Republicans

John O.  Pastore was a legendary Rhode Island political figure, the son of immigrants and the first Italian-American elected as a governor and a U.S. Senator. A dominant figure in state politics, Pastore had a distinguished 26-year tenure  in the Senate and never lost an election in a long career that began in the doldrums of the Great Depression in the General Assembly and ended with his decision in 1976 to retire rather than run again for a seat he would have easily kept.

The debate over Obamacare rages from Providence to Pasadena. As the state moves closer to launching its health insurance exchange, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the arguments and traces the law’s Rhode Island roots.

Ask Rhode Island Republican State Chairman Mark Smiley what he thinks of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and you’ll get a blunt answer:  He says, ``I hate it.’’

Smiley’s position is simple and wedded to his party’s national stance: Repeal the entire law and start over. ``Socialism,’’ he says, ``doesn’t work.’’

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.

Welcome back to my Friday politics + media column. As always, you can reach me at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's head in.

Welcome back to my weekly column. You can find me on Twitter. Let's head in.

House Minority Leading Brian Newberry takes part in Bonus Q+A to discuss a possible public subsidy for the Superman Building; his evaluation of Governor Lincoln Chafee; and the outlook for increasing GOP representation in the General Assembly.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) joins the Roundtable this week to discuss his expectations on the budget; whether the state should pay back moral obligation bonds related to 38 Studios; what the General Assembly will accomplish this year to boost the economy; and more.

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry believes debate over whether Rhode Island should pay back moral obligation bonds for 38 Studios explains why the House version of state budget has yet to emerge.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Fix says VP Joe Biden has a message in tune with Democrats' needs as they face a tough mid-term fight in 2014:

Speaking at a fundraiser in D.C. for Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey’s special Senate election campaign, the vice president launched into a lengthy broadside against the current state of the Republican Party.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who once described Governor Lincoln Chafee as his political soul-mate, says he "can't vote" for his close friend now that Chafee is a Democrat.

"I'm a Republican and I would expect to be supporting the Republican candidate," Avedisian told reporters, including RIPR's Flo Jonic, before a news conference Monday morning.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with host Elisabeth Harrison to discuss Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to join the Democratic party.

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 leader of a prominent Republican gay rights group is coming to Rhode Island Tuesday.

Gregory Angelo, director of the Log Cabin Republicans, will speak to a meeting of the Rhody Young Republicans.

Angelo says he’ll praise Rhode Island Republicans for backing same sex marriage legislation.

Former Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, who had a meteoric rise in Rhode Island politics before losing a Republican primary challenge to then-US Senator Lincoln Chafee in 2006, is headed toward a GOP run for governor in his adopted state of Colorado.

Via KDVR (h/t Kathy Gregg):

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