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

Friday, February 24, 2012


Who's Hot

Angel Taveras -> Next week may be difficult as Mayor Taveras prepares for what could turn into an ugly conversation with retirees on March 3, but for now, he is easily the most popular politician in the state according to the latest Brown poll. People continue to find his honesty throughout his first 13 months in office to be refreshing and it's giving him plenty of leverage in his battles with both the retirees and the nonprofits.

Gina Raimondo -> The Treasurer again comes away looking strong in that same Brown poll and unless pension reform hits some unforeseen road block, it's difficult to see how her fortunes will change. Like Taveras, Raimondo gets kudos from voters who like that she was open and honest when attempting to address pensions last year.

Seth Yurdin -> The Providence Council Majority Leader is taking a lot of heat for a redistricting move that allows him to represent downtown, but it looks like the Council will vote in favor of that map. This will make Yurdin the most powerful Council member in the city as anyone hoping to purchase 195 land will likely have to place nice with him.

Sheldon Whitehouse -> The Senator's plan to raise taxes on millionaires got a boost this week when Warren Buffett endorsed the bill. That was no surprise considering the legislation is known as the "Buffett rule," but it certainly doesn't hurt anytime you pick up support from one of the world's richest men.

Hanna Gallo -> The State Senator's plan to make all-day kindergarten available to more students is a homerun for Rhode Island. All signs point to kindergarten playing a vital role in the development of children and while it may cost more money, this is the kind of investment Rhode Island should be making.

Susan Wynne -> Congratulations are in order for the new head of the Rhode Island Tea Party. It's still difficult to sell some of the Tea Party's ideals to everyday Rhode Islanders, but with 95 percent of voters are unhappy with the state's economy, there might not be a better chance than now to turn some heads.

Who's Not

David Cicilline -> Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did for the first-term Congressman. At 15 percent in the polls, one question has to be asked: At what point will the national Democratic Party step in and suggest that Ed Pacheco and company start searching for a new candidate?

Lincoln Chafee -> Governor Chafee's numbers aren't much higher, although he at least has a couple of years to turn things around. One of the biggest question marks about the Governor has been his messaging, which his team struggled with in his first year. Other than YouTube videos the majority of Rhode Islanders will never see, he doesn't appear to be doing a strong enough job pushing his agenda on the state.

Joe Biden -> Forget the "Road Island" gaffe. How about not allowing press other than the Journal into the high-priced fundraiser for Senator Whitehouse Thursday night? The Obama administration has had a frosty relationship with the media in general and this is no different. The Senator's team should have stepped in, however.

     Bill & Patrick Lynch -> It is unclear just how far this Sport Institute scandal will go, but the Lynch brothers keep finding their names being thrown into the conversation; something that will not help either of their political futures.

Robert Phillips -> There are few taxes anyone is okay with, but why would you pick the cigarette tax as the one to lower? The tobacco industry may be pleased, but that can't be a great sell for families or people under 40, can it?

Civil Unions -> The ACLU put out another brief this week about the tiny number of couples that have gotten civil unions over the last year. You have to wonder how much this will play a role in pushing same-sex marriage on Smith Hill this year.

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