Jack Reed

file / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island has embarked on an advertising campaign to raise our state’s flagging self-esteem. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for us to stop running down our tiny corner of New England.

Back in 1996, when Jack Reed was running his first U.S. Senate campaign, Texas Gov. Ann Richards came to Newport to speak at a Reed fund-raiser. The tart-tongued Texan introduced the vertically-challenged Rhode Island Democrat by saying to prolonged laughter that Reed is proof ``that size doesn’t matter.’’

T.F. Green Airport Starts Upgrades

Jul 30, 2013
Catherine Welch / RIPR

An ambitious four-year plan to upgrade T.F. Green Airport has finally gotten underway. Monday one of the airport’s two runways was shut down to make way for the removal of a hangar.  Next month work begins on a new de-icing fluid treatment plant.

Peter Frazer, general counsel to the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, said none of this should inconvenience travelers.

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed has failed again in his attempt to hold down college student loan rates.

The Senate has once again failed to pass Democrat  Reed’s legislation that would keep federal student college loans from doubling in interest. Reed’s bill failed on a procedural motion by a vote of 51 to 49. Sixty votes were needed to end the Republican filibuster.

Congressman David Cicilline is calling this a good day for equality, reacting to news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples.

“No longer will people be discriminated against because of who they love,” said Cicilline, “and all marriages will be respected and people will be treated equally under the law. That’s a great victory.”

At this time of the RI General Assembly session every year, when the State House gets as hot as a sauna and the rhetoric boils over, lawmakers are confronted with money items tucked into the arcane language of the state budget that don’t seem to have received much discussion but have an impact on state taxpayers.

One that for the most part has dropped below the media radar is what appears to be some very favorable treatment for a huge defense contractor that doesn’t really need state financial help, the Electric Boat division of General  Dynamics.


On Capitol Hill Thursday the Senate will vote on a bill by Senator Jack Reed that blocks a rate hike on student loans. What’s called “The Student Loan Affordability Act” would keep the interest rate on federal student loans from doubling for two years.

Reed said that’s how long it will take Congress to come up with a long-term solution.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior was in Rhode Island Friday touring parts of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The visit highlighted a push to make the corridor part of the National Park System.

Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators are weighing in on the IRS scandal.  The agency charged with collecting taxes has been targeting conservative groups for special attention in their applications for tax-exempt status.

Staring down a July 1st deadline, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking at ways to control the costs of federal student loans. Senator Jack Reed is behind a measure that would overhaul how student loan interest rates are calculated.

Reed and a handful of democrats in Congress are pushing legislation that offers adjustable rates and caps the maximum interest rates on federal loans. The bill also allows borrowers stuck with high interest rates to refinance.


A bill allowing states to charge sales tax for online shopping (passed/failed) in the senate. Rhode Island senator Jack Reed supported the bill, and he sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay to talk about a variety of issues including the impact online sales have on Rhode Island’s economy.

If ever there was a Rhode Island tradition that never wanes, it is `May Breakfast,’ that old fixture where church fellowship meets scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee. It has an old-timey feel, even when it resembles a political ``time’’ as any gathering of pols was once referred as, especially when the eats were accompanied by a campaign dollar or two.

The state Republican chairman says the GOP plans to field a candidate when Senator Jack Reed seeks re-election next year.  A fundraiser on Monday, featuring Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, helped pour even more money into Reed’s campaign war chest.

Reed is considered to have one of the safest seats in the US Senate, and he’s sitting on a war chest of about $2 million. Reed, a Democrat, plans to seek his fourth term next year.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State GOP chairman Mark Smiley says his party "absolutely" intends to run a candidate against US senator Jack Reed next year.

A few politically active Republicans privately say they consider a challenge against Reed -- or the other Democrats in Rhode Island's congressional delegation -- an utter waste of time. Resources would be better used, they say, in trying to build the 11-member GOP presence in the 113-member General Assembly.

Change happens slowly in politics. Except when it doesn’t. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay explains the forces behind Rhode Island’s reversal on gay marriage.

The Ocean State is poised to become the 10th  state in the nation to recognize same sex marriages and join our five New England neighbors in the vanguard of the movement for equal treatment for gay citizens. 

Chafee: Internet Sales Tax a Matter of Fairness

Apr 23, 2013

Senator Jack Reed and Governor Lincoln Chafee are urging Congress to pass the  Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill would require online merchants to pay state sales taxes. Chafee and Reed say it’s a matter of fairness.

Reed and Chafee stood side by side in a West Warwick furniture store to urge Congress to allow a vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act.  Chafee said the bill – which would require online merchants to pay state sales taxes – would add $70 million a year to the state treasury.