Scott MacKay commentary


Just when you thought you knew the candidate field in the Providence mayoral campaign, things changed. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay’s thoughts on the capital city’s revised City Hall election.

Another week, another new twist in the Providence mayor campaign. The departure of independent Lorne Adrain from the race has set off a scramble for his supporters, most of whom hail from his home neighborhood on the city’s affluent East Side.

Hike the streets of Bristol this week. It’s an exercise in history and Old Home Week. From the concerts in Independence Park, to the taverns, markets and a Hope Street adorned with the freshly painted  red, white and blue stripe down the middle.

This old  New England port, marinated in history, is the scene this week of handshakes and hugs, as people who haven’t seen each other recently - some in many years – greet and relive the old times.


So Buddy Cianci is back in the campaign for Providence mayor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that he isn’t the only candidate.

Every newsroom used to have a crusty city editor who berated young reporters. Mine was a revered Providence Journal editor named Al Johnson who barked, ``put them in the ambulance before you take them to the hospital’’ when he wanted a story about a car accident.


Is Rhode Island government finally waking up to leveraging state colleges as wellsprings of economic development? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay sees some hopeful signs on Smith Hill.

After years of malign neglect of Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities, the General Assembly finally appears to be turning a corner. Several elements in the state budget approved last week by the House Finance Committee show that Statehouse politicians are finally getting the message on the iron link between education and creating jobs in the Ocean State.


Rhode Island Democrats should look to Massachusetts for some leadership on the economy. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay explains why.

Rhode Island is once again ensnared in a noisy political campaign season. The stench of government corruption has led to new leadership on Smith Hill. Gordon Fox is out as speaker and Nick Mattiello is in. Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly by big margins. Yet the historic majority party can’t seem to speak with a coherent voice on our state’s struggling economy.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island pays its final respects this morning to Nuala Pell, widow of  Sen. Claiborne Pell at services in Newport. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on why the passing of Mrs. Pell signals the end of an era.

Sen. Claiborne Pell represented Rhode Island for 36 years in the United States Senate. Few senators have ever better served a state.

Bradley Campbell / RIPR

It’s been a year since bombs and blood in the streets shattered one of New England’s treasured civic celebrations.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the lessons of the Boston Marathon bombings as this year’s race approaches.


When will Rhode Islanders stop debating public employee pensions? Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay says that won’t happen anytime soon.

You can hear political analyst Scott MacKay’s commentary every Monday during Morning Edition on Rhode Island Public Radio.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The stench of corruption has once again encircled the Rhode Island Statehouse. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to try something different on Smith Hill.

Unless you have been living in one of those 1950s-era nuclear bomb shelters, or the old East Side tunnel, you’ve probably heard of the latest Statehouse scandal. The state police and federal IRS and FBI agents raided the offices of House Speaker Gordon Fox 10 days ago. The next day he abruptly resigned.

What does "Dude where's my car?" have to do with Clay Pell's campaign for governor? Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

How do you know your campaign is in trouble: when your car is getting more attention than your ideas.

That’s what’s happening to the infant campaign of Clay Pell, who would like to be our next governor.

Natalie Jablonski / RIPR

The plan to locate a state probation office on Fountain Street in downtown Providence is dead. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the debate on where it ought to go may be just beginning.

After an outcry ignited by Angus Davis, one of Rhode Island’s top young high-tech entrepreneurs, Governor Lincoln Chafee’s administration has pulled back a proposal to move a state probation office from a gritty South Providence neighborhood to a downtown venue nestled among the Providence Journal Building, The Rhode Island Convention Center and the Providence Biltmore Hotel.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has delivered his final state budget proposal and delivered his final State of the State address. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay parses Chafee’s last hurrah.

The cliché says: show me your budget and I’ll figure out your priorities. When it comes to Gov. Chafee’s final budget, that may be a trite description, but it’s true.

Don Boorman / RIPR

From the Vatican to the White House and the Rhode Island Statehouse, the talk these days is about poverty. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what our small state can do to alleviate this scourge.

The Gospels tell us that the poor shall always be with us. Pope Francis has dedicated the early months of his papacy to highlighting the need to help the poor and plane the rough edges from unfettered capitalism.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The hours are dwindling to Christmas and the annual shopping frenzy is on.

Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay says we should shop local to support the Rhode Island the Rhode Island economy, and details what Congress can do to help.

Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard at 6:35 and 8:35 every Monday on Morning Edition and at 5:50 on All Things Considered. You can also follow his political reporting and analysis at our ‘On Politics’ blog at


Money isn’t everything in political campaigns. Yet, it is a lot of things, explains RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay who ponders the role of campaign cash in the 2014 RI Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Jesse Unruh, speaker of the California Assembly, coined the term back in 1966. ``Money,’’ said Unruh. ``is the mother’s milk of politics.’’