Democrats

Ian Donnis / RIPR

An incredible five days at the Rhode Island Statehouse have seen the resignation of Gordon Fox as House Speaker, and Cranston Representative Nicholas Mattiello replace him.  It is expected that many key positions in the House will be changing as well. 

Political Analyst Scott MacKay sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio host Chuck Hinman to discuss what all the changes mean for the legislative session.

Whither Clay Pell’s campaign for governor? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

How do you know your campaign is in trouble: When your car is getting more attention than your ideas.

That’s what’s happening to the infant campaign of Clay Pell, who would like to be our next governor.

Don Boorman / RIPR

From the Vatican to the White House and the Rhode Island Statehouse, the talk these days is about poverty. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what our small state can do to alleviate this scourge.

The Gospels tell us that the poor shall always be with us. Pope Francis has dedicated the early months of his papacy to highlighting the need to help the poor and plane the rough edges from unfettered capitalism.

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.

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