Gina Raimondo

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo is poised Monday to announce a major education initiative that would make the first two years of public higher education tuition-free for Rhode Island high school graduates enrolled at the state’s three public colleges – the Community College of Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, according to Statehouse sources.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families has a new director. Doctor Trista Piccola has been chosen to lead the social service agency. Governor Gina Raimondo plans to submit her name to the Rhode Island Senate today for their consent. A statement from the governor’s office says Piccola has more than 20 years of experience in child welfare. She began her career as a Protective Services Case Manager in Ohio, and was most recently head of child welfare services for Cleveland.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has sent a letter to US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging him to reconsider repealing the Affordable Care Act. Raimondo argues the ACA is working in Rhode Island, and that repealing it would undo progress in insuring more Rhode Islanders.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo may announce some changes in leadership in the state’s office of health and human services this week. The Governor is frustrated with ongoing problems with the state’s new online benefits system, UHIP.

Welcome to my first TGIF column of 2017, and thanks for stopping by. As usual your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

One day after the start of Rhode Island's new General Assembly session, a group of lawmakers, religious leaders and advocates for the poor planned to demonstrate at the Statehouse. The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty organizes the annual event to encourage lawmakers to take up issues affecting low-income Rhode Islanders.

Though largely ceremonial, the event is usually attended by high-ranking lawmakers, including the Governor.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello doubled down Tuesday on his pledge to begin a phaseout in 2017 of the state's unpopular car tax. 

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017! Welcome to my last TGIF column of 2016, and thanks for following my reports throughout the year. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Matt Bucci, who has served as one of Governor Gina Raimondo's top aides since she took office in January 2015, is leaving for a private sector job at the end of January.

Bucci will be joining the Providence office of AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering, design, construction and management company. His work will be with the company's growth and strategy division, which will not include lobbying or government relations, said Raimondo's communications director, Mike Raia.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes to all for the holidays. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has had an eventful 2016 -- from a string of recent job announcements to the troubled rollouts of the state's new tourism campaign and the new IT system for administering human service benefits. 

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A new nonprofit corporation, The Partnership for Rhode Island, said it plans to focus on promoting economic growth in Rhode Island.

The group filed incorporation papers with the state last Friday. The partnership’s initial officers are the CEOs of Hasbro, Brian Goldner; CVS Health, Larry Merlo; and the Rhode Island Foundation, Neil Steinberg; and Don Sweitzer, chairman of IGT Global Solutions (formerly known as GTECH). The Rhode Island Foundation will serve as fiscal agent for the organization while it seeks 501c (3) status.

The ice box of winter is here, and the holidays aren't far behind. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Governor Gina Raimondo plans to announce Monday a jobs agreement with the multinational pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

RIPR reported the news first via Twitter. An announcement is set for 10 am Monday at the Providence Public Library.

"We're still working through the details with the company through the weekend, so I can't say anything more about it," Raimondo told RIPR during a State House interview Friday afternoon.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The health-tech firm Virgin Pulse plans to expand its Rhode Island operation with almost 300 additional jobs over the next five years, Governor Gina Raimondo and company officials.

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