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

Friday, February 10, 2012


Who's Hot

Peter Kilmartin -> It's not the perfect deal, but kudos to the Attorney General for signing on to the multi-billion dollar settlement agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage companies. The state will get $172 million from the deal and while it doesn't change the deplorable circumstances many Rhode Islanders were forced into, it certainly shows the AG is committed to helping the little guy.

Brendan Doherty -> Don't expect the love from national Republicans to disappear any time soon. With the city of Providence nearing bankruptcy, David Cicilline has to be about as vulnerable as any Democrat in the country right now. The strange thing is that Cicilline appears to have so much baggage right now that Doherty doesn't even have to criticize the Congressman. He is essentially acting like the incumbent and mostly ignoring Cicilline at this point.

Michael Correia -> The Providence Councilman deserves credit for exposing the city worker who was stealing traffic signs and selling them for $15 apiece. It might not have been costing the city that much money, but it's a win to have an honest Councilman willing to expose people.

Steven Costantino & Keith Stokes -> After taking it on the chin a few years ago when that $75 million deal for Curt Schilling's video game company was announced, the former House Finance chairman and the head of the Economic Development Corporation are looking pretty good now that the first game produced by 38 Studios looks like a smash hit. It was a risky move, but maybe that's exactly what Rhode Island needs: Out-of-the-box thinkers that can help build the economy.

Rick Santorum -> Suddenly the former Pennsylvania Senator is back in the game after winning Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado this week. It seems clear that a lot of conservatives are beginning to see that Newt Gingrich may be unelectable and now they are looking for an anti-Romney option. It's going to be awfully difficult to win the nomination, but what about Vice President? Most believe the VP will come from a southern state, but Santorum probably has the same conservative credentials as a Marco Rubio.

Col. Martha McSally - Congrats to this Warwick native who plans to run for Gabby Gifford’s’ Congressional seat in Arizona. The Republican, who was the first woman to ever fly in combat with the Air Force, will face a large primary field. It's just too bad she is running for a seat across the country and not here in Rhode Island.

Who's Not

William Murphy -> Of all the issues for the former House Speaker to take on, why did he pick defending pay day loans? Speaker Murphy played a behind the scenes role in killing the bill last year and now he's a registered lobbyist who is opposing laws to prevent these companies from preying on poor people.

Robert J. Pelletier -> The City Councilman who wasn't living in his district resigned this week. It was the right move, but it doesn't make up for not telling anyone in the first place.

Eileen Naughton and Harold Metts -> Everyone agree that "teaching to the test" is a bad idea, but it makes no sense to get rid of standardized tests that could determine whether a student is eligible to graduate. That's the problem with education in the state right now. Everything is dealt with in extremes. Why not continue to test, but also offer the right interventions that will help struggling students turn things around?

Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority -> Yes, the idea of paying $5 each way to get to Newport is as outrageous as it sounds. This is a shortsighted decision that is going to cause a lot of people to simply avoid the bridge at all costs, particularly during the off season. Newport will always do fine during the summer, but why would anyone in the Providence want to pay $10 for a trip to Newport during the fall and winter months?

Ruth Simmons -> There are other tax-exempts that haven't played nice with the city, but Brown deserves the most criticism after President Simmons had the audacity to suggest that paying $5 million to the city would be "crippling" to the university. That's a drop in the bucket and she knows it.

East Providence City Council -> So long, health benefits for part-time employees. Welcome to the new Rhode Island.

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