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.


Top Rhode Island lawmakers are pushing legislation to rename T.F. Green Airport as Rhode Island International Airport, a shift designed to strengthen the Warwick airport’s recognition. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island state Sen. Nicholas Kettle pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he twice extorted a former legislative page to engage in sex in 2011.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's campaign has released a copy of a fundraising agreement reached last month between her campaign and the Providence Democratic City Committee.

A sadly familiar story dominates the news once again.  Meanwhile, the political beat remains busy in the Biggest Little. As usual your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Providence Preservation Society

Brown University plans to demolish several historic houses on Providence’s College Hill to make way for a new arts center. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay hopes the university hasn’t set this proposal in concrete.

Rhode Island state Senator Nicholas Kettle (R-Coventry) was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of video voyeurism and extortion.

Kettle, 27, has served in the Senate since first winning election in 2010.

Asked about the allegations underlying the voyeurism charge, State Police Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Philbin said, “Basically, he transmitted pornographic pictures of his girlfriend without her permission electronically.”

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Islanders need more education to get better jobs. 

That was one of the main findings of a recent report by the Economic Progress Institute, a think tank that works to improve the well-being of low and moderate-income Rhode Islanders. The institute’s executive director, Rachel Flum, sat down to discuss the report and related topics.


Lillian Calderon, the woman who was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last month, was released to her husband Tuesday and returned to Rhode Island.


In a split decision, The Rhode Island Supreme Court has decided that the state Retirement Board was entitled to question a tax-free disability pension paid to a former Cranston police officer who objected after his pension was cut by the state.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint over a fundraising agreement between Governor Gina Raimondo and the Providence Democratic City Committee.

There was a lot going down in Providence this week, so that's a good place to start Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Those of us of a certain age recall when Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. They were guys who wore horn rimmed glasses, charcoal suits and skinny ties and went to the Rotary and Lions. On Sunday mornings, they were in church or on the golf course. They all liked Ike, except for a few National Review-reading conservatives who wanted smaller government and thought Eisenhower was running  a “Dime-store New Deal.”

RIPR file photo

The Rhode Island governors’ race is getting underway. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the campaign’s negative start doesn’t bode well for voters seeking a serious discussion of state issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Common Cause of Rhode Island executive director John Marion said a fundraising agreement between Governor Gina Raimondo and the Providence Democratic City Committee does not appear to violate any laws or ethics guidelines.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

As part of Rhode Island Public Radio's series One Square Mile: New Bedford, political analyst Scott MacKay reflects on the city's past, from whaling to textiles, to its role in the Underground Railroad.