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.


The major candidates for Rhode Island governor have spent much of their campaigns focused on the economy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what they aren’t telling voters.

All of the Rhode Island political campaigns this year are talking about our state’s sluggish economy. In the governor’s contest between Republican Allan Fung, the Cranston mayor, and Democrat Gina Raimondo, the state treasurer, jobs and the economy often seem to be the only topic.


Today is Columbus Day, the holiday honoring  explorer Christopher Columbus. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why it’s the day political calendar signals crunch time in the Providence mayoral race.

As revelers feast on sausage and peppers and celebrate Rhode Island’s storied Italian-American culture  on Federal Hill, the three candidates vying to be the capital city’s mayor will be stumping for votes.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Narragansett Bay has encircled Rhode Island’s history and culture since the colonial era. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay kicks off our One Square Mile series on the bay.

Narragansett Bay was ours before we were Rhode Island. In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano sailed into the uncharted waters of the bay. He was impressed with what he saw, says Christopher Pastore, a professor at the SUNY at Albany and author of the new book `Between Land and Sea’ a history of the bay.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island has been a laggard in electing women to high office. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  on why that may change on November 4.

By most measures, Rhode Island is one of America’s most liberal and deepest blue of the 50 states. Our Washington, D.C. delegation is all-Democratic and no Republican holds any statewide or federal elected office.


Final musings Sunday a.m. before church and the Patriots opener.  Pats provide welcome respite to politics as the hours dwindle until Tuesday.

The biggest question in the Democratic gubernatorial primary is whether Clay Pell is incurring some last-minute cuts. His debate performances in the final week were underwhelming. And the revelation that he was a registered Republican when he lived in Arizona isn’t going to help him. Neither will the news that his skating queen wife, Michelle Kwan, was also registered with the GOP when she lived in California.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The televised air wars have started in the Democratic primary for governor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if voters are paying attention yet.

As the weeks dwindle towards the September primary, the advertising rhetoric among the major Democratic candidates has heated up. This is especially true of the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.


Just when you thought you knew the candidate field in the Providence mayoral campaign, things changed. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay’s thoughts on the capital city’s revised City Hall election.

Another week, another new twist in the Providence mayor campaign. The departure of independent Lorne Adrain from the race has set off a scramble for his supporters, most of whom hail from his home neighborhood on the city’s affluent East Side.


It’s election year in Rhode Island. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the one issue that never goes away in our small state – casino gambling.

There’s an old gallows humor joke about banks and creditors. If you owe the bank $30,000, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $300 million, you own the bank.


You may be fed up with Rhode Island politics. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says now is no time for Rhode Islanders to retreat into a cocoon of apathy.

It’s the high season of summer in our corner of southeastern New England. A time of blue skies, fluffy whipped cream clouds and sun-washed surf. It’s what many of us consider our best season. Proust had his madeleines. Rhode Island natives have our childhood memories stirred by plates stacked high with steamers, saugys and clambakes on the beach.


Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time for Rhode Island to get out from under this cliché.

Once again, conservative groups and business leaders are lobbying for big changes to Rhode Island’s estate tax. Called the ``death tax’’ by opponents, this tax is levied upon Rhode Island estates of more than about $922,000.

Wikimedia Commons

Once again, Rhode Islanders are making national news for the low regard we have for our tiny state. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to stop taking Rhode Island  for granted.

The Gallup poll discovered that Rhode Island is the state least appreciated by its own residents. Just 18 percent of Rhode Islanders said our small slice of southeastern New England was the best place or one of the best places to live.


What’s worse than the 38 Studios fiasco for Rhode Island ‘s political and economic reputation? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay points to the aftermath.

It’s been nearly four years since  then- Gov. Donald Carcieri, the state Economic Development Corporation and the General Assembly foisted the disaster that is 38 Studios on Rhode Island taxpayers.


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.

Bradley Campbell / RIPR

It’s been a year since bombs and blood in the streets shattered one of New England’s treasured civic celebrations.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the lessons of the Boston Marathon bombings as this year’s race approaches.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The stench of corruption has once again encircled the Rhode Island Statehouse. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to try something different on Smith Hill.

Unless you have been living in one of those 1950s-era nuclear bomb shelters, or the old East Side tunnel, you’ve probably heard of the latest Statehouse scandal. The state police and federal IRS and FBI agents raided the offices of House Speaker Gordon Fox 10 days ago. The next day he abruptly resigned.