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

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.

The Lifespan hospital chain, Rhode Island’s largest private employer, is probably going to announce Monday the appointment of a new CEO to succeed George Vecchione, who is retiring.  While the search process for a new CEO has been done quietly, with no media leaks, several sources in Rhode Island’s tight-knight medical care industry say Dr. Timothy Babineau, a surgeon who has been Rhode Island Hospital’s CEO since 2008, is the leading candidate. Babineau has impressed the state’s medical community in his tenure at RIH, the flagship of the Lifespan chain.

Governor Lincoln Chafee’s choice of Christine Ferguson to head Rhode Island’s new Health Benefits Exchange has drawn praise. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Ferguson may face challenges she can’t control.

Governor Chafee didn’t have to do an intergalactic search to find the person best qualified to run the state’s latest effort to extend health insurance to all citizens. For once, the person best suited for the job is a Rhode Islander, Christy Ferguson of Jamestown.

There was a time when the managers of great American manufacturing companies loved their products, cared about their employees and customers and valued the communities in which they did business. Factories were run by people who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty working in the same space as blue-collar workers.

The Rev. Bernard A. Healey, the effective and hard-working lobbyist for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, is moving from St. Ambrose Parish in Albion to become pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in East Greenwich in August, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has announced.

The crash of the 38 Studios-Curt Schilling video game deal has sent shivers through Rhode Island’s economic development efforts. RIPR’s Scott MacKay has some thoughts on how we can get our jobs mojo back.

It is bad enough that Rhode Island state government has become a national laughingstock and media piñata for the foolish $75 million taxpayer bet on Red Sox legend Schilling’s ill-fated video game foray.

The Providence Journal, the state’s largest newspaper and the local arm of the Texas-based Belo Corporation,  has long called in editorials for non-profit institutions in the capital city to pay more to support city government. This has led the newspaper to support Mayor Angel Taveras’ efforts to get more payments-in-lieu of taxes from Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Women& Infants Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital.

Former RI state police col. Brendan Doherty of   Cumberland , the GOP candidate for U.S. House in the 1st District, has been moving his feet lately. Besides picking up endorsements from some Democrats, including onetime Boston Mayor Ray Flynn (a PC basketball star), former Newport State Rep. Jimmy Mahoney and former RI State Rep. Joanne Giannini of Providence’s Mount Pleasant district, Doherty has been holding meet-and-greets and fund-raisers almost every evening.

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