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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Ray Gallison, the Bristol Democrat who formerly chaired the powerful House Finance Committee, has agreed to plead guilty to nine federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing false tax returns, investigators announced Monday.

Just another quiet Friday in America, right? Thanks for stopping by as we hurtle into a new area, with lots to watch on the local and national level. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

While all the chatter in Democratic Party circles is on boycotting and protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration, Rhode Island Republicans are planning a celebration of their candidate’s ascension to the White House. The Rhode Island Republican Party is hosting an Inauguration Watch Party at GOP state headquarters at 1800 Post Road in Warwick, in Airport Plaza. There will be a potluck buffet and beverages. The headquarters is outfitted with a bevy of large screen television sets to watch the changing of the guard in Washington, D.C.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island dropped 1,000 jobs in December even as the state’s unemployment rate inched down to 5 percent, from 5.3 percent in November, according to data released today by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The U.S. Unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday presented to the General Assembly a $9.2 billion budget that cuts car tax assessments by 30 percent; offers Rhode Islanders two free years of college tuition; raises the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour, effective in July; and hikes the cigarette tax 50 cents, to $4.25 a pack.

Katie Mulvaney / Press pool photo

Former Cranston State Rep. Peter Palumbo pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges to embezzlement and filing a false document.

The arraignment in Providence District Court lasted about a minute. Wearing a white sweatshirt and jeans, Palumbo was led into the courtroom in handcuffs.

Palumbo, a Democrat, was arrested by State Police earlier in the day at his Cranston home.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, Governor Gina Raimondo's Republican rival from 2014, expressed concern Wednesday about the governor's proposal to give Rhode Islanders two years of free tuition at state institutions of higher learning.

On a day when Raimondo staged a rally at Cranston East High School in support of her plan, Fung responded with a statement.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With her term as governor half-way over, Gina Raimondo used her latest State of the State address to assert she's steering Rhode Island in the right direction and to tout a series of initiatives that could bolster her support among middle-class voters.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo is poised Monday to announce a major education initiative that would make the first two years of public higher education tuition-free for Rhode Island high school graduates enrolled at the state’s three public colleges – the Community College of Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, according to Statehouse sources.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Longtime Latino political activist and educator Victor Capellan is stepping down as chairman of the Providence City Democratic Committee. In a news release, Capellan said he is focus on his position as school superintendent in Central Falls.

New lawmakers are settling in, and Governor Raimondo is getting ready to unveil her latest budget. So the political year is starting in earnest, paving the way for the 2018 campaign season. Thanks 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.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons License

After eight years in the White House, President Barack Obama is waving goodbye. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay recalls the first time he met Obama, back in 2007, when he was campaigning for the New Hampshire primary.


Ian Donnis / RIPR

More than 20 Democratic state lawmakers expressed support Thursday for a four-part plan -- dubbed the "Fair Shot Agenda" -- that they say will expand economic opportunities for middle-class Rhode Islanders.

State Rep. Gregg Amore (D-East Providence) introduced the proposal as a response to President-elect Donald Trump's win in November and "decades of economic policy that has continually tilted the scales toward the wealthy and large corporations."

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Members of Rhode Island's congressional delegation say unverified claims alleging collusion between the Russian government and the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump need to be scrutinized.

"Like all Americans, Senator Reed finds these allegations extremely disturbing," said Chip Unruh, spokesman for US Senator Jack Reed. "He will wait for facts before jumping to conclusions. But this is yet another example of why an independent select committee is needed to quickly and carefully examine the evidence and ensure the American people get the truth."

RIPR FILE PHOTO

Once again, a national study shows some good news for Rhode Island – the Ocean State has one of the nation’s very lowest per capita gun violence rates.

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