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.

Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee said Monday he's looking forward to taking part in debate being staged by October 13 in Las Vegas.

"I look forward to joining the other distinguished Democratic candidates CNN has invited to debate the issues on October 13th," Chafee said in a statement. "I know from my previous campaigns that voters highly value the chance to assess the candidates in a debate format."

Chafee has attracted barely any support since he announced his campaign in April.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 38 Studios lawsuit disclosures have once again cast a cloud over the Rhode Island Statehouse. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders when Rhode Islanders will finally be fed up enough to bring change to Smith Hill.

There will be a day when Rhode Island moves beyond 38 Studios, but that day is a long time off. The public release Thursday of tens of thousands of pages of documents is just one more step toward trying to get a better understanding of Rhode Island's most recent scandal. So with that in mind, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, weighed in this afternoon on the release of the 38 Studios court documents.

It was Chafee, a vigorous opponent of the 38 Studios deal when he was running for governor in 2010, who later hired lawyer Max Wistow to file suit against principals in the deal. 38 Studios went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers holding the bag for $75 million in state-backed bonds to the company run by former Boston Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling.

Providence Diocese

One of the most interesting aspects of how the historic visit of Pope Francis resonates in Rhode Island is how Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence reacts to the message of His Holiness.

Rhode Island’s bishop has carved a reputation as a staunch and outspoken defender of conservative, traditional teachings. Tobin has often been vitriolic and rough in his criticism of liberal positions on such social and cultural issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

During a closed session on June 9, 2010, the board of Rhode Island's Economic Development Corporation received a briefing on what then-Governor Don Carcieri suggested was a "fairly significant transaction" that had presented itself to the EDC.

Democratic operative Peter Baptista is taking a job doing government sales with SAS, the global software and analytics company, RIPR has learned.

Baptista led Rhode Island Democrats' coordinated campaign last year, when the party completely shut out Republicans in races for state and federal offices for the first time in decades.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Local 799, the International Association of Firefighters, are locked in an increasingly bitter dispute about cutting overtime spending in the Fire Department, the latest in a string of conflicts between the union and city leaders. 

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is making deputy treasurer/chief legal counsel Jeff Padwa his chief of staff following the departure of Andrew Roos earlier this month.

Padwa, formerly city solicitor in Providence, has been active in Democratic politics and co-chaired President Obama's Rhode Island campaign in 2008. He joined Treasury when Magaziner took office in January.

Raymond "Beaver" Tempest Jr., a 62-year-old Woonsocket man whose murder conviction has been vacated in Rhode Island Superior Court, has been released on home confinement while the Rhode Island Supreme Court considers the state’s appeal of the Superior Court judgment.

Tempest will be released on home confinement under terms set by Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini, who vacated Tempest’s murder conviction on August 4.

Kate Brewster, executive director and co-founder of the Economic Progress Institute, is leaving the low-income advocacy and research group after 11 years to become executive director of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, which provides food and clothing to needy local residents in South County while also engaging in policy initiatives and advocacy.

``It is with tremendous mixed emotions that I leave the institute, an organization that has had a lasting and profound impact on the ability of Rhode Islanders to make ends meet,’’ said Brewster in a statement.

The state Ethics Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to investigate a revolving door complaint filed by the state Republican Party against former state Rep. Donald Lally.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza considers Victory Place -- offered in April as an alternative ballpark site for the PawSox -- a potential home for the Triple A team, even though Lifespan acquired it earlier this month.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Plans by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build a casino in Taunton, Massachusetts, will not affect Twin River's quest to create a so-called "convenience casino" in Tiverton, a Twin River spokeswoman said Monday,

"It has no bearing on our plans in Tiverton," spokesman Patti Doyle said.

The Mashpee Wampanoags are staging a noon Monday news conference at Taunton City Hall to discuss their plans.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The Pawtucket Red Sox officially pronounced dead Saturday night their quest to build a ballpark on part of the former I-195 land in Providence, an effort that went onto life support in recent weeks due a variety of hurdles.

In a statement, PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino said the team was suspending its pursuit of the I-195 parcels and "will cease its public campaign for the I-195 riverfront site."