Mark Smiley

John Bender

Reactions have been swift to news that Former House Speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty to three felony charges.

The charges include one count of bribery and one count of misusing campaign funds.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison reports on reaction from both sides of the aisle.

Calling it a "sad chapter" in Rhode Island Politics, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a brief statement, "there is no place for public corruption."

A Democrat, Mattiello took over after Fox resigned as speaker, following raids on his home and Statehouse office.

It’s pretty rare for top national Republican figures to visit Rhode Island, one of the nation’s deepest blue Democratic states. But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus swoops into the Ocean State Thursday to scoop some campaign cash.

Priebus is scheduled to appear at a fund-raising event held by Mr. and Mrs. David Ford on Newport’s tony Bellevue Avenue, where the houses have names. (This mansion is called Miramar, at 646 Bellevue).

Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King, one of the last of the true moderate Republicans in the U.S. House, is headed to Rhode Island for a fund-raising event for the RI GOP.

King, a Long Island Republican,  will speak at RI Republican Party headquarters on Post Road in Warwick on August 15. The cost is $125 per person or $200 per couple for a VIP lunch and discussion with Congressman King. There is also a $50 per person lunch option ($90 per couple). For further information call 401-732-8282.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Eliminating the master lever in Rhode Island elections is picking up steam in the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says getting rid of straight party voting may be much ado about not much.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to end the so-called master lever, a relic of the state’s urban political machine past. A conga line of statewide elected politicians, from Gov. Lincoln Chafee down to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, support this change.

The Rhode Island Republican Party is backing up the GOP’s two gubernatorial candidates in saying that the state pension dispute should be resolved in court.  Two of the state’s leading Democrats still support the push for a settlement between the two sides

A proposed pension settlement unveiled in February was cast in doubt Monday when one of six groups that have to offer initial approval rejected the deal. State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said he agrees with his party’s gubernatorial candidates that the pension conflict should be decided in court.

Daniel Harrop joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his Republican campaign for mayor of Providence; the challenges facing the Rhode Island GOP; economic development in Rhode Island's capital city; and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss whether RI Democrats are doing enough to move the economy forward; tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; NSA surveillaince; education policy; and why his poll ratings are so low.


The head of the state Republican Party is blaming legislative Democrats for failing to improve Rhode Island’s economy. The state’s unemployment rate climbed by a tenth of percent in July, to 8.9 percent.

State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders are wrong to brag about their efforts when the unemployment rate is going in the wrong direction.

A handful of GOP activists from Rhode Island are in Boston for a regional meeting of the Republican National Committee that wraps up today Friday.  The get-together offers an opportunity for networking and strategizing.

The Rhode Islanders in Boston include state GOP chairman Mark Smiley, Dave Talan of the Providence GOP, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

Fung, who is Chinese-American, says the regional meeting offers a good opportunity to share ideas, and to make new acquaintances.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung said Republicans have to do a better job of staying in touch with voters to increase their presence in the Northeast.

Fung spoke while attending a regional Republican National Committee meeting in Boston that ends today Friday.

“It’s about making sure that you’re there for them and to help them especially through their times of need, especially now when we’re talking about these very difficult times in the Northeast where it seems to be lagging behind many parts of the country,” said Fung.

Rhode Island and the rest of New England have become foreign territory for Republicans. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why.

Just about every state in New England, and especially Rhode Island, could benefit from robust two-party political competition. Our state’s  General  Assembly has 113 members. Only 11 caucus with Republicans.

The debate is intensifying over whether Rhode Island should default on the roughly $100 million owed by taxpayers due to the state's losing investment in failed video game-maker 38 Studios.

RI GOP chairman Mark Smiley joins us on Bonus Q+A to discuss building GOP ranks in the General Assembly, attempts to rebuild Republicans' presence in New England, and other issues.

Ian / RIPR

RI GOP chairman joins the Roundtable this week (along with guest panelist Tim White of WPRI-TV, Channel 12) to discuss the debate over state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist; Moderate Party founder Ken Block's entry in the 2014 gubernatorial race, what's next for Rhode Island Republicans, and more.

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.