politics

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday touted her $8.6 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 as a plan that will begin the rejuvenation of Rhode Island's economy.

At the same time, some parts of the spending plan rely on uncertainties, including $46 million in unspecified Medicaid savings and the wiping out of millions of dollars in un-budgeted pay hikes promised to state employees during the Chafee administration.

Don Borman

  Gov. Gina Raimondo gave her first State of the State address last night, unveiling her first budget.

Explore the governor's budget online.

Aaron Read / RIPR

The non-partisan good government group Common Cause isn’t satisfied with a reform measure backed by House leaders in the aftermath of Gordon Fox’s guilty plea earlier this year.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says it makes sense for officeholders to file their bank statements for their campaign accounts with the state agency that monitors campaign spending.

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.

A series of education bills on the agenda at the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday range from a tax credit for college graduates to funding for charter schools.

One bill would give recent college graduates a break on their state income taxes. The idea is to stem the so-called “brain drain,” when local graduates put their newly-minted degrees to work in other states.

The measure would give a maximum $5,000 credit for a worker who received a bachelor’s degree from a local college or university within the last 10 years.

Governor-Elect Gina Raimondo has no immediate plans to hire a new commissioner for K-12 education.

Current Commissioner Deborah Gist has been controversial because of her support for testing as a requirement for high school graduation and teacher evaluations.

Raimondo says she’s in no hurry to make a decision about Gist.

"She’s doing a great job," Raimondo said last week. "Her contract’s not up until the end of June, so there’s really no urgency to move on that one in particular."

After cancelling a trip several weeks ago, Rhode Island College will finally get a visit from President Barack Obama. The president is expected to discuss women in the workplace and the economy.

He is likely to tout new data showing an increase in Gross Domestic Product, which is seen by many analysts as an encouraging sign of growth in the U.S.

RIC officials say classes will go forward as scheduled, although some locations had to be changed to accommodate security for the president.

RIPR FILE

Besides the competitive state elections and ballot questions, voters next week will elect every member of the Rhode Island General Assembly. As part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay speaks with morning host Elisabeth Harrison for a look at the major battles in the state legislature.

Elisabeth Harrison

As the days tick down before the November election, we’re looking at the major issues and the candidates in Rhode Island’s race for governor. Today in our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison delves into the front runners' positions on education, from expanding charter schools to preparing graduates for the workforce needs of the 21st Century.

RIPR FILE

The three main candidates for governor will square off during a televised debate Tuesday evening.

Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung, and Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey will take part in the 7 pm debate at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The forum will be the first televised debate since Raimondo and Fung won their respective party primaries on September 9th.

Rhode Island's next governor - whether it's Republican Allan Fung or Democrat Gina Raimondo - will have plenty of challenges to tackle upon taking office. The state's ailing economy will most likely hold the spotlight over the next eight weeks until the general election. But perhaps I could put a few health care items on the agenda for their consideration - and for the general assembly's.

Speaking Tuesday night at a special edition of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said he made "a very public mistake" when he fired every Providence public school teacher early on in his tenure as mayor.

At the time, Taveras said the firings would give the city flexibility in the midst of a financial crisis.

A so-called “people’s pledge” has been hammered out and agreed to by the three leading democratic candidates running for governor. The goal is to limit outside spending.

To limit that outside spending, Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo, and Angel Taveras have agreed to a pledge calling for any candidate who benefits from an ad bought by an outside group to make a charitable donation for the same amount of the ad buy.

John F. Kennedy put it eloquently in his 1961 inaugural address: ``Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.’’

The Ocean State elections promise to turn friend into foe, but that happens every two years in our insular political culture. What is becoming notable as the parade forms for the 2014 is the changing of the generational guard.

Courtesy Providence College

A Providence College professor who has been using the government shutdown as a teaching tool says it has had a profound impact on his students.

Political science professor Joseph Cammarano says his students are less likely to want to enter government service when they see the dysfunction in Washington.

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