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

Friday, March 23, 2012

 

Who's Hot

  Ernie Almonte -> The worst kept secret in Rhode Island political circles was that former Auditor General Ernie Almonte has been planning to run for Governor and this week he confirmed to the Journal that he is considering throwing his hat into the ring. Almonte is well-liked and assuming he runs as a Democrat, he could be a legitimate primary challenger to Gina Raimondo, who is widely considered the favorite in 2014.

James Doyle -> The State Senator's bill to force executive-level lobbyists to follow the same disclosure reporting rules as legislative lobbyists is perfect for a guy who is planning to run for Secretary of State in 2014. Doyle has the support of current Secretary of State Ralph Mollis on this bill and should be a serious threat to win what will likely be a hotly contested race in two years.

Dan McKee -> Speaking of 2014, the Cumberland Mayor, who was considered a threat to Congressman David Cicilline before saying he had no intention of running for Congress, appears to be the early favorite to run for the open Lieutenant Governor's seat in two years. The thinking is that McKee could make education the priority in that position the way Elizabeth Roberts has done with health care. It's a good plan, but McKee will certainly face a solid union-backed candidate if he does run.

Sheldon Whitehouse -> Senator Whitehouse's legislation to strengthen campaign finance reporting rules is a win for the good government crowd. There is still far too much secret money floating around to candidates all over the country and in a Presidential election year, it will only get worse if changes aren't made immediately.

William Walaska -> Kudos to Senator Walaska for calling on his colleagues to pay more for their health insurance. As one lawmaker told GoLocalProv this week, "It’s not about the money – it’s the principle of the thing. How can we, meaning elected officials generally, talk about the need for public union employees to pay more in co-shares for health insurance when we don’t do it ourselves?"

Harold Metts -> Senator Metts' bill to offer a "certificate of good conduct" for parolees is an excellent idea for helping those with a criminal record become more productive members of society. While it's okay to be tough on crime, all too often ex-offenders are forced to live with a scarlet letter that prevents them from ever climbing out of the difficult situations that led them to become criminals in the first place.

Danny Hurley -> WPRO radio host Dan Yorke was spot-on this week when he blasted those who are attempting to politicize the new URI basketball coach's salary. Yes, he'll be the highest paid state employee. This isn't a Rhode Island thing. It's an everywhere thing. And big time college programs help the state far more than the couple of million it might save by hiring a third-rate coach. Just ask the University of Connecticut.

Who's Not

RI GOP -> Pat Sweeney's departure as executive director in an election year is a major blow to a Party already on life support. It's going to be awfully difficult to replace a guy who was smart enough to know how the game on Smith Hill is played and young enough to have the energy to work hard to get people elected.

Anthony Gemma -> It was a rough week in the media for the soon-to-be Congressional candidate. First he was blasted by the liberal RI Future blog for his questionable strategy in recruiting Facebook friends and then the Phoenix offered spot-on analysis about the challenges he'll face against David Cicilline. Still, those who say he isn't a credible candidate are kidding themselves. At this point, anybody is credible against a guy with 15 percent approval in the polls.

Woonsocket -> The endless saga that is Woonsocket's financial problems continued this week with the City Council deciding to postpone a vote for a supplemental tax hike. The tax increase seems inevitable at this point, but there are certainly some people who wonder why the city shouldn't just go all-in and file for bankruptcy right away.

Leo Medina -> The embattled Providence State Rep. is back in the news after pleading not guilty in a life insurance scheme. While he is certainly innocent until proven guilty, it's difficult to see how Medina will be able to win re-election this year.

Bill Lynch -> The former Democratic Party chairman and Congressional candidate has stepped away from his position as lawyer for the Sport Institute at URI, but it appears the Lynch brothers and many other current and former politicians in the state still have a lot of explaining to do. Kudos to the Journal for its excellent coverage of the entire scandal.

Edward Krawetiz -> It is unbelievable that this disgrace of a cop managed to avoid jail time after kicking a handcuffed woman in the head in what he suggested was an act of self defense. Krawetiz's actions gave a black eye to cops all over the state and he deserved a prison sentence.

Luis Aponte -> The Providence Councilman is being sued by his former friend Greg Costantino over a $37,000 check he allegedly pocketed rather than returning to Costantino. It sounds like there are questions about this deal on both sides (what took so long for the claim to be made?) but it's never a good sign when former U.S. Attorney Robert Corrente is the plaintiff's lawyer.


 

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