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.


Once again, Rhode Island lawmakers are ensnared in a joust over extending ethics oversight of the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the measure isn’t likely to usher in change on Smith Hill.

Gage Skidmore / Southern New Hampshire University/flickr

Rhode Islander Tad Devine is the chief messenger for insurgent Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay caught up with Devine recently to talk about Sanders surprising success.

Federal Wildlife Service

Rhode Island’s New England neighbors are moving aggressively forward with legalizing marijuana. RIPR political analyst says the Ocean State shouldn’t be last to tap a new source of state money.

Whatever you think about legal marijuana, it is difficult to defend the current prohibition of the weed. 

New Hampshire Public Radio

The only sure element of the 2016 presidential sweepstakes, in the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary , is that both Democrats and Republicans now face long nominating battles.

The party elites hate this – short and sweet nominating contests work best for them. Long campaigns drain money and effort away from the general election and create internecine jousts. That doesn’t mean, as in the Democratic battle of 2008, that the primary wounds can’t be healed, but it does take time.

cmh2315fl / flickr

The moment of truth in the presidential primary campaign comes tomorrow as voters in New Hampshire head to polls for the New Hampshire primary. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay, who has covered Granite State primaries since 1980, has a roadmap to the contest.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island has yet another study on what ails our state’s economy, this time from the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what it will take to translate this plan into action.


As we celebrate the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why we still haven’t made the progress that King envisioned.

Today is the day we honor King, the preacher and activist who pricked the conscience of a nation. 


Rhode Island is once again near the bottom in a national ranking of the 50 states.  Usually that’s a reason for concern, but in this case, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the bottom is a good place to be.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 2016 Rhode Island General Assembly session kicks off tomorrow. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has a preview of what to expect and some New Year's resolutions to suggest to the returning lawmakers.

As predictable as a winter chill, lawmakers throng Smith Hill tomorrow for the new  year. There will be the usual mélange of grandstanding,  pomposity and first-day-of- school style greetings.


As the days dwindle to 2016, Scott MacKay has some Christmas and New Year’s thoughts for Rhode Island’s politicians. With sincere apologies to Clement Moore.

RIPR file photo

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s first year in office has been dominated by a caustic dispute with the city’s unionized firefighters. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why the labor dispute has gotten so nasty.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, an independent agency has questioned Providence city government’s financial direction. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why Mayor Jorge Elorza and the city council aren’t taking this more seriously.


Tis the season of shopping, socializing and celebrating. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says commercialism has over shadowed the holiday season.

John Bender / RIPR

Since the Paris terrorist attacks, Americans and Rhode Islanders have been engaged in debate over the fate of refugees.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Islanders must consider our state’s immigrant heritage.


Tourism has long been a foundation of Rhode Island’s economy. As Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration rolls out a new tourism promotion plan, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the state must include local tourism councils in any new initiative.