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

Friday, November 30, 2012

 

Who’s Hot

Ed Pacheco -> With rumors heating up about a potential run for Secretary of State, the chairman of the Democratic party had an excellent op-ed last weekend calling for changes to the way Rhode Islanders vote. Pacheco suggested in-person early voting, closing polls at 9pm, increasing the number of polling locations and more collaboration between the Board of Elections and the Secretary of State. He’s right. There is no reason voters should stand in line for hours on Election Day.

Lincoln Chafee -> It doesn’t matter where you stand on the Christmas Tree issue; Governor Chafee won the battle with radio host John DePetro this time around. By giving the press (and the public) about 30 minutes notice and lighting the tree in the middle of the day, Chafee managed to avoid having an angry mob storm the State House.

Allan Fung -> Sounds like retirees are at least willing to meet with Mayor Fung, which could mean he manages to pull off the same type of agreement Mayor Taveras was able to achieve in Providence. Fung’s ability to negotiate here may go a long way in deciding whether he runs for higher office in two years.

Lou Raptakis -> The State Senator-elect in District 33 is calling for legislation that will force convicted criminals have to serve at least half of their sentences before receiving parole. While the bill will certainly need to be refined, it could gain plenty of support in the more conservative Senate, especially with thrill killer Alfred Brissette’s name back on people’s minds.

Susan Pegden -> Congrats to the new legal counsel for House Speaker Gordon Fox. Pegden replaces John Flynn, a well-respected Fox-ally who locked up a job as a Rhode Island Drug Court magistrate.

JetBlue -> Great to finally have one of the best (and most affordable) airlines at T.F. Green. This is a big win for Governor Chafee, who is trying to convince Rhode Islanders that he can put together a plan to turn around the state’s economy

Who’s Not

North Providence Police Department -> While forcing kids to do pushups was funny (and probably appropriate), this is a black eye the police department just didn’t need. In a world where everything a public figure does ends up in the news, these officers should have known better.

 

James Diossa -> He’s going to cruise to victory in the Central Falls Mayoral race, but Councilman Diossa had a hiccup this week when he declined to participate in a televised debate with opponent James Moran III. The problem for Diossa is that, short of a family emergency, there is no justifiable reason for skipping out on a debate and members of the press have been correct to take him task for this.

Landmark Medical Center -> It may only be 22 jobs, but the layoffs at Landmark Hospital are just another shot at the state’s economy. More than 50 employees have been laid off the year at the Hospital, which is expected to be sold to California-based Prime Healthcare Services in the near future.

Rhode Island Economy -> Speaking of the economy, Rhode Island received yet another dismal ranking when it was rated the second worst-run state in the country by 247wallst.com earlier this week. The ranking didn’t take into account the state’s pension overhaul, but the message was clear: Rhode Island is still in desperate need of a game-changer.

Rhode Island Parole Board -> While it sounds like the thrill killer may now remain in prison, why did it take a media report for this group to make that call?

 

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