A persistently high unemployment rate and the fate of last year’s pension overhaul in mediation are some of the top issues facing the state starting next month. As we transition into the New Year, Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis has been talking with state leaders. Last week he sat down with Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, today with Governor Lincoln Chafee, Next week, Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis will talk with state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he and the General Assembly have most of the authority to approve a settlement in a legal challenge to last year’s landmark pension overhaul. Court-ordered mediation is set to begin next month. State treasurer Gina Raimondo was the architect of the pension overhaul passed last year by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Raimondo and Chafee are both defendants in the legal challenge filed by five public-sector unions against the overhaul. Chafee says approval by Raimondo isn’t necessarily part of a settlement in the case.
This won’t come as any surprise, but Rhode Island is once again a deep, cobalt Blue state in presidential politics. President Obama’s margin in the Ocean state appears to be the third highest in the nation, after Hawaii (the president’s birthplace, unless you believe Donald Trump) and Vermont, which was once the most Republican state in the U.S.
Confused by that number you keep hearing from the candidates in connection with Medicare – $716 billion dollars? Who’s cutting what? Which side is right? Kaiser Health News‘ Mary Agnes Carey cuts through the campaign clutter for you with an excellent FAQ.