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.

Full archives of this blog can be found here.

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RI News
2:27 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

RIP George Borts, Brown U. economics professor

George Borts, a prominent Brown University economics professor and researcher, has died.

Borts was a teacher and mentor for generations of Brown economics students. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1950 after studying under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. Borts retired last year after teaching and researching economic issues for 63 years.

One of his students was Janet Yellen, head of the Federal Reserve. She was a 1967 Brown graduate.

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On Politics
2:07 pm
Sun May 4, 2014

Jack Reed formally announces his re-election bid

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed D-R.I., made official this morning what everyone in Rhode Island’s political circuit  assumed: That he is a candidate for reelection to a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

Reed’s announcement came before a crowd of 1,000 of his supporters at the senator’s 25th annual May Breakfast at Rhodes-on-the- Pawtuxet in his home city of Cranston.

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On Politics
4:56 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

TGIF: 12 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

A hint of summer in the air as we tap away this afternoon, so welcome back to my Friday column, where your tips and thoughts are always welcome via idonnis (at) ripr (dot). You can follow my news and notes through the week via the twitters. Here we go.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
10:58 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: Rhode Island's Democrats vs. Massachusetts

RI Democrats could take a page out of Massachusetts' book when dealing with the economy.
Credit RIPR FILE

Rhode Island Democrats should look to Massachusetts for some leadership on the economy. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay explains why.

Rhode Island is once again ensnared in a noisy political campaign season. The stench of government corruption has led to new leadership on Smith Hill. Gordon Fox is out as speaker and Nick Mattiello is in. Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly by big margins. Yet the historic majority party can’t seem to speak with a coherent voice on our state’s struggling economy.

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On Politics
10:18 am
Fri May 2, 2014

ProJo Medical Reporter Felice Freyer Heading to The Boston Globe

In a significant loss for the Providence Journal, one of its most expert and experienced beat reporters, medical writer Felice Freyer, is leaving in early June to take a job at The Boston Globe.

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On Politics
6:51 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

House Votes 70-0 To Kill Master Lever; Paiva Weed "Keeping An Open Mind"

Rep Doreen Costa (R-North Kingstown) rebutted one colleague's concern by saying grandparents are "smart cookies" who can understand voting without the master lever.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House, in an abrupt change after years of indifference to the issue, voted unanimously Thursday to eliminate the use of the master lever in Rhode Island in 2014. Through her spokeswoman, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed said she's "keeping an open mind about the legislation to eliminate the straight ticket voting option from Rhode Island ballots."

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On Politics
4:41 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Vincent Mesolella reelected chairman of Narragansett Bay Authority

Vincent J. Mesolella has been reelected chairman of the board of commissioners of the Narragansett Bay Commission, the agency that runs sewage treatment facilities in metropolitan Providence communities.

Mesolella, who has been chairman of 19-member commission since the 1990s, was reelected unanimously at a commission meeting yesterday, said Jamie Samons, the commission’s public affairs officer.

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On Politics
2:53 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Pell's Education Plan Targets Relieving College Debt, Reducing Drop-outs

Pell during a recent news conference
Credit Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell says the top goals of his education plan include cutting the high school dropout rate and relieving debt for college students.

Pell outlined his vision Wednesday as children played outside the Agnes Hennessey elementary school in  East Providence.

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On Politics
8:50 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

House Judiciary Committee Votes to Kill the Master Lever

Judiciary Chairman Cale Keable reads into the record the names of master lever repeal supporters who left before they had a chance to testify.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

After years of opposition have failed to yield a response, the House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday evening to this year eliminate the use in Rhode Island of the master lever.

Critics have complained for decades that the master lever is outdated, confuses voters, and offers an advantage to the Democrats who rule the General Assembly.

In what could be an early win for Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, the full House is slated to vote on the issue Thursday. Similar legislation has yet to emerge from the Senate Judiciary Committee or be scheduled for a full Senate vote.

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On Politics
1:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Should Warwick taxpayers subsidize Ray McKay's Senate bid?

Raymond McKay’s Republican U.S. Senate candidacy seems to depend on his legal battle with Warwick city officials over whether he should be allowed to keep his city job while he runs for office.

Local media outlets have much of McKay’s alleged ``right’’ to run for any office he chooses. Steve Brown of the R.I. Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Providence Journal that the Warwick city ordinance that bars classified municipal employees from running for office is ``overly broad’’ and too restrictive.

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