When House Majority Leader Nick Mattiello held a caucus at the Providence Marriott Friday evening -- on the same day when state and federal investigators raided House Speaker Gordon Fox's home and Statehouse office -- the race to succeed Fox was up for grabs. Mattiello himself put the number of supporters at his caucus between 25 and 27.
The Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected to cap a dramatic sequence of events unfolding over the last few days by electing a new speaker Tuesday. The change was set in motion last Friday when state and federal authorities raided House Speaker Gordon Fox’s East Side home and Statehouse office. Fox resigned from his leadership position the next day, saying he doesn’t plan to seek re-election to his state rep seat in November.
Education officials are taking a "wait and see" approach to leadership changes at the Statehouse, with several education bills pending in the legislature.
"We've had a good relationship with leadership over time," said Elliot Krieger, the spokesman for State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. "Like everyone else, we're waiting to see what the new leadership will be."
Frank Anzeveno, who served as the powerful chief of staff for former House speaker Gordon Fox, is giving up his post.
“In light of recent events at the Statehouse, time has accelerated. I cleaned out my office over the weekend in anticipation that a new Speaker needs to bring in his own staff," Anzeveno says in a statement released Monday.
After a weekend of intense lobbying for the votes to succeed former House Speaker Gordon Fox, one challenger, Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate), vowed Monday morning to take the fight to the House floor, even as House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) claimed to be consolidating his support.
"Going all the way," Marcello told RIPR Monday morning. "We need to let people know who is reform and real change and who is with the status quo."
UPDATE: 3:46 pm Sunday. Factions led by Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and Michael Marcello are meeting today in an attempt to win enough votes for the speakership. Mattiello is holding a 5 pm caucus at the Providence Marriott on Orms Street. A vote to choose a successor to Gordon Fox could happen as soon as Tuesday. I'll have more details later. Follow me on Twitter for updates.
Once again, Rhode Island is attracting national attention for all the wrong reasons. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts about the federal raid on Speaker Gordon Fox’s office.
The specter of corruption in high political office haunts Rhode Island. As it has seemingly forever. For a state still in the grip of the recession, there are few things worse than the scene at the Statehouse Friday.