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

Friday, March 02, 2012


Who's Hot

Anthony Gemma -> The whole waiting game regarding his run for Congress has become a tad obnoxious, but there is no better way to kick off a campaign than by pointing to the 75-100 new jobs he just helped create by merging his media company (Mediapeel) with Alex and Ani. It's hard to argue with his talents as a businessman; now the question is whether enough Democrats actually believe he is a Democrat.

Chris Blazejewski -> Kudos to Rep. Blazejewski for submitting legislation that would ban restaurant owners or managers from requiring servers to hand over all or part of their tips. Talk about a homerun bill. This proposal will prevent thousands of already-low paid servers from being screwed over by greedy ownership.

Brendan Doherty -> Rhode Islanders currently believe the best thing about Brendan Doherty is that he isn't David Cicilline, but that may very well be enough for the first-time Congressional candidate. If you're Doherty, do you even bother debating Cicilline? Barely speaking at all has given you a 15 point lead in the polls.

Governor Chafee -> For the past year, medical marijuana supporters were just another group of constituents angry with Governor Chafee. But an agreement announced this week will help open compassion centers in the Ocean State and Chafee deserves credit for coming around on the issue.

Barry Hinckley -> Despite a "this is real bad" interview on Fox News, the GOP Senate candidate's video of his son weighing in on the economy was adorable and went viral pretty quickly. Hinckley has an uphill battle, but it's unlikely Senator Whitehouse's numbers are going to improve much over the next year. The question is whether Hinckley will have enough firepower in his war chest once the Senator decides to get serious about his reelection bid.

Patrick Kennedy -> Kudos to the former Congressman for taking Senator Brown to task after Brown used an ad to suggest Ted Kennedy would have sided with the Republican in the contraception debate currently unfolding in Washington. That, of course, isn't true at all.

Bob Plain & Justin Katz -> Congrats are in order for two of the state's top minds when it comes to digital journalism. Plain, who was completely screwed over by a local radio station last year, will be tasked with rejuvenating the once-influential Rhode Island's Future blog. Katz, who should have been earning a decent income from his writing years ago, has launched the Ocean State Current, a blog that will also be worth paying attention to in the coming months.

Who's Not

David Cicilline -> Here's how bad it has gotten for Congressman Cicilline: The state's two most popular politicians have expressed their support and the immediate reaction from Rhode Islanders is to criticize Mayor Taveras and Treasurer Raimondo. Still, it's March and he doesn't have an opponent in a Democratic primary and if Anthony Gemma is the eventual challenger, the race will likely be a coin flip.

Providence Redistricting -> Just like the statewide process, redistricting in Providence has been a nightmare, complete with claims of gerrymandering, racism and discrimination. The scary thing is that it's difficult to tell who's right and who's wrong. Every Council member seems to have his/her own agenda, making the process that much more of a disaster.

Elizabeth Crowley -> While there is no one in the state who doesn't feel badly for what has happened in Central Falls, it's a shame that Senator Crowley is attempting to politicize a skit from receiver Bob Flanders at last Friday's Newspaper Guild Follies. If you don't leave the Follies offended, then the event wasn't successful. Even Congressman Cicilline was willing to laugh at himself for a night.

Central Falls Bankruptcy -> Now if you want to criticize Flanders, criticize the fact that bankruptcy has cost the tiny city $1.8 million and counting. If you're keeping score at home, that's only slightly less than a third of what the city's budget deficit was when it filed for bankruptcy last August.

Brian Kennedy -> Anyone who has ever been a server knows that when groups have gratuity automatically included on their bill, they almost never add to the tip. This of course means that while the server has to work extra to deal with a large party, they will likely only receive a 15-18 percent tip. Rep. Kennedy's new bill will require restaurants which add gratuity to a diner’s bill to calculate that gratuity based upon the total amount of the purchase, a plan that will likely lower the amount the server receives. Maybe Kennedy should consult with Rep. Blazejewski on what it means to actually support the service industry.

Michael Gardiner -> One of the GOP candidates for Congress in the 2nd District got a taste of what can happen in the world of social media recently when a hate-filled woman criticized Congressman Langevin's disability publically on the candidate's Facebook page. Rather than remove the post, Gardiner, desperate for anyone to pay attention to his campaign at all, left the post up and continued to engage in conversation. Talk about a tasteless move.

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