Scott MacKay commentary


Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, announced today that they will be supporting President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.

In a joint statement, Reed and Whitehouse said the agreement is the best way to ensure that Iran does not manufacture nuclear weapons.

Reed said he supports the deal, ``because it cuts off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon and gives international inspectors unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and supply chains.’’


Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to attract more tourists to Rhode Island. As summer winds down, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some ideas.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Alan Fung says he is sorry for police misconduct on his watch. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay assesses the damage to the once-promising political career of Republican Fung.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to raise the salaries of some of Rhode Island’s top state employees, a move Republican State Chairman Brandon Bell calls ``absurd.’’  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the latest dust up over state employee salaries.

There’s a Rhode Island cliché: Question: Which state worker makes too much money? Answer: Anyone who makes more than I do.

AFGE / flickr

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders has become the leading challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay, a former Vermont reporter, spent a few days in the Green Mountain state parsing the Sanders campaign.


Work is the fulcrum of social mobility in our country. In Rhode Island, lawmakers have approved an increase in the minimum wage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says that falls far short of what’s needed to help the working poor.

Democrats claim to be the party of working people. Come campaign season, Democratic candidates boast at every turn that they care about ``working families’’ more than Republicans, the party Democrats brand as the tool of the rich and the one-percent.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Every Rhode Islander knows our state’s roads and bridges need repairs. Yet lawmakers closed up shop at the General Assembly without taking action on a plan to raise the money via truck tolls. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the General Assembly needs to do to pay for the needed fixes.

Despite six collegial months, the General Assembly did not have a happy ending. The 2015 session crashed and amid the usual Smith Hill blame game. Several big issues were left without resolution, notably a plan to shore up the state’s aging bridges and roads.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The high cost of government in Rhode Island is once again in the forefront, as voters in Coventry dissolve the Coventry Fire District. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay asks if this can be a spur for consolidation in our tiny state.

In a referendum  Coventry voters resoundingly refused to give any more of their property taxes to the stanch the river of red ink drowning the Coventry Fire District. They  turned thumbs down on the fire district even though it provides fire and emergency services to the most densely populated part of the community..


Rhode Island’s General Assembly and Gov. Gina Raimondo have reached agreement on her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the new budget will do and what it lacks.

The $8.7 billion state budget for the financial year that begins three days before the Bristol 4th of July parade  seems greased for approval at the Statehouse. As is usually the case, this spending and taxing plan contains elements Rhode Islanders should cheer yet   fails to address some of our little state’s crying needs.

So Lincoln Chafee has become the first Rhode Islander to seek a major party nomination for president. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on why Chafee must step up his game quickly to be a factor in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.

Love him or hate him, you have to acknowledge that Chafee is a politician of conviction and deeply held views about what’s wrong with the country. Throughout his long career in Rhode Island politics, most honest voters would agree Chafee was on the right side of many issues.

Will Hart / flickr

Rhode Island’s Episcopal Church is about to unveil plans for a museum and teaching center dedicated to the slave trade. The state has a long and difficult history of involvement  in slavery.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay discussed the proposal with Episcopal Bishop Nicholas Knisely, whose wife happens to work for Rhode Island Public Radio.

St. John’s Cathedral, once the nation’s oldest cathedral parish, sits empty today in a forlorn reminder of onetime greatness.

One of the principals of the new Pawtucket Red Sox ownership has died abruptly and was laid to rest over the weekend.. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay assays the future of the Providence stadium plan.

Jim Skeffington cut quite a figure in Rhode Island. The Providence native scaled the heights of the legal profession in his hometown and was the go-to-guy for political and business deals. His bespoke bankers’ pinstripes and Ferragamo ties masked a sharp understanding, from the bottom up, of Rhode Island’s florid political and business cultures.

Scott Mackay RIC commencement 2015
Rhode Island College

RI Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay delivered the commencement speech at Rhode Island College Saturday, May 16th. He was granted an honorary doctorate of journalism. 

Good Morning. Most of you are from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so you get what I mean: That by virtue of your degrees today, you are all officially "wicket smaht."


So Twin River’s parent company wants to build a new casino in Tiverton.   The idea is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it  has to be done.

There are many Rhode Islanders who don’t believe that state government should be in the business of promoting gambling. Those critics point out the lottery games and slot-machine emporiums that speckle New England like daffodils these days are little more than cheap taxes on the poor.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island’s foundering economic is again the top Statehouse topic. Political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts as we at Rhode Island Public Radio kickoff our series on our state’s slow recession recovery. 

If Rhode Island was a lake, we’d all be drowning under the weight of decades of reports and high falutin  expert commissions charged with dissecting our state’s economic doldrums. Wonks, business leaders, academics and consultants have produced turgid chronicles – with scant results – on how to heal the sickest economy in New England.