Scott MacKay commentary

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.


When Rhode Islanders head to polls next week, they will face an important issue that a recent poll shows most Rhode Islanders don’t either know about or understand. To shed some light on the issue, Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay takes a look at the Constitutional Convention.

Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard every Monday morning at 6:35 and 8:35 on Morning Edition and again during All Things Considered. You can also follow him at the “On Politics” blog.


The major candidates for Rhode Island governor have spent much of their campaigns focused on the economy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what they aren’t telling voters.

All of the Rhode Island political campaigns this year are talking about our state’s sluggish economy. In the governor’s contest between Republican Allan Fung, the Cranston mayor, and Democrat Gina Raimondo, the state treasurer, jobs and the economy often seem to be the only topic.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island has been a laggard in electing women to high office. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  on why that may change on November 4.

By most measures, Rhode Island is one of America’s most liberal and deepest blue of the 50 states. Our Washington, D.C. delegation is all-Democratic and no Republican holds any statewide or federal elected office.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Providence mayoral campaign, aka the Buddy Cianci redemption effort, is drawing national media attention. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay talks about the paths to victory for independent Cianci and Democrat Jorge Elorza.

Cianci, Elorza and Republican Dan Harrop faced off in their first campaign debate last week at Laurelmead, an East Side elderly housing complex. There was more heat than light as Elorza, a former city Housing Court judge, and Harrop, a psychiatrist, attacked Cianci’s record as one of New England’s infamously corrupt politicians.


Final musings Sunday a.m. before church and the Patriots opener.  Pats provide welcome respite to politics as the hours dwindle until Tuesday.

The biggest question in the Democratic gubernatorial primary is whether Clay Pell is incurring some last-minute cuts. His debate performances in the final week were underwhelming. And the revelation that he was a registered Republican when he lived in Arizona isn’t going to help him. Neither will the news that his skating queen wife, Michelle Kwan, was also registered with the GOP when she lived in California.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The televised air wars have started in the Democratic primary for governor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if voters are paying attention yet.

As the weeks dwindle towards the September primary, the advertising rhetoric among the major Democratic candidates has heated up. This is especially true of the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.


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.