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

Friday, December 14, 2012


Who’s Hot

James Diossa -> As expected, the 27-year-old easily won his race for Mayor against former Police Chief Joseph Moran III on Tuesday. It was the right choice at the right time for a city that desperately needs someone or something to rally around. And while inexperience will undoubtedly be an issue, Diossa will be able to call on any number of successful Mayors –Angel Taveras, Dan McKee, Don Grebien— to provide advice as he works to rebuild the city.

Angel Taveras -> The Providence Police Union’s vote to support the city’s pension reform settlement came at a perfect time for the Mayor. Now he can sit back and watch as General Treasurer Gina Raimondo continues to face pressure to head back to the negotiating table with the statewide unions over the same issue.

Jeff Padwa -> Speaking of Providence, the City Solicitor’s office picked up a big win this week when a federal court upheld an ordinance that prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city. It’s a notch in the belt for Padwa, who many believe has a real chance of being named the next chairman of the state Democratic Party and, down the line, a potential candidate for Attorney General.

Mike Solomon -> The Providence City Council President hasn’t made his candidacy for Mayor official yet (he’ll wait until Taveras makes a decision), but look for him to really begin building his war chest over the next nine months. If he can raise as much money as those close to him are suggesting, he should be able to scare off the majority of potential opponents in 2014.

Xaykham “Xay” Khamsyvoravong -> As RIPR first reported, Frank Caprio’s former campaign manager has been named a Vice President at Webster Bank. Xay is considered one of the good guys in local politics and here’s hoping he is successful in his new gig.

John Kerry -> With Susan Rice out of the running for Secretary of the State, it appears as though Kerry may be the favorite, which would leave an open Senate seat in Massachusetts. Kerry has long been viewed as a potential successor to Hillary Clinton and while there will be plenty of critics, don’t be surprised if Republicans take it easy on the former Presidential candidate. After all, Kerry’s appointment would open a door for Scott Brown.

Who’s Not

EngageRI -> The pro-pension reform advocacy group wasn’t a huge player in the 2012 elections, but now the organization is coming under fire after the Wall Street Journal reported that a Texas billionaire made a significant contribution to the group’s efforts. The criticism is fair. EngageRI should be forced to reveal its donors.

Wyatt Detention Center -> The Central Falls prison was forced to pay out a hefty settlement to the family of the Chinese man who died of liver cancer in 2008. Wyatt looks like it could end up being one of the problems Mayor-elect Diossa may have to address early in his first term.

Gary Alexander -> Governor Carcieri’s former Secretary of Health and Human Services is getting beat up in the news in Pennsylvania after a report showed that he has spent thousands of tax dollars making dozens of trips between the state and Rhode Island. At a time when people around the country are so concerned with debt, this is just something you can’t get away with.

Board of Governors for Higher Education -> To no fault of its own, the Board of Governor’s for Higher Education is now more after holding its final meeting this week. It looks like there will be another effort made to postpone the merger of the state’s twp education boards, but it appears highly unlikely this group has much hope of staying alive.

Big East -> It was the darling of college basketball only a few years ago, but with so many of its top schools jumping ship to join football powerhouse conferences, the Big East appears to be on its last legs. And now that the catholic schools apparently want out, the conference may be out of options.


Editor's Note: The original version of this piece included an incorrect age for Mayor-elect James Diossa

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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I'm starting to think that this should be a bi-weekly segment. It's become the Projo's yesterdays headlines. Let's work a little harder on this segment or give it to someone else.

Comment #1 by tom brady on 2012 12 14

Anyone think that the mayors considered "successful" here, wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in heck in any other state, aside from California?

Comment #2 by David Beagle on 2012 12 14

mr brady..apply for the job..they'll give you a 2 week tryout..start now gathering your Facts

Comment #3 by frank bentley on 2012 12 14

Xay is a good guy! Congrats to him!

Comment #4 by anthony sionni on 2012 12 14

The tobacco ordinance is hurting providence businesses and has nothing to do with preventing kids from smoking, now providence resident who smoke,adults I might add, will have to go to other neighboring cities and towns to get discounted cigarettes or even to buy a pouch of flavored tobacco . I hope it get appealed! So now instead of someone going into a store in Providence and buying all their tobacco products and other items they might buy,like gas,lottery,food etc they will just go to cranston.

Comment #5 by anthony sionni on 2012 12 14

Taveras???? Lets hope not, here is a guy that travels to C.F. to James Diossa victory announcement on the Providence tax payers dime, with his police detail,he should go on his own dime, not the tax payers of Providence! More smoke and mirrors!

Comment #6 by anthony sionni on 2012 12 14

who in the right mind would elect Solomon as mayor, he can't even control the council have you seen the meetings on cable,he has a leadership team that is hated by all including staff,clerks etc. He is not a leader and is not someone we would want as mayor.Look at his neighborhood as well has not done a thing since being elected.He sends his wife to neighborhood events and meetings. now he starts going cause his wants to be mayor

Comment #7 by dave smith on 2012 12 14

Sionni, get your facts straight about tobacco! flavored tobacco is directly aimed at kids, it's colorful (shiny) and smells like candy, i don't know too many adults who use flavored tobacco. this ordinance will prevent kids from getting their hands on tobacco, and they won't be able to go to neighboring city or towns, because they have no means of transportation. not too mention we should be doing everything in our power to protect our kids health. secondly, the mayor cannot travel places without security detail, it's for his own protection. the money has already been spent, so he mine as well get his money worth then sending them home. get a clue!

Comment #8 by annemarie treadeau on 2012 12 14

Kids cant but tobacco, its illegal,banning adults from buying flavored tobacco will hurt businesses. The people you are probably referring to are teenagers, who are also banned from buying tobacco. All sorts of unhealthy products are marketed to children, just like unhealthy snacks, should we ban all those as well. Teenagers also have means of going to other towns, by bus or driving themselves or even going in another friends car.

Comment #9 by anthony sionni on 2012 12 15

Their are many mayors in RI that travel with no security or driver and in fact drive their own vehicle around, this isn't Manhattan taveras doesn't need a 500k a year security detail! Going to political victory partys in other cities he can do on his own dime and time!

Comment #10 by anthony sionni on 2012 12 15

Let me clarify my above statement, teenagers will not be able to but tobacco in other towns either, just pointing out that they can travel around.

Comment #11 by anthony sionni on 2012 12 15

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