Donald Carcieri

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 38 Studios lawsuit disclosures have once again cast a cloud over the Rhode Island Statehouse. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders when Rhode Islanders will finally be fed up enough to bring change to Smith Hill.

If anyone still cares about the Holiday/Christmas tree Statehouse kerfuffle, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced today that this year’s rotunda evergreen will be called a`` Christmas tree’’ and that Secretary of State Ralph Mollis will light it on Wednesday, December 3 at 6 p.m.

The 15-foor Fraser Fir evergreen was donated to the state by Sarah Partyka of the Farmer’s Daughter farm in South Kingstown.

``I am happy to be part of such a wonderful holiday tradition, lighting the State House Christmas tree,’’ said Mollis in a statement.

John Bender / RIPR FILE

With reports from Ian Donnis, RIPR political reporter

Gina Raimondo’s first transition three transition team appointments reflect three Rhode Islanders from the worlds of politics and business, say Statehouse sources.

In a joust that broke little new ground, Ken Block and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung hammered away at each other tonight in a WPRI-Channel 12-Providence Journal televised debate that came a week before their September 9 Republican gubernatorial showdown.

As the clock ticks in the Democratic primary election for governor, it is becoming apparent that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is caught in a left-right pincer movement between newcomer Clay Pell and State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

Raimondo tacks right, Pell to the left and Taveras is stuck in the middle, which is not always a great place to be in a primary historically dominated by the liberal, progressive side of the party. The other challenge for Taveras, who has pretty clearly become the underdog, is that he is not nearly as well financed as either Pell or Raimondo.

Aaron Read / RIPR

With three weeks to go, the Providence mayoral campaign is heating up. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what to look for in the Democratic primary as the days dwindle down.

One of Rhode Island’s favorite spectator and participant sports has long been Providence mayor elections. A mélange of circus, street theater and rugby scrum, this year’s campaign is bound to land in the capital city’s political Hall of Fame, and perhaps, shame.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung moved a step closer to capturing the Republican Party’s endorsement for governor, winning support from the RI GOP Nominating Committee at a meeting Thursday evening at party headquarters in Warwick.

Fung won 9 of the 14 votes on the committee, which makes recommendations for next week’s Republican State Convention, which will convene June 26th at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick to make the endorsement. Fung also received the nod of the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee, bringing to 18 the number of city and town GOP committees to back the Cranston mayor.

Providence – It was Mr. Inside, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, against Mr. Outside, Barrington businessman Ken Block,  as the two Republican candidates for governor clashed in the first televised debate of a campaign in which neither candidate has been shy about criticizing each other  in the early going.

It has become a Rhode Island cliché that Lincoln Chafee is a failed governor because he hasn’t done enough to create jobs in Rhode Island’s flagging economy.  This notion has been driven relentlessly by talk radio shills and the editorial and news pages of the state’s legacy print media outlets, some of which are groping for relevance in a reshaped media environment.

With all the attention given by R.I. media to economic inequality, one wonders why serious discussion of   solutions has gone AWOL.

Just about everybody agrees that inequality has grown for the past three decades. With Rhode Island’s anemic recovery from the Great Recession, the problem is deeper in our small corner of southeastern New England.

So here’s another report that shows just how badly the General Assembly has fumbled the 38 Studios ball. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has released a financial consultant’s report that shows that it would cost less for the state to pay off the 38 Studios  bonds than to default.

The finding, by the firm SJ Advisors, states that Rhode Island’s credit rating would take a significant hit if the state walked away from the $75 million in  bond obligations to those who invested retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s folly, 38 Studios.


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.


Colleges, even state colleges, are too expensive and beyond the financial reach of some students. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst  Scott MacKay on why college is still a great investment, both for taxpayers and students.

Fast upon us 'tis season of Lilacs, caps and gowns and those desultory commencement speeches about life being a journey. For too many seniors these days, the sheepskin comes with an avalanche of student loan debt.

Now comes another high-tech blabber seeking to blame Gov. Lincoln Chafee for the Curt Schilling -38 Studios fiasco that was actually done in the waning days of Gov. Donald Carcieri’s administration.

John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, slammed Chafee in a series of twitter comments this week. But his arguments are so incongruous that it is very difficult to take him seriously.

It’s more like he has been sampling the new legal stuff in Denver or Seattle.

What is the tea party’s future in Rhode Island Republican politics? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay talks tea with the two announced GOP candidates for governor.

In April, 2010, at the height of the tea party insurgency, then-Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri addressed a boisterous rally on the south steps of the Statehouse. To 500 or  so  tea party activists, Carcieri bellowed, ``I love the tea party, I love the tea party.’’