Organized labor has been beset in recent years with declining membership in the private sector and a corresponding drop in clout at the Rhode Island Statehouse. Unions have taken their lumps recently, but there were signs of a rebound during the recently adjourned General Assembly session.
Labor did not get nearly everything it wanted; building trades union leaders are unhappy that lawmakers did not approve requiring construction firms bidding on state projects worth $1 million or more to have a union apprenticeship program.
Some comings and goings in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office:
Jamia McDonald is moving from deputy chief of staff and the governor’s liason to the state’s emergency management agency to become executive director of RIEMA.
Christian Vareika, the governor’s deputy communications director and chief speechwriter, is leaving the administration to attend law school. Vareika worked on Chafee’s 2010 campaign and has crafted major Chafee speeches.
Communications Associate James Alvarez is leaving the administration to pursue a creer in the U.S. Army.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expressing skepticism over the General Assembly’s last-minute license plate legislation that created a special anti-abortion ‘Choose Life’ plate.
Chafee spokeswomen Christine Hunsinger says the governor has made no decision yet on whether to veto the measure or let it become law but that he is concerned whether ``it is appropriate for money that flows through the Division of Motor Vehicles to go to a religious organization.’’
Tis the high season of summer in the Ocean State and the time of hijinks at the State House. As the hours dwindle towards adjournment, items big and small sometimes get lost in the last-minute shuffle as the competing egos in the House and Senate square off.
One very important economic development and education issue to watch: the fate of the resolution needed to move forward the plan to revive a gateway to the old Jewelry District in Providence by putting a nursing school in the old Dynamo Building, the onetime South Street power station.
Ted Hood, the internationally-known yachtsman who skippered the 1974 America’s Cup winner and whose hand-weaved custom sails were used on every Cup winning boat from 1958 to 1977, has died. He was 86.
A native of Beverly, Massachusetts on Boston’s North Shore, Hood started his sail-making company in the back of a tavern in Marblehead, Mass., a sailing mecca. He won an America’s Cup in 1974 as skipper aboard the boat Courageous.
In a wise move by the Rhode Island Foundation, the foundation has hired Chris Barnett, press spokesman for Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, to become senior public affairs officer.
Barnett has long been one of the state’s most reporter-friendly and helpful p.r. folks in a number of positions, including Rhode Island Housing. His knowledge of state election and public records and e-commerce laws was top notch and his awareness and concern for media deadlines won him respect over the years from journalists.
Walking the streets of Bristol this week is an exercise in Old Home Week. In the taverns, markets and at the concerts at Independence Park, the historic town is a welter of hugs and handshakes as people who haven’t seen each other in years greet and talk about the old times.
This week is the high social season for Bristol. The hydrangeas are in bloom, the red, white and blue stripe has been freshly painted on Hope Street and the peach and plum sunsets explode over the harbor.
Malcolm `Mac” Farmer III was once one of Providence’s best known Republicans, a city council member with a sharp eye for financial and legal issues. A prominent lawyer, Farmer was a staunch moderate and supporter of civil rights who was a well-regarded voice of reason on a council riven by ethnic and partisan grandstanding . He is the husband of Susan Farmer, a Republican who in 1982 became the first women elected to statewide office in Rhode Island when she won as secretary of state.
When Gov. Lincoln Chafee and gay marriage advocates two years ago touted its economic benefits for Rhode Island they were widely disparaged. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why Chafee and his allies may well be right.
A special tax break deal for large manufacturing companies that critics asserted was a giveaway to submarine manufacturer Electric Boat was withdrawn during last night’s Rhode Island House debate over the $8.2 billion state budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1.