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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, July 25, 2014


Every Friday, Dan Lawlor breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Rhode Island politics. Check out who made the lists this week.

Hot this week: Newport, Rhode Island's #1 ranked community


Sandra Cano: "Pawtucket faces tremendous challenges in keeping the infrastructure of our schools up to date. This is not only an investment for our children; it is an investment for all our residents," notes Pawtucket School  Board member Cano. One of GoLocal's 13 to watch in 2013, Cano is seeking election for City Council At Large  and recently released a 5 point plan to improve business opportunities in the city. She's joining Mayor Grebien in the work to make Pawtucket stronger.

Newport: Congratulations to the beautiful city by the sea! For the second year in a row, this "highly visited community" was ranked #1 in GoLocal's Rhode Island's Best Communities. From the slave trade to religious tolerance, Newport, what Emma Lazarus called "the busy town," embodies both our deep failures and high hopes as a state.

Joanna Detz and Frank Carini/Eco RI: Eco RI is a gift: high-quality environmental reporting right here in the Ocean State. The more environmental news the better. As Jody Sullivan of the Newport Chamber of Commerce told GoLocal, "The greatest challenges facing Newport are climate change/sea level rise, we are an unique colonial seaside community and water and resiliency are extremely important issues." The non-profit, digital publication celebrates five years- support another five here.

Line Item Veto: From Lincoln Chafee to Ken Block, the latest good government issue (aside from magistrate reform) is giving the Rhode Island Governor a line item veto. 44 governors have this power. The Rhode Island governor does not. Let's change that to help remove inefficiencies, waste, and side deals from the budget.

Richardson Oigdan/Trinity Restoration Inc.: Oigdan has a vision for an engaged, thriving Trinity Square, at the intersection of Broad and Elmwood in South Providence. Oigdan is one of the leader organizers for the Southside Cultural Center, which hosts the Wilbury Theater Group, the Laotian Community Center, Rhode Island Black Storyteller, and others. Support this important work!

Carol Mumford: "It's hard to remember seeing Carol without a smile. Even if you just met her, she treated you like an old friend," the RI Young Republicans said in a statement. A constant champion for a more responsive government and active in numerous groups, former Representative Mumford was a dedicated elected official, advocate for women, mother, wife, high school teacher, professor and believer in Rhode Island.


School Construction Moratorium: "As of today are most of your schools, or all of your schools, warm, safe and dry?," Jim Hummel recently asked Joseph DiPina, chief of administration for the Providence School Department. DiPina replied, "I wouldn’t say that as of today they’re all there."

The state-imposed moratorium on new school rehab and construction must end; Please, Nick Mattiello and Teresa Paiva Weed, build schools, not a $43 million parking garage downtown.

AH Belo Corp: Good riddance to the Texas company that damaged the Providence Journal. As GoLocal's Dean Starkman reported, the Journal's daily newspaper circulation in 2000 was 163,000. In 2013, the Journal's daily readership was about 79,000. The Journal's decline was far more rapid than the national average. Belo failed the city, and wounded a paper that won Pulitzer Prizes for investigative journalism.

Jim Langevin: Representative Langevin serves on the House Intelligence Committee, which reviews the US drone program. He also receives tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from people who make drones. How can he be objective? Email and tell Langevin: "No drone money. No conflict of interest. Return the funds."

Bill Murphy & Steve Alves: Murphy and Alves have many things in common. Both are former members of the General Assembly leadership- and both sell their insider knowledge for cash.  Murphy has lobbied for high-interest payday lenders and Twin River casino. Alves lobbied for a credit card company, the autobody shops, healthcare and pharmaceutical interests, and libraries. Did Murphy and Alves become involved to help the state or themselves? Shameful.

26: "...the data and trends bearing on child development and children’s access to opportunity should command at least the same level of attention as statistics about our economy," argues the Anne E. Casey Foundation. As Bob Plain noted, according to the Casey study, "RI is 26th when it comes to child well being. Massachusetts is 1, Vermont 2, New Hampshire 4, and Connecticut 7." 42,000 Rhode Island children, 19%, live in poverty.

2,900: In 2013, 2,900 people in the state sought out temporary restraining orders against their partners or others. Organizations like RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Sojourner House, and Day One are working for real supports for people in our neighborhoods. 

Vincent A Cianci, Jr: Between 1989 and 1999, despite the Renaissance, child poverty in the city went up, from 35 to 40%. In 2000, 40% of Providence children lived in poverty. By 2010, 35.6% lived in poverty. As of 2012,  37.2%. Cianci's record doesn't suggest he will move more families out of poverty. 


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