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.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has offered the following statement in response to lawsuits filed today challenging the state’s pension overhaul:

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.

A series of union lawsuits filed today in Superior Court — aimed at stopping the sweeping state pension overhaul enacted last year — shouldn’t come as a surprise, says Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island. He says opponents made their stance clear before the overhaul was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Tony Simon, deputy state director for US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, is leaving that position to run the freshman senator’s re-election campaign, RIPR has learned.

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 worst-kept secret in state government came to an end this morning when Governor Chafee introduced Christine Ferguson as the director of the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange. Ferguson has a long history in health policy, and she says the exchange offers the promise of cutting healthcare costs:

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist once famously talked about shrinking the federal government “to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Providence native Joe Nocera uses his New York Times’ op-ed column today to argue that state Representative Jon Brien is wielding a similar cudgel to cut spending in Woonsocket:

The Rhode Island GOP yesterday held its second in a series of recent news conference to introduce a batch of legislative candidates. The latest bunch was enthusiastic and their let’s-rock-the-status-quo messaging is potentially appealing in a state suffering from persistently high unemployment.

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.

Longtime former Providence city councilor John Lombardi is set to make formal on Thursday his run for the House seat held by state Representative Michael Tarro (Libby Kimzey is also in the running):

Governor Lincoln Chafee has issued the following statement in response to the indication by federal prosecutors today that they intend to use the death penalty against Jayson Pleau:

Woonsocket City Council President John Ward invokes the example set by Providence in describing how the city might wipe out its deficit if negotiations with unions don’t get the job done.

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.

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.

John Igliozzi announced during a meeting this evening of the Providence City Council’s Finance Committee that he’ll be stepping down as FinCom chairman, effective July 1.