Jack Reed

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican Mark Zaccaria, a former state GOP chairman who ran unsuccessfully against US Representative Jim Langevin in 2008 and 2010, on Monday unveiled his challenge against US Senator Jack Reed.

Although Republicans hope to gain control of the US Senate, Reed's seat is considered among the safest in the chamber.

At the behest of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Cale Keable, D-Burrillville, the Rhode Island House has finally voted to ratify the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,  which reqired direct election of U.S. Senators.

Before the amendment took effect in 1913, senators were elected by state legislators. That system was widely criticized for breeding corruption as senate aspirants bribed lawmakers to secure the votes needed to win senate seats.

A bevy of prominent Rhode Island Democrats are hosting a June 12 fundraiser for Michigan Congressman Gary Peters, who is trying to vault into the US Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin.

Sen. Jack Reed is calling on Congress to address the systemic challenges plaguing the VA healthcare system.

Reed made the statement just hours after Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid a growing cover up of long wait times for healthcare. Reed said the next secretary needs to start the job with a top to bottom review of what’s causing the backlog.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island has received more than $2.7 million to clean up contaminated properties in Pawtucket, Providence, and Westerly.

Senator Jack Reed says these federal grants awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program will help local governments protect public health and redevelop former industrial sites for better use. Reed says it’ll also benefit the economy by creating jobs and increasing the value of surrounding properties.

The Democratic primary election for governor is shaping up as a close contest between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

The early Channel 12/ProJo public opinion surveys conducted by veteran Rhode Island pollster Joe Fleming show this to be the case.  Now comes last night’s endorsement confab held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick by the R.I. Association of Democratic City and  Town Chairs, which failed to reach consensus on an endorsement for governor.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Jack Reed joined by Senators Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren outlined legislation Wednesday that curbs student loan debt.

The bill allows federal and private student loans to be refinanced at a lower rate with no refinancing fees. The interest on some loans can reach 14 percent. The bill lowers that to 3.86 percent. Reed said the bill is critical to the country’s future.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed D-R.I., made official this morning what everyone in Rhode Island’s political circuit  assumed: That he is a candidate for reelection to a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

Reed’s announcement came before a crowd of 1,000 of his supporters at the senator’s 25th annual May Breakfast at Rhodes-on-the- Pawtuxet in his home city of Cranston.

file / RIPR

General Dynamics has landed a $17.6 billion Navy contract to build submarines. The Virginia-class subs will be built at Electric Boat in Quonset Point. General Dynamics spokesman Bob Hamilton said this contract involves ten submarines, starting construction over the next five years at a rate of two per year.

Raymond McKay’s Republican U.S. Senate candidacy seems to depend on his legal battle with Warwick city officials over whether he should be allowed to keep his city job while he runs for office.

Local media outlets have much of McKay’s alleged ``right’’ to run for any office he chooses. Steve Brown of the R.I. Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Providence Journal that the Warwick city ordinance that bars classified municipal employees from running for office is ``overly broad’’ and too restrictive.

It isn’t a surprise that Rhode Island’s Republican Party is having a difficult time finding a credible candidate to take on Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

Reed first won election to the U.S. House in 1990 and moved up to the Senate after the retirement of Sen. Claibone Pell. Reed has never lost an election and in recent campaigns has had easier and easier opponents.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.

For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.

Courtesy: Sen. Jack Reed's Office

Rhode Island’s senators are applauding a 67- 32 vote passing legislation that delays a spike in flood insurance premiums. Sen. Jack Reed said the Senate took a positive, bi-partisan step, while Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse called the measure a necessary step to balance solvency of the federal flood insurance program with rate shock.

Four Rhode Islanders are joining the congressional delegation for tonight’s State of the Union Address.

Rhode Island’s senior Sen. Jack Reed’s guest will be Anne Nolan, president of the non-profit homeless agency Crossroads RI. Sen.

Sheldon Whitehouse is bringing businessman Scott DePasquale, the CEO of Utilidata, a company that moved to Rhode Island from Washington state two years ago.

Over in the House, Congressman Jim Langevin’s guest is Davide Dukcevich of Daniele Foods, a Burrillville company specializing in gourmet Italian meats.


Political pundits love to emphasize that campaigns matter.  Clay Pell better hope that adage rings true if he hopes to be Rhode Island’s next governor, says our resident pundit, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is the grandson of a legendary Rhode Island U.S. Senator, a Harvard University graduate  and at just 32 years old, possessor of a resume that would be the envy of many a decade or two older.