Scott MacKay's Commentary

Monday 6:45 AM, 8:45 AM, and 5:44 PM

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.

PROVIDENCE, RI – As 2011 winds to a close, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it's time to reflect on the contributions of some Rhode Islanders who won't be around to celebrate the New Year.

That nostalgic Scottish ballard Auld Lang Syne will be sung over and again this New Year's Eve as we toast the end of the year with a cup o' kindness.

The question Robby Burns asks in this anthem is timeless: Should those we loved and knew be forgotten?

PROVIDENCE, RI – More and more holiday shoppers are buying presents online. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay tells us why this is bad for both mom and pop stores and state government.

Rhode Islanders of a certain age will remember when the only mention of a mouse and Christmas came during annual recitations of Clement Clarke Moore's classic poem, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Islanders pretty much always know where U.S. Sen. Jack Reed stands on issues. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has found a hot-button social issue on which Reed has been mum.

Jack Reed has long been Rhode Island's most respected political figure. Even in the anti-Washington and anti-incumbent swirl that has enveloped the nation's capitol, every Rhode Island public opinion survey for years has shown high job approval ratings for Reed.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Both sides are impassioned in the debate over the pension overhaul. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that in order to fix this critical problem, everyone must be willing to compromise.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The ragtag army that is the Occupy Wall Street movement has been ridiculed by politicians, talk show nation and many in the media. But with a Congressional Budget Office report showing the top 1 percent nearly tripled their wealth in the last 30 years, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this protest seems to be resonating with the remaining 99 percent.

Photo by James Wyman

PROVIDENCE, RI – The General Assembly has not helped its image much lately. But Rhode Island's pension mess has given the Smith Hill crowd a chance at redemption, says RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Photo by Ian Donnis.

PROVIDENCE, RI – A year is a lifetime in politics these days, but there is little doubt that Cicilline's reelection has drawn the most interest so far. A flock of credible candidates are lining up to challenge the freshman Democrat and he is out meeting and greeting as if the vote was taking place next month rather than next year.


Protestors waving anti-car tax signs gathered outside Providence City Hall recently to criticize the tax increases proposed by Mayor Angel Taveras and the city council. And more than 200 people showed up at last week's Warwick City Council meeting to fire away at Mayor Scott Avedisian's plan to increase car taxes to pay for city services.

PROVIDENCE, RI – One of the storm clouds gathering over Rhode Island's economic future is our poorly educated work force. Our state ranks near the bottom of New England in the number of college educated workers that employers need for the jobs of a new century.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The cliche is that politics makes strange bedfellows. WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay brings us the odd couple that is working together to fix the Providence financial mess.

Shortly after Angel Taveras was elected Providence mayor, City Council President Mike Solomon brought Taveras some bad news; the city's finances were in shambles, worse than they had been depicted by former Mayor David Cicilline.

At first Taveras was skeptical; things couldn't be that dire, he thought.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island's General Assembly has enacted legislation requiring all voters to get photo identification. WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why our recession-racked state is spending taxpayer dollars on this one.

PROVIDENCE, RI – On Independence Day, Rhode Islanders can celebrate our state's embrace of a first step towards full marriage equality for our gay citizens.

After a tortuous debate, the Rhode Island General Assembly has finally approved legislation that grants our gay citizens the right to civil unions.

PROVIDENCE, RI – It's been 40 years since President Richard Nixon declared a national war on drugs. WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if the marijuana skirmish in this battle is still worth fighting in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island is once again out of synch with our New England neighbors on an important social policy: the way our criminal laws treat users of small amounts of marijuana.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island's looming pension insolvency threatens the state's future. WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay says the pension issue begs an even bigger question: Can state government solve the really big problems?

It has been 20 years since Rhode Island's political elite faced a situation as daunting as the current need to rework the public employee state pension systems.

PROVIDENCE, RI – One of Rhode Island's greatest assets is the respect we have for our storied past. WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay says the General Assembly can nurture our state's historic architecture and generate jobs.

The talk at the State House these days is gloomy. State government is broke, public pension liabilities threaten our economic future and unemployment is still hovers in double digits.