Tis the high season of summer in the Ocean State and the time of hijinks at the State House. As the hours dwindle towards adjournment, items big and small sometimes get lost in the last-minute shuffle as the competing egos in the House and Senate square off.
One very important economic development and education issue to watch: the fate of the resolution needed to move forward the plan to revive a gateway to the old Jewelry District in Providence by putting a nursing school in the old Dynamo Building, the onetime South Street power station.
In a wise move by the Rhode Island Foundation, the foundation has hired Chris Barnett, press spokesman for Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, to become senior public affairs officer.
Barnett has long been one of the state’s most reporter-friendly and helpful p.r. folks in a number of positions, including Rhode Island Housing. His knowledge of state election and public records and e-commerce laws was top notch and his awareness and concern for media deadlines won him respect over the years from journalists.
State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has proven herself a superstar at raising campaign cash. Yet as independent-turned-Democrat Governor Lincoln Chafee faces what looks like a difficult primary next year, his ability to contribute mightily to his own campaign is a definite asset.
Walking the streets of Bristol this week is an exercise in Old Home Week. In the taverns, markets and at the concerts at Independence Park, the historic town is a welter of hugs and handshakes as people who haven’t seen each other in years greet and talk about the old times.
This week is the high social season for Bristol. The hydrangeas are in bloom, the red, white and blue stripe has been freshly painted on Hope Street and the peach and plum sunsets explode over the harbor.
Malcolm `Mac” Farmer III was once one of Providence’s best known Republicans, a city council member with a sharp eye for financial and legal issues. A prominent lawyer, Farmer was a staunch moderate and supporter of civil rights who was a well-regarded voice of reason on a council riven by ethnic and partisan grandstanding . He is the husband of Susan Farmer, a Republican who in 1982 became the first women elected to statewide office in Rhode Island when she won as secretary of state.
When Gov. Lincoln Chafee and gay marriage advocates two years ago touted its economic benefits for Rhode Island they were widely disparaged. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why Chafee and his allies may well be right.