Lincoln Chafee

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo is meeting with Rhode Island business leaders as she shapes her new administration. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay hopes the business hierarchy steps up to help her.

Raimondo is taking over a state government that is much better off than the one Gov. Lincoln Chafee inherited from Don Carcieri four years ago. Unemployment was 11.4 percent; now it’s at 7.4 percent. The state budget deficit is much lower and cities and towns are not hovering over bankruptcy. Even Central Falls is out of receivership.

RIPR FILE

Local veterans will gather at the Statehouse this Monday to remember troops who have died in combat. The ceremony is part of a national event with roots in New England.

CVS Health

What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and  economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has decided to keep A.T. Wall, Rhode Island’s longtime corrections director, and the nation’s longest serving corrections head, in his post.

Wall has served as director of corrections since 2000. A graduate of Yale University and  Yale Law School, Wall is a native Rhode Islander who worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan after law school. He is known as erudite and thoughtful and is well-respected within the corrections community locally and nationally.

File / RIPR

A legal observer says he expects the legal dispute over a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system to be settled out of court.

Roger Williams University Law School dean Michael Yelnosky said he’s fairly optimistic about the outlook for a settlement. “For a couple of reasons: one, they came so very close before; there continue to be lots of good reasons to settle on both sides,” said Yelnosky.

Efforts to settle the pension dispute fell apart in April when one of six plaintiff groups rejected a proposed deal.

Rhode Island Marks World AIDS Day

Dec 1, 2014
Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island is marking World AIDS Day, Monday with an event at the Statehouse.  The goal is to raise awareness about progress made, and progress still needed.

Eighty-seven new cases of HIV have been reported this year. That’s up from the 74 cases reported in 2013, and 87 too many say doctors and activists.

File / RIPR

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to revise how the state implements the Secure Communities program.

Secure Communities requires local law enforcement to hand over people charged with crimes or minor infractions for deportation. Earlier this year, Chafee required a deportation or removal order for anyone handed over to the feds. ACLU director Steve Brown said immigrants need more protection.

If anyone still cares about the Holiday/Christmas tree Statehouse kerfuffle, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced today that this year’s rotunda evergreen will be called a`` Christmas tree’’ and that Secretary of State Ralph Mollis will light it on Wednesday, December 3 at 6 p.m.

The 15-foor Fraser Fir evergreen was donated to the state by Sarah Partyka of the Farmer’s Daughter farm in South Kingstown.

``I am happy to be part of such a wonderful holiday tradition, lighting the State House Christmas tree,’’ said Mollis in a statement.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo joins Bonus Q+A to talk about the ongoing state pension dispute, HealthSourceRI, CVS' decision to develop a new technology center in Boston, the Rhode Map controversy, and more.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is considering Citizens Bank executive Barbara Cottam for a top position in her new administration, according to Statehouse sources.

Cottam, who has vast experience in both the private and political sectors in Rhode Island, is under consideration for chief of staff, one of the most important positions in any gubernatorial administration.

The state made an early payment to the U.S. Treasury on a loan used to cover unemployment benefits. It was the state’s final payment and the feds got it six months early.

Since March of 2009, Rhode Island borrowed nearly a billion dollars to cover unemployment benefits. The state made its final payment on that lump sum six months early, saving businesses more than $50 million next year. It will save local businesses said department of Labor and Training director Charles Fogarty.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.

As the hours dwindle until next Tuesday, Republican Allan Fung has a significant edge in campaign money over Democrat Gina Raimondo in the Rhode Island gubernatorial campaign.

Reports filed with the state Board of Elections show that Fung has about $270,000 remaining in his campaign account, while Raimondo’s campaign chest has only about $32,000. Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey, the third candidate in the race to succeed Lincoln Chafee as governor, has not solicited campaign contributions.

Governor Lincoln Chafee and other elected officials will be touring the grounds of Rocky Point in Warwick Friday.  On Saturday the former amusement park land will be open to the public.  This will be the first time in about two decades.

RIPR FILE

The major candidates for Rhode Island governor have spent much of their campaigns focused on the economy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what they aren’t telling voters.

All of the Rhode Island political campaigns this year are talking about our state’s sluggish economy. In the governor’s contest between Republican Allan Fung, the Cranston mayor, and Democrat Gina Raimondo, the state treasurer, jobs and the economy often seem to be the only topic.

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