from the recession, Rhode Island remains the region’s only state with an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly above the national figure.

George McGovern at 90

Jul 20, 2012

The grand old man of American liberalism turned 90 recently and was feted at a party in Washington, D.C.  Sen. George S. McGovern is best remembered as the anti-Vietnam War tribune who lost the 1972 election to Republican Richard Nixon in a 49-state landslide. (McGovern won only Massachusetts).

Congress can easily help cash-strapped states collect millions in sales taxes from Internet sales. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why action is needed to protect Main Street retailers.

The sun is high; your vacation is nigh. What better way to while away a splendid July afternoon in the Ocean State than a trip to the shore with that book you’ve been meaning to get to.

East Providence city government is on its way to solvency and the lessons are fairly simple: Once again, negotiation and conciliation works better than confrontation and litigation.

Under the arrangement forged by the state Budget Commission that was ushered in to scrutinize East Providence finances, the city’s largest creditor, Bradley Hospital, which provides special education services to the city, will receive all payments within 60 days. The hospital had been owed more than $4 million for services, which threatened to send the city into receivership.

A crucial aspect of the state’s new Open Meetings and Access to Public Records acts is whether the attorney general is ready to be vigilant in enforcing the amended provisions approved by the General Assembly.

The good news for open government advocates is that Atty. Gen. Peter Kilmartin has announced that he and his staff are holding a July 27th information seminar at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol to explain details of the new law, which is designed to strengthen Rhode Island’s open government laws, which have too often been ignored in the past.

Ferguson’s Triumph

Jun 28, 2012

Christine Ferguson is the one Rhode Islander who has been most vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the so-called individual mandate aspect of the Affordable Care Act that requires everyone to have health insurance coverage.

Ferguson, of Jamestown, was chosen last week by Governor Lincoln Chafee to head the state’s new Health Benefits Exchange that hopes to move Rhode Island toward universal health care coverage.

The hydrangeas are in full bloom, the sailboats bob on their harbor moorings and the red, white and blue stripe adorns Hope Street. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes a break from politics to celebrate our nation’s birth.

It’s the height of summer: long days of light framed by peach sunsets, high sun and a cobalt sky punctuated by whipped cream clouds.

The handsome Federal and Greek revival homes are dressed in American flags and more red white and blue bunting than Fenway Park on Opening Day.

Curt Schilling took to the sports talk airwaves last Thursday to once again blame Governor Lincoln Chafee for the collapse of his 38 Studios video game company.

As usual, the washed up Red Sox pitcher tried to deflect blame from his wrongheaded leadership of the nascent company and shift responsibility to Chafee and R.I. state government.

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