Jack Reed


Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators are offering lukewarm support of President Barack Obama’s request to use military force against Islamic State militants. The President has asked for military action, unbounded by national borders that could last up to three years.

Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat in the Senate Armed Services Committee said President Obama’s plan for military intervention is overdue.  In a statement he calls the plan, a thoughtful proposal, but said Congress must  “refine” the President’s request. 


U.S. Senator Jack Reed is calling for additional military assistance to help the Ukrainian government as fighting worsens with Russian-backed separatists. Reed is the ranking Democrat of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Reed and Armed Services Committee Chair Senator John McCain, are asking the Obama administration to commit to aid in the form of defensive weaponry.  That includes things like anti-tank weapons, and rocket locating radar systems. 

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says nearly $2.5 million in federal funding will go toward helping the state’s neediest resident keep the heat on.  That will bring Rhode Island’s total to $27.1 million in federal funding this year. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, helps some 35,000 Rhode Islanders. Many poor residents also get help on their heating bill through the Henry Shelton Act, which places a surcharge on gas and electricity bills. That money goes into a fund to help low-income customers pay their bills.

U.S. Capitol

President Barack Obama delivered his sixth state of the Union address last night.  His main focus was the middle class, as the nation continues to recover from an economic downturn.  


There was a sad note at the Rhode Island State House this afternoon as the 2015 General Assembly opened  the legislative session: Conspicuously missing from the press tables at the head of the chambers was veteran Statehouse political reporter and columnist Jim Baron, who died yesterday. He was 57.

Parts of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor are moving closer to becoming part of the national park system. Initiatives attached to a defense bill put the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket and two mill towns under the national park system.

U.S. Capitol

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is reacting to President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.  In a speech Thursday, the President outlined a plan that could protect some 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation.

As U.S. Senate returns flow in later this evening from around the nation, the Rhode Island politician with the most at stake is U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who is expected to coast to reelection.

First elected in 1996 to the seat held for 36 years by the late Claiborne Pell, Democrat Reed has accumulated enough seniority to become  chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a crucial post for Rhode Island’s defense industry and the U.S. Navy installation in Newport that is anchored by the Naval War College.

It's almost all over but the crying. After years of run-up, Rhode Island's 2014 election is at hand. So thanks for stopping by, and feel free to drop me a line (idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org) and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

The Rhode Island Republican Party has taken its complaint over a campaign commercial for gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo to the state Board of Elections.  Democrats insist they’re not doing anything wrong.

UPDATE: La Salle has decided to remove all the photographs of La Salle alums from the ``Wall of Notables'' reports Tom Mooney at the ProJo.

The school's Board of Trustees voted to take down all of the photos because they had become a distraction to learning, the ProJo reported. On of those photos was of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who, like Raimondo is a La Salle alum. There were 25 photos on the notables wall.

My original post from last week:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), has introduced legislation that's designed to provide some incentives and resources for states to develop more addiction treatment and prevention programs. It's called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014, and here are a few of its provisions, according to a news release from the Senator's office:

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO’s COPE (Committee on Political Education) convention that was held in Providence last Friday decided to put the labor organization on record against Republican Allan Fung’s campaign for governor.

RIPR FILE / Courtesy Whitehouse

Rhode Island senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse listened to stories from Rhode Islanders about struggling to pay off student loan debt.

A bill that will start moving in the Senate next week lowers the rate for many borrowers to 3.86 percent. Whitehouse said it faces strong resistance from Republicans in the Senate, but he believes that if any bill can gain traction it’s this one.

Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to be in Rhode Island Wednesday.  He’ll be speaking at an event at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport.

Hagel will also speak on defense technology and industry at the ‘Defense Innovation Days’.  This conference brings lawmakers and defense industry reps together to discuss changes and trends in the industry.  Rhode Island has long relied on the defense industry for jobs, currently, with several government contracts manufacturing submarines.