Scott MacKay's Commentary

Monday 6:35 AM and 8:35 AM

With a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Vermont and a wealth of knowledge of local politics, it was a given that Scott MacKay would become a weekly commentator for RIPR on Ocean State politics.  He also sits on the RIPR Political Roundtable.

As a former political reporter for The Providence Journal, MacKay has spent more than thirty years documenting the ins and outs of politics in Rhode Island and New England. MacKay is married to Dr. Staci Fisher, an infectious diseases specialist.

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Rhode Island voters have sent another progressive Democratic woman to Smith Hill, Dawn Euer, who won a vacant Senate seat in Newport. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this trend could bring debate over abortion back to the Statehouse.  


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The white supremacist march in Charlottesville has stirred a variety of emotions. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says there should be only one takeaway from this demonstration.  

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This summer, there was good news and bad news for public employees.  RI Gov. Gina Raimondo vetoed legislation that would have kept their labor contracts in effect while a new contract is under negotiation.  But the governor allowed a measure to make it easier for police and firefighters to get tax-free disability pensions. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Raimondo may have gotten her priorities wrong on these bills.  


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Charlie Baker, a Republican in Democratic Massachusetts, is a popular governor.  Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat in a Democratic state, has just middling approval ratings.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay contrasts the political fortunes of these two New England governors. 


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Now that the latest Republican effort to replace the Affordable Care Act has failed, RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to resurrect some ideas with roots in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  


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The National Governor’s Conference brought leaders from around the world to Providence to discuss such topics as trade, climate change and the opioid crisis. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says this was a sharp contrast with Rhode Island, where lawmakers can’t even figure out how to approve a state budget. 

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Rhode Island is now a week into a new fiscal year without an approved budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the longer this goes on, the worse lawmakers look. 


Manuel C. Correira / RIPR

Few institutions in our society remain relevant for more than two centuries. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes us to his adopted hometown of Bristol, where the 232nd Independence Day parade steps off Tuesday.

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Sometimes it’s hard to figure who’s in charge at the Rhode Island Statehouse. This year isn’t one of those times, as RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains.

In case you were wondering who’s running things on Smith Hill these days, we bring you House Speaker Nick Mattiello, a Cranston Democrat who has ushered in a $9.2 billion state budget that includes his pet project, cutting Rhode Island’s  disdained car tax.

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Former Gov. and U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee is back on the scene with a series of media appearances. Chafee is thinking about running for governor again, but RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay wonders why. 

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Why does the 38 Studios disaster still haunt Rhode Island’s political reputation? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has been thinking about the video game company since state police released more documents from the investigation.  


Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island House Speaker Nick Mattiello has put forward a plan to get rid of the car tax. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s a fine plan, but he asks a nettlesome question  – can the state afford it?  

Sakeeb Sabakka / Creative Commons License By 2.0

Across Rhode Island, college graduates are headed to the wider world. But many of them will spend years paying down the student loans that financed their degrees. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to give students a break, and bring down the cost of higher education.   

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The sun is out, baseball bats are cracking, and Rhode Island is embroiled in another ballpark saga that appears headed to extra innings. In this game, Raimondo is going to have to come out of the bullpen with a strong closing performance, or a new field for the Pawtucket Red Sox isn’t likely.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, corruption overshadows the financial and social struggles of Providence city government. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the indictment of Council President Luis Aponte. 

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