Angel Taveras

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Children who know more words tend to do better in school, and that has some researchers wondering whether early language may offer a key to closing the achievement gap. That’s why Providence has launched Providence Talks, with millions of dollars from the Bloomberg Foundation. The program hopes to boost children’s vocabularies by teaching parents to be chattier with their babies and toddlers.

Data from a pilot study due out Monday shows promise. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison went on a home visit with a Providence Talks coach, to see how the program works.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Eric Hyers, who managed Governor Gina Raimondo's winning campaign last year, has signed on to pilot what is expected to be a competitive re-election fight for Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Hyers previously led two winning races for Congressman David Cicilline, including his initial 2010 vault into Congress, as well as campaigns in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has been in office at Providence City Hall for nearly three months now, but if you look at the city’s official economic development web site, you might come to the conclusion that Angel Taveras is still mayor.

Mayor Jorge Elorza pledged to build a `New Providence’  amid an improving economy  as he delivered his inaugural address this afternoon on the chilly, sun-splashed steps  of Providence’s Beaux-Arts City Hall.

Elorza, the second consecutive mayor of Latino descent tied his immigrant family’s journey  with Providence’s history as a welcoming city for generations of the newly arrived and emphasized the need for a new economic order.

Jorge Elorza Becomes Providence's 38th Mayor

Jan 5, 2015
John Bender / RIPR

Elorza and a crowd of dignitaries braved the wind and cold to see Jorge Elorza be sworn in as the city’s 38th mayor. Governor-elect Gina Raimondo said she is filled with optimism about the city’s future. Gov. Lincoln Chafee was on hand, as was former mayor Angel Taveras, and the state’s entire congressional delegation.

Happy New Year! Is it the dawn of a new era in Rhode Island, or just a fresh path to more of the same? The answers will come in the months and years ahead, and we'll be following them here each week. So thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to drop me a tip or comment at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is getting ready to leave City Hall after a tumultuous few years. Taveras lost his bid to become governor, but he takes credit for helping to stabilize Providence's finances. The mayor talked about his record and what's next during a wide-ranging exit interview.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Providence has dropped its lawsuit against the bank Santander. The suit filed back in May claimed the bank deliberately limited lending in minority neighborhoods while expanding lending in white ones.

At the time, lawyers called the bank’s lending practices a civil rights issue. Less than six months later, they settled. Santander will make $1.3 million in grants going to the Providence Community Library, arts organization AS220, and a non-profit that will help low-income residents secure a mortgage.

Update: The Providence Teachers Union announced its endorsement of Buddy Cianci today. The unions representing firefighters and police have also endorsed Cianci. In once of those grand ironies that limn Rhode Island politics, the police union has endorsed a two-time felon over a judge, Jorge Elorza.

So it looks like Providence mayoral campaign politics reared its head in the negotiations between the union representing public school teachers and the administration of Mayor Angel  Taveras?

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says he has no regrets about his thwarted campaign for governor, nor does he wish he sought a second term as mayor. He’s is officially throwing his support behind General Treasurer Gina Raimondo in the Governor’s race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The primaries are over and now it’s time for the main event. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the Rhode Island campaign for governor.

Rhode Island voters will make history in November by choosing either Republican Allan Fung or Democrat Gina Raimondo as their next governor. Raimondo would be the first woman governor;  Fung would be the first Asian-American.

Anthony Pesaturo, the veteran pollster and political consultant, and Andrew Annaldo, former Democratic city councilman and mayoral candidate, are conducting exit polls today at voting precincts in the Elmhurst and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods of Providence. The neighborhoods are redoubts of old Providence, the city of Italian and Irish Americans, but a smattering of Latinos have moved in recent years. (Mayor Angel Taveras and his family live there, as does City Council President Michael Solomon).It has long been a Democratic Party redoubt.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell was a registered Republican as a young man in Arizona.  Pell registered as a Democrat when he moved to Newport in 2003.

Pell says he registered as a Republican at age 17 because that was the party of his parents. Pell has described himself in this campaign as the progressive Democrat in the race, and he says there’s no contradiction between that message his earlier GOP affiliation.

If the Rhode Island political news is coming this hot and heavy, what's it going to be like next week? The September 9 primary witching hour is steadily approach, so welcome back for another edition of my Friday column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and the land of 140-character notes awaits you via the twitters. Here we go.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week news director Catherine Welch and Mark talk with Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay. They discuss what Gov. Lincoln Chafee has hit and missed to boost the state’s economy and what the next governor will need to do to lift the state out of its economic doldrums.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.