On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators, Democrats Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both said today they will oppose confirmation of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is President Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of state.

The opposition of Reed and Whitehouse comes as scant surprise because both have been critical of many of President Trump’s foreign policy initiatives.

Whitehouse says he can’t support Pompeo because of his record in denying the “human role” in climate change, his opposition to abortion rights and his views on military intervention.

A Brown alum has donated $100 million to advance brain science and help find cures for ALS and Alzheimer’s diseases.

The gift is from Robert J. Carney and his wife, Nancy D. Carney. He is a 1961 Brown graduate and a long-serving university trustee. The gift will change the name of the Brown Institute for Brain Science to the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A new study finds that Rhode Island’s film and TV tax credit is losing the state more than $1.8 million a year.

The main finding of the study by the state Office of Revenue Assessment is that Rhode Island generates only 27 cents for every dollar spent on the film tax credit. The study looked at 14 film and TV productions from 2013 to 2015.

RI House of Representatives

Rhode Island State Rep. Jeremiah "Jay" O'Grady was stretching after a workout at MacColl YMCA in Lincoln last August and he was looking forward to seeing a concert with his wife when his life was suddenly turned upside down.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Kent Willever, 74, retired last week as executive director of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission. The commission was created by voters frustrated with government scandals in the 1980s. But it was in a state of crisis by the time Willever took over in 2001.

Some observers saw that as a sign of the difficulty of policing ethics in Rhode Island. Willever said that’s partly why he posted in his office an iconic print of Don Quixote. It recalled the moment in the novel when the idealistic protagonist takes on an impossible task of using a spear to attack a windmill.

One need not suffer from triskaidekaphobia to question Rhode Island's budget outlook. But lawmakers are heading off on their spring break, and the weather shows some (brief) signs of improvement, so it will have to wait. Thanks, regardless, for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, and two Democratic U.S. Senate colleagues are urging President Donald Trump to make a “clear and compelling case” before undertaking any major military action in Syria.

In a letter to the president, Reed and Sens. Dick Durbin, D-IL and Bob Menendez, D-NJ, said the president should provide a “legal basis for any potential or anticipated military action in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime in Douma on April 7th.”

Chris Potter / Flickr

It’s that time of year again: income tax filings are due. And candidates for governor are talking about cutting taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says voters should be wary of political tax promises.

David McCullough, the acclaimed author, historian and teacher, will deliver the commencement address at Providence College’s 100th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 20th at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.

A master of narrative history, McCullough has won two Pulitzer prizes, two national book awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the biographer of President Harry Truman  and the author of “The Johnstown Flood” and “Americans in Paris” and “The Wright Brothers,” among other works.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo's approval rating stands at 39 percent in the latest survey by Morning Consult, a Washington-based media and technology company.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican candidate Giovanni Feroce said he will cut taxes sharply, try to make Rhode Island a right to work state, and instill a reliance on blockchain technology if he wins election as Rhode Island's next governor.

During a mid-day campaign event in front of a few dozen supporters at the Eleven Forty Nine restaurant in East Greenwich on Tuesday, Feroce spent almost 20 minutes praising the entrepreneurial spirit of George Washington before launching into his policy prescriptions. He said his focus will be on creating prosperity through education, employment and retirement.

University of Rhode Island

Gina McCarthy, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree and give the commencement address at the University of Rhode Island’s commencement on Sunday, May 20th.

To paraphrase a remark (mistakenly) attributed to Mark Twain, the coldest winter I ever spent was a spring in southern New England. But we roll with the punches, right? 

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, citing ethical lapses and misuse of taxpayer money, today called for the firing of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt.

Elisabeth Harrison

Providence County is participating in a trial run of the 2020 U.S. Census. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay traces how something that shouldn’t provoke controversy has become partisan.

Pages