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.

RIP Tom Foley, the former House Speaker. Here is a wonderful, earthy story about President Lyndon Johnson and John Fogarty, the legendary Rhode Island Congressman who was a mentor to John F. Kennedy:

There is one element of the U.S. Congress that  government shutdowns, fiscal Thelma and Louise threats, and the endless disputes over Obamacare never seem to touch: the relentless search for campaign money by senators and representatives.

The latest Rhode Island example is 1st District Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. The ink was barely dry on the eleventh-hour deal that delayed the shutdown craziness for 90 days or so when Cicilline was on the Internet, begging for campaign money.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Tracy Breton, who covered courts and legal issues at the Providence Journal for 40 years, says an ongoing series of buyouts and layoffs on Fountain Street will make it increasingly difficult for the paper to offer investigative reporting and in-depth journalism.

Clay Pell, a grandson of the late US Senator Claiborne Pell, is looking at a possible Democratic run for governor in 2014, according to local Democrats.

Contrary to popular belief, TGIF was not MIA last week due to the presence of a Friday afternoon post-season Red Sox game. Regardless, we're back this week, and Rhode Island keeps on giving, so let's get going. (Gratuitous reminder: you can follow me on Twitter.)

Mike Guilfoyle, the smart and helpful press spokesman for Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, is leaving the diocese to become Assumption College’s communications chief.

``Michael brings over 15 years of senior leadership experience in the communications field to Assumption marketing and communications efforts,’’ said college president Francesco Cesareo. ``His professionalism, creativity and understanding of social media will serve the college well.’’

The state Labor Relations Board has slated an election for later this month so state-subsidized child care workers can vote on whether they want to join a union. The law allowing the workers to unionize was passed this year by the General Assembly.

It seems sometimes like every Rhode Island business and political leader points to the better economy in Massachusetts. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looked across the state border and finds more myth than reality.

A.H. Belo, the Dallas-based owner of the Providence Journal, is selling the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California, to Freedom Communications for $27.25 million dollars.

Via news release, A.H. Belo CEO Jim Moroney says:

While the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is blasting the RI Labor Relations Board decision to move ahead with a vote on unionizing state-subsidized child care workers, it is difficult to question the labor panel’s reasoning.

Some history here:  Mike Stenhouse, ceo of the conservative Freedom & Prosperity group, asked the labor board to delay a vote until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a challenge to a somewhat similar union quest   in Illinois.

With 11 months until Rhode Island's Democratic gubernatorial primary next September, a new Brown University poll shows state Treasurer Gina Raimondo with an eight percentage point lead over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

The survey of 433 likely Democratic primary voters has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error, and it shows Raimondo with 42 percent of the support, Taveras with 33.6 percent, while 24.4 percent of respondents remain undecided.

Twelve Providence Journal employees -- four in the news department and eight in advertising -- have agreed to take the company's latest buyout. The Providence Newspaper Guild expects the newspaper to move ahead with layoffs, since it hoped to eliminate about 30 positions.

House Speaker Gordon Fox has put an end to the suspense about his political future, telling Democratic state reps at a closed caucus Monday that he won't be running for mayor of Providence.

RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay first encountered Bristol as a journalist in the 1980s and he has lived there for more than decade. In this week’s commentary, linked to our One Square Mile series on Bristol, he  explains why he’ll never call himself a Bristolian, no matter how long he lives in town.

In Bristol, as in Faulkner’s south, the past is never dead. It isn’t even past.  History and the sparkling waters of Narragansett and Mount Hope bays define a community that is more than three centuries old.

Secretary of State Ralph Mollis joins us on Bonus Q+A to talk about his record after two terms in the job, his qualifications for lieutenant governor and a range of other issues.