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/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo's office released a new study Thursday that it said buttresses the case for the governor's controversial truck-toll proposal. The Rhode Island Truckers Association responded by questioning the numbers in the study.

A traffic collection report prepared for the state Department of Transportation by CDM Smith found that trucks volumes in class eight and above "are, in total, 27 percent higher than the raw volumes developed by RIDOT," through "approximations" "for their initial assessment for the RhodeWorks program."

Federal search warrants were executed Thursday at a Providence ambulance company.

A spokesman for the US Attorney’s office, Jim Martin, said the location targeted by the warrants is Professional Ambulance on River Street.

One member of the family that owns Professional Ambulance, Jackie Baginski, previously worked as a fundraiser for Governor Gina Raimondo. Baginski also served on Raimondo's inaugural committee, and was appointed by Raimondo to serve on the state Personnel Appeal Board.

Rhode Island faith, community and law enforcement leaders will gather tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 29th) at Burnside Park near Kennedy Plaza in Providence to hold a prayer vigil to address violence.

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m.  A group of faith leaders, including Rev. Joyce Penfield, Pastor Jabulani McCalister, Rev. Don Anderson, Rabbi Wayne Franklin, Fr. Joseph Escobar, Imam Farid Ansari and Rev Chontelle Washington and Rev. Wayne Garganta will attend.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State officials on Monday announced the availability of two tax incentives, both contained in the budget passed by the General Assembly in June, that are meant to improve Rhode Island's economy.

How's that presidential campaign working out for you? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and feedback are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.


Former governor Lincoln Chafee announced his departure from the presidential race Friday morning, six months after he launched what proved to be a quixotic bid for the nation's top office.

"As you know I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace," Chafee said, in prepared remarks for an address to a group of Democratic women in Washington. "But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today.  I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Open government advocates expressed frustration Tuesday about what they called diminished access to information and records under the administration of Governor Gina Raimondo. The governor's chief of staff, Stephen Neuman, responded by vowing the state will do better and by issuing a memo calling on state agencies to prioritize disclosure in difficult cases "whenever possible."

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

While stopping short of announcing a re-election campaign, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is trumpeting his record, as the city's longtime Democratic Chairman, Michael Sepe, plans to formally launch his mayoral run on November 1 at 39 West Restaurant.

"I am extremely proud of my accomplishments as mayor of Cranston," Fung said in a statement to RIPR. "We brought millions of dollars of economic development to Cranston, particularly in Chapel View and Garden City, as well as growth in manufacturing at TACO, Yushin America and Cadence Inc."

Bradford Gorham, the quintessential Yankee Republican political figure, former Rhode Island House Minority Leader, Republican state chairman and candidate for lieutenant governor and attorney general, died early this morning at his home in Foster. He was 80.

Gorham had been suffering from prostate cancer, said his son and law partner, former state representative  Nick Gorham.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Members of Governor Gina Raimondo’s staff are set to meet with representatives of five open government groups Tuesday afternoon at the State House to discuss recent criticism about a lack of government transparency.

Raimondo’s chief of staff, Stephen Neuman, is slated to lead the 4:30 pm meeting, according to spokeswoman Marie Aberger. The governor's legal counsel, Claire Richards, and communications director, Joy Fox, and/or Aberger are also expected to attend the meeting in Neuman's office.

Happy mid-October and thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go

RIPR file photo

After a bruising week, former governor Lincoln Chafee has no intention of getting out of the presidential race. Chafee has attracted critical attention following a nationally televised debate on CNN.

Chafee’s spokeswoman, Debbie Rich, said he plans to continue in the presidential race and has not considered dropping out.

Following the CNN debate, Rich says Chafee is motivated to bring what she calls a more peaceful approach to foreign policy challenges.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The state Department of Transportation will be required to immediately take comprehensive steps to correct years of federal Clean Water Act violations involving more than 200 bodies of water, under a consent agreement filed Thursday morning in U.S. District Court.


Tad Devine, the Providence native who is Democratic presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders top media consultant, said in an interview today that last night’s CNN Democratic presidential debate has resulted in $2 million in campaign contributions flowing into the Vermont senator’s campaign chest.

``The response has been incredible,’’ said Devine, who was busy today conducting post-debate interviews with reporters.


The Providence Journal has hired the former editor-in-chief of Digital First Media as its new executive editor, the paper reported Wednesday.