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.

Tis the season of shopping, socializing and celebrating. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says commercialism has over shadowed the holiday season. (Advance copy of weekly commentary).

Thanksgiving is that wonderful holiday dedicated to feasting, family and giving thanks for what we have. The next day, Black Friday, is the day many  people speed to the mall in the pre-dawn darkness to line up under the wary eyes of security cops,  jostle each other and buy more stuff.

David Sullivan, Rhode Island’s well-regarded state tax administrator, is leaving his post in state government for a private sector job.

James DeWolf Perry has been named executive director of the Center for Reconciliation, the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s initiative to locate a slavery museum and inter-racial reconciliation center at the former Cathedral of St. John in Providence.

Wexford Science & Technology

The president of Wexford Science & Technology, which has proposed a one-million-square-foot mixed-use development on five acres in the I-195 District, told a crowd of business and civil leaders Monday night that Providence has the necessary elements to create a successful innovation hub.

After a mid-November slowdown, politics near and far remains roiled by fallout from the Paris attacks. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.


State Senator Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton), who attracted national criticism for an email in which she condemned Muslims, released a statement Friday defending her concerns about admitting Syrian refugees into the US.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a 9-0 margin, the House Oversight Committee voted Thursday to seek a subpoena meant to spur State House testimony by Curt Schilling about his ill-fated video game company, 38 Studios. Yet the committee's counsel, Charles Knowles, told the panel that a court in Massachusetts, where Schilling resides, is unlikely to recognize the subpoena.

State Rep. Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland), who chairs the committee, said there's value in issuing the subpoena, even if it doesn't succeed in the short-term in causing testimony by Schilling.


Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, has joined mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other cities in saying they are ready and willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration has proposed.

In a letter to the president, the mayors said, ``We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities.’’

Aaron Read / RIPR

The latest Rhode Island job numbers are the usual mix of good and not-so-good.

While the rest of the country experienced strong job growth in October, Rhode Island did not. Total jobs were down 600 from the September number of 528,100. The long-beleaguered construction sector is finally picking up, adding 500 jobs in October, the largest gain in construction since April, 2006, when 700 jobs were added.

That was tamped down by declines in food services, government employment and manufacturing.

Buddy Cianci’s mayoral portrait is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday evening at Providence City Hall with a reception to follow at the Roma restaurant on Federal Hill.

But there has been a last-minute change of plans because one of the men slated to officiate at Cianci’s ceremony – Providence City Archivist Paul Campbell – has been suspended with pay from his $60,000 a year job.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State Senator Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton) is attracting national attention for an email she sent condemning Islam and calling for Syrian refugees in the US to be kept in a "camp" separate from Americans.

UNITE HERE, Local 217, the hotel workers' union, is poised to support the Fogarty Building hotel project slated for a vote Tuesday by the Providence City Council's Finance Committee, if the committee backs an amendment ensuring a higher wage for workers at the hotel.

However, the Procaccianti Group, which is seeking a 13-year tax stabilization agreement to build a nine-story extended stay hotel on the site of the vacant Fogarty Building, questions whether requiring certain wages as part of the deal is legal.

RIPR file photo

Providence Journal business writer Paul Grimaldi is leaving the newspaper to become the public information officer for the state Department of Revenue, effective November 30.

Grimaldi has delivered daily and in-depth reporting on a host of business stories -- most notably the 38 Studios saga -- since he came to the ProJo in 2002, so his departure marks a blow to Fountain Street.

Diocese of Providence

In a reaction to the attacks in Paris last Friday, some state lawmakers are sharing their views with Governor Gina Raimondo about whether Syrian refugees should be allowed into the state.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Rhode Island is gaining notice as a contender in the high-stakes battle over General Electric's possible relocation from Connecticut, thanks to the state pension overhaul spearheaded by Governor Gina Raimondo in 2011.