Democrats

Flo Jonic / RIPR

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who has taken a leadership role in the democratic drive to renew long-term unemployment insurance benefits, has made a national call for Republicans to join the effort.

Reed was one of four Senate democrats who held a nationwide media conference call Sunday in an effort to break a congressional logjam over long-term unemployment insurance. The insurance expired last week when lawmakers failed to extend a recession-era law providing nearly a year of benefits after state jobless benefits run out.

So you think you have a dysfunctional family and are dreading the holidays. Well, the odds are very good that your kin are not as divided as that of Rep. Charlene Lima, a Democrat who represents parts of Cranston and Providence.

Lima is married to a former Democratic state representative, Frank Fiorenzano, a notorious  Providence pol who was convicted in the 1990s of obtaining money under false pretenses after he bilked Statehouse employees and other politicians out of thousands of dollars in a doomed Ponzi-type scheme.

Money isn’t everything in political campaigns. Yet, it is a lot of things, explains Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay who ponders the role of campaign cash in the 2014 RI Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Jesse Unruh, speaker of the California Assembly, coined the term back in 1966. ``Money,’’ said Unruh. ``is the mother’s milk of politics.’’

Both Rhode Island Democratic U.S. Senators supported Majority Leader Harry Reid’s  decision to change Senate rules to break Republican filibusters of President Obama’s nominees.

Sen. Jack Reed said he doesn’t see the change to get a majority rule threshhold for nominees as a victory for either Democrats or Republicans. Rather, Reed said, ``the goal is to get Congress working more effectively because the country deserves better.’’

It’s been a half-century  years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay explores why Kennedy loved Rhode Island and why the Ocean State loved JFK.

Our state is America’s smallest yet  it loomed large in the life of John F. Kennedy.

From the time Kennedy was a young man, he and his family were shaped by experiences in Rhode Island.  If any event forged the career of John Kennedy it was his World War II heroics as a patrol torpedo lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo is adding Eric Hyers, who managed David Cicilline's two successful congressional campaigns, to her stable of political talent as she gears up for a Democratic run for governor next year.

In a telephone interview, Hyers would say only that his role is to "get her and her team ready as we approach the end of the year." He declined comment on other questions, including whether he'll remain part of Raimondo's team through 2014.

Although General Treasurer Gina Raimondo hasn't yet declared her expected Democratic campaign for governor, she continues to outpace Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in campaign fundraising.

During the third quarter that ended with the close of September, Raimondo raised about $412,000 (bringing her cash on hand to more than $2.3 million), while Taveras brought in $154,000 (bringing his war chest to $759,150.)

The Washington Post has the story on how Rhode Island's Joseph Caramadre case has reverberated in the Virginia governor's race. The story, by Post reporter Laura Vozzella, describes how ``a dying mechanic wanted a few thousand dollars to leave to his wife, two sons and infant daughter. A politically connected millionaire, now running for Virginia governor, wanted to make some money. And a Rhode Island estate planner wantd to become ambassador to the Vatican.

``All three came together in late 2006 in a deal struck just two months before the 44-year old mechanic died of cancer.''

With the Democratic field for governor next year still coming into focus, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo continue to scrap over the issue of third-party spending.

On Thursday, a day after Taveras unveiled his proposal for a "People's Pledge" to squelch super PACs and other forms of third-party spending in next year's primary race, the mayor's campaign organization released a copy of a letter to Raimondo. It calls on her to sign the pledge and reads in part:

Trillium Asset Managment

Seth Magaziner, the youngest and least politically experienced of three Democrats running for general treasurer, formally announced his campaign Tuesday morning.

There is one element of the U.S. Congress that  government shutdowns, fiscal Thelma and Louise threats, and the endless disputes over Obamacare never seem to touch: the relentless search for campaign money by senators and representatives.

The latest Rhode Island example is 1st District Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. The ink was barely dry on the eleventh-hour deal that delayed the shutdown craziness for 90 days or so when Cicilline was on the Internet, begging for campaign money.

Clay Pell, a grandson of the late US Senator Claiborne Pell, is looking at a possible Democratic run for governor in 2014, according to local Democrats.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Secretary of State Ralph Mollis joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the partial federal government shutdown; his plans for 2014; whether Rhode Island really needs a lieutenant governor; and the Rolling Stone story on pension cuts.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

David Caprio warmed to the task of scorning Republicans following his unanimous election Thursday night as the new chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party. Speaking before a few hundred party insiders at the Portuguese Club in Cranston, he offered a series of comparison-contrast points to highlight how, as he described it, Democrats remain the party of working families.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island Democrats plan to make their selection of a new state chairman official this evening Thursday.  Former state rep David Caprio won the backing for the post last month from House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Democrats will hold a state committee meeting this evening to elect Caprio as their new chairman. No other candidates for the volunteer position are expected.

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