The incoming administrations are assembling their staffs (read on), as time ticks down for the Class of 2010. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and tips via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.
What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.
Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.
Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza is making an appearance tonight at the annual Hope Street Merchants Association’s Holiday Stroll along Hope Street.
This event begins at 5:30 p.m. and highlights the businesses along Hope Street. It is a festive event filled with fire jugglers, a petting zoo, musicians and food trucks. Along with the fun, it serves as reminder of the need to shop local during the holiday season.
Some good news for Rhode Island’s state budget: income and sales tax receipts are up over last year’s totals.
That’s the report from the state Department of Revenue comparing state revenues through October with the same period last year. Income tax collections are 3 percent about last year and sales levies are up 4.3 percent, according to data released today.
On a more sober note, state gambling tax collections are down 1.3 percent from the same period last year.
Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has decided to keep A.T. Wall, Rhode Island’s longtime corrections director, and the nation’s longest serving corrections head, in his post.
Wall has served as director of corrections since 2000. A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, Wall is a native Rhode Islander who worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan after law school. He is known as erudite and thoughtful and is well-respected within the corrections community locally and nationally.
Secretary of State-elect Nellie Gorbea plans to fill three key posts in her administration with Steve Gerencser as deputy secretary/chief of staff, Gonzalo Cuervo as senior adviser/communications director, and Melissa Long as deputy secretary/director of administration.
Gorbea was the top vote-getter in the November 4 election and became the first Hispanic woman elected to statewide office in New England.
Governor-elect Gina Raimondo plans to re-appoint Janet Coit as the director of the state Department of Environmental Management.
“During the past four years, Director Coit proved to be not only a strong advocate for the environment, but a skilled manager of a complex department,” Raimondo said in a statement. “I admire her passion for conserving our natural resources and am thrilled to have her continue her good work as a member of my cabinet.”
Coit's re-appointment is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
Governor-elect Gina M. Raimondo has picked Stephen S. Neuman, director of public affairs for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, as her chief of staff.
“I am excited to have Steve help lead my team as we work to move Rhode Island forward," Raimondo said in a statement. “His experience working for governors in Maryland, North Carolina and Missouri will be invaluable as we work to find new and creative solutions here.”
It sometimes seems as if all of our contemporary debates over education revolve around high-stakes testing. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our schools are neglecting an important topic that isn’t tested.
Trying to figure out what’s happening in education nowadays is an exercise in futility. You have to learn a new language suffused with psycho babble and techno-speak: educators use terms like rubrics, social-emotional learning and site-based management..
If anyone still cares about the Holiday/Christmas tree Statehouse kerfuffle, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced today that this year’s rotunda evergreen will be called a`` Christmas tree’’ and that Secretary of State Ralph Mollis will light it on Wednesday, December 3 at 6 p.m.
The 15-foor Fraser Fir evergreen was donated to the state by Sarah Partyka of the Farmer’s Daughter farm in South Kingstown.
``I am happy to be part of such a wonderful holiday tradition, lighting the State House Christmas tree,’’ said Mollis in a statement.