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

Three Democrats have announced campaigns for the state Senate being vacated by former Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.

No Republicans have unveiled runs yet. State GOP Chairman Brandon Bell said Michael Smith, who ran a competitive race against Paiva Weed in 2014, is among the Repulicans considering a run.

On the Democratic side, the candidates are Newport City Councilor John Florez; lawyer and activist Dawn Euer; and David Allard, a former aide to Governor Gina Raimondo who now directs a 3rd-grade reading program for the state Department of Education.

Courtesy of URI

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s signature plan for free tuition at Rhode Island public colleges has generated opposition. 

Just another quiet week in Rhode Island politics, right? Lots to chew on here, so 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.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed announced Friday their opposition to Neil Gorsuch's U.S. Supreme Court nomination.

The move comes after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats announced their opposition to Gorsuch earlier this week.

Whitehouse shared many of his concerns about Gorsuch during a recent meeting in Providence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, the longest serving member of the Senate, won election Thursday as the new president of the chamber, succeeding Teresa Paiva Weed.

As first reported Tuesday by RI Public Radio, Ruggerio was poised to move quickly into the top position in the Senate, joined by Senate Judiciary Chairman Michael McCaffrey as Warwick as the new majority leader.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

R.I. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has hired political operative Joe Caiazzo to work on his 2018 reelection campaign. Caiazzo, a Stoneham, Mass. native, is no stranger to Rhode Island politics – he was a top campaign Rhode Island aide to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. In the general election, Caiazzo worked in Rhode Island for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Sanders comfortably won the primary and Clinton easily carried the Ocean State in the general election.

RIPR File Photo

Sen. Jack Reed is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate ties between Russian interests and President Donald Trump’s campaign. Reed said in a statement that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California is too partisan to lead a credible probe into links between Russian interests and the president and his campaign advisers.

Ian Donnis

During an emotional farewell, state Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport announced Wednesday she's leaving the General Assembly after 24 years to become president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI).

Ayoopdog / CC License via Wikimedia Commons

A group of Roger Williams University students who are studying abroad at the University of Westminster this semester have reported they are safe after the attack that left four people dead near Parliament in London.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio is expected to quickly succeed Teresa Paiva Weed as president of the state Senate, with Paiva Weed heading off to become president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, RIPR has learned.

Courtesy Red Bandana Fund on Facebook

The Red Bandana Fund, which honors the life and work of the late Richard Walton, is once again seeking nominations for the Red Bandana Award. This award is given annually to a person or organization who embodies the work and spirit of Walton, a journalist, teacher and activist for labor, peace and social justice.

Winter will fade away one of these days, right? In the meanwhile, we can celebrate St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day while continuing to plumb the depths of Rhode Island politics. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR File Photo

The latest twist in the never-ending 38  Studios soap opera is the joust over grand jury secrecy.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this spat is more about politics than legal precedent.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island teachers union, joins Political Roundtable this week

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Republican Governors Association on Thursday criticized Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo for the use of state funds to pay for a Facebook ad promoting the governor's jobs record.

The state Commerce Corporation spent $50 to publicize a recent New York Times story about Raimondo’s approach to economic development.

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