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

A proposed ballpark for the PawSox in Providence and the vacant so-called Superman Building might seem to have little in common. Yet both raise questions involving economic development and the possible use of taxpayer subsidies. 

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Andrew Roos, who joined Gina Raimondo as chief of staff in 2013 as she was gearing up for her successful gubernatorial run and who remained in that role for state General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, announced Tuesday he's leaving for an unspecified private sector job. In related news, David Ortiz, who has led communications at City Hall for Mayors Angel Taveras and Jorge Elorza, is joining Magaziner's staff as communications director.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The National Governors Association’s annual summer meeting will be held in Rhode Island in 2017, the NGA announced Monday.

"We’re excited to bring the nation’s governors to Rhode Island, and we thank Gov. Gina Raimondo for her invitation,’’ said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, vice-chair of the NGA.

Retired Rhode Island Superior Court  Judge Edward C. Clifton has joined the faculty of Roger Williams University Law School, where he will work with students to conduct research on ethnic and racial fairness in the court system.

Clifton, who retired after more than 20 years on the Superior Court  bench, has wide legal experience in Rhode Island. Before his appointment to Superior Court, Clifton served as Providence city solicitor, and as a judge on both the Providence Municipal Court and on the Rhode Island District Court.

Old stories have a way of cycling back into the news in Rhode Island, and this otherwise quiet week was a case in point. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says lawmakers are unlikely to consider a revised proposal for a Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence until their next regular session in January.

Mattiello pointed to concerns about the ownership of the intended ballpark site, part of which is owned by Brown University, as well as an ongoing review related to an elaborate storm-water runoff system underneath the site.


Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, announced today that they will be supporting President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.

In a joint statement, Reed and Whitehouse said the agreement is the best way to ensure that Iran does not manufacture nuclear weapons.

Reed said he supports the deal, ``because it cuts off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon and gives international inspectors unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and supply chains.’’

Rhode Island State Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg has granted the state attorney general’s request that Raymond `Beaver’ Tempest stay in prison until the full court can decide his case.

McKena Goldberg blocked, at least for a month, the release of Tempest that was ordered by Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini.

Procaccini last month vacated Tempest’s conviction for the 1982 murder of Doreen Picard of Woonsocket after finding that police and state prosecutors violated his fair trial rights by withholding evidence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Opponents of a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence say they have gathered enough signatures to ask the City Council to effectively block the proposal. They plan to pursue that approach when the council returns from its August recess next month.

Urban Land Institute

The I-195 District Commission charged with overseeing the redevelopment of about 20 acres of land near downtown Providence on Monday hired Peter McNally, who has extensive experience with a global real estate investment company, as the commission's executive director.

McNally succeeds Jan Brodie, who somewhat abruptly announced her departure from the commission last month. He's slated to start in the role September 1.

Rhode Island’s largest legal gambling venue, Twin River Casino, is so far fending off a challenge to its gambling revenue from a new competitor, the Plainridge slot parlor in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported today that in July, the first full month of operation at the former horse-racing track, that the slot machines and electronic table games harvested $18.1 million in gambling revenue.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien are slated to visit Arjona, Colombia, this week to explore cultural exchanges.

"Central Falls has a rich Colombian heritage and I look forward to exploring ways to strengthening our relationship to make Central Falls stronger - specifically regarding economic development, education, and urban planning," Diossa said in a statement.

Grebien said he's excited to build on Pawtucket's sister-city relationship with Arjona.

Enjoy summer while you can. Happy Friday, and thanks for stopping by. As always, your tips and comments remain welcome via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Former Cranston police chief Marco Polombo Jr. wants the city to pay for his own legal representation to defend against two pending lawsuits.

A lawyer for Polombo said the ex-chief plans to rebut the 182-page State Police report that has roiled Cranston, and will take action against anyone who harms him or violates his rights.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Residents and some city councilors said Tuesday the findings of a lacerating State Police report have eroded their trust in Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

During an almost four-hour meeting at City Hall, a few residents called on Fung to resign. Carol Myron described herself as a longtime acquaintance of the mayor, and said she had spent most of the afternoon reading the 182-page report.