RI Democrats

What everyone in the Rhode Island political swirl should understand about the state pension overhaul settlement details that are due for release tomorrow: This is very likely to be only the beginning of a protracted process.

One thing we know for sure. Even if it is fair and reasonable, not everyone is going to like it. Some unionized state employees and teachers will not be satisfied with anything less than a full restoration of the pension benefits that were sliced dramatically in the 2011 special General Assembly pension session.

This week brings crucial developments in the 2014 Rhode Island governor’s race: tomorrow a WPRI-Providence Journal public opinion survey releases veteran pollster Joe Fleming’s numbers on the race. Then on Wednesday, the most important new twist comes when the legal settlement in the 2011 state public employee pension overhaul is made public.

Don Boorman / RIPR

Every serious candidate says Rhode Island’s poor economy is the top issue in this year’s governors’ race. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for Rhode Island to sort economic myth from reality.

Say hello to any of the five major candidates for governor and you’ll get a marathon run of rhetoric on the need to create jobs in our struggling state.  On the Republican side, Ken Block and Allan Fung have both talked about ushering in a better business climate, lowering taxes and looking for ways to save taxpayer money.

Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy has endorsed Seth Magaziner  for the Democratic nomination for Rhode Island state general treasurer.

In a news release, Kennedy said, ``I am proud to support Seth because I know he is the best candidate to move Rhode Island forward.’’

Kennedy also said, ``Not only will bring a steady hand to the state’s finances, he will bring new energy and fresh ideas that will put Rhode Islanders to work and make our state competitive in the 21st Century economy.’’


Political pundits love to emphasize that campaigns matter.  Clay Pell better hope that adage rings true if he hopes to be Rhode Island’s next governor, says our resident pundit, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is the grandson of a legendary Rhode Island U.S. Senator, a Harvard University graduate  and at just 32 years old, possessor of a resume that would be the envy of many a decade or two older.

Just when we thought we knew that next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary field was set, it suddenly was not. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay talks about the Clay Pell factor.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is a scion of a storied Rhode Island political family. He’s the grandson of U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, a quirky, even eccentric politician who nonetheless never lost an election in six terms, despite facing the toughest opponents our small state could muster.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island Democrats plan to make their selection of a new state chairman official this evening Thursday.  Former state rep David Caprio won the backing for the post last month from House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Democrats will hold a state committee meeting this evening to elect Caprio as their new chairman. No other candidates for the volunteer position are expected.


Former state rep David Caprio has House Speaker Gordon Fox’s blessing to become the next chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.  Rhode Island Democrats are expected to formally endorse Caprio during an October 3rd state committee meeting in Cranston.  

David Caprio is a member of one of Rhode Island’s most prominent political families. His brother Frank ran for governor in 2010 and hope to win back his old job as state treasurer next year. Their father, also named Frank Caprio, is the chief municipal judge in Providence.

Susan Farmer, who in 1982 became the first women elected to statewide office in Rhode Island when as a Republican she ousted a longtime Democratic incumbent to become secretary of state, has died after a protracted battle with cancer. She was 71.

Governor Lincoln Chafee’s departure from next year’s Rhode Island governor’s campaign has scrambled the field. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes on the new generation of leaders likely to vy for the Statehouse.

Whatever you think of his governorship or his policies, Chafee’s decision to drop out of the race passes the torch to a new generation of Rhode Island politicians. Unless you live in a yurt or have totally abandoned following state government, you’ve probably heard of Angel  Taveras, Gina Raimondo or Allan Fung.

Raina C. Smith, a former Channel 12-WPRI reporter, freelance writer and novelist, has been hired by  Democratic RI Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis as his new director of communications. Smith replaces Chris Barnett, who left the secretary of state’s office to take a communications post with the Rhode Island Foundation.

Smith, 42, a North Scituate native who currently lives in Cranston, has her first day on the job today. She will be paid $92,669 annually. She is a 1997 graduate of Rhode Island College, where she majored in communications and graduated cum laude.

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.

As if Rhode Island wasn’t already enough of a Democratic one-party state, the latest voter registration numbers from the secretary of state’s office show that the Ocean State has gotten even more Democratic since the 2006 midterm elections.