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

Friday, January 04, 2013


Who’s Hot

Ken Block -> Kudos to the Moderate Party chairman for continuing his efforts to get rid of the so-called master lever. Block has launched a website (http://www.masterlever.org) and is hoping to get all potential candidates for Governor on the record regarding the issue. Block himself appears likely to run for the state’s top job again in 2014.

Ian Prior -> At least one Republican in Rhode Island is on his way to Washington. The well-liked former campaign manager for Brendan Doherty is moving to D.C. to serve as the Western Regional Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s a great gig for Prior, who ran a strong campaign for Doherty and was held in high regard by virtually everyone in the state press corps.

Sheldon Whitehouse, James Langevin & David Cicilline -> Congrats to the three members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation who were sworn into Congress again this week. Love them or hate them, all three were overwhelmingly supported by Rhode Island voters in November and it’s in every Rhode Islander’s best interest to hope they can actually get things done in Washington over the next several years.

Juan Pichardo -> The veteran State Senator has had his name thrown around for several different offices in 2014 (Mayor of Providence, Sec. of State) and now he’s been tapped to chair the Housing & Municipal Government committee. If rumors are true and he is interested in running for Mayor, it will be interesting to see what type of legislation he’ll work on with his new committee.

Hanna Gallo -> This State Senator followed through on her pledge to introduce legislation to place a hold on the merger of the state’s two education board and the Senate has already passed the bill. But keep an eye out what happens in the House on this issue. Finance chairman Helio Melo was a major supporter of the merger and may not be happy with the Senate attempting to slow down his efforts.

Gay Marriage -> As expected, same-sex marriage bills have been introduced in both chambers and a vote in House should come in short order. As everyone knows, the question is whether there are enough support in the Senate, but advocates for the bill say they’re confident 2013 will be the year for gay marriage.

Who’s Not

Governor Chafee -> You can’t blame the Governor for attempting to be optimistic, but you also can’t blame Rhode Islanders for rolling their eyes at his new YouTube video, which touts all the “successes” Rhode Island had in 2012. Try explaining those victories to the 10.4 percent of folks who remain out of work.

Sawyer School -> What a shameful move by a school that already known for preying on students with its sky-high tuition rates. Here’s hoping students can be reimbursed or have their credits transferred to other schools across the state.

Bill Murphy -> As the former Speaker of the House, Bill Murphy could make money lobbying for just about any company he wants, which makes it really difficult to understand why he’s picked payday lending. This year he’s going to have virtually every major candidate for Governor advocating in favor of payday loan reform, which will make his job that much more difficult.

Occupy Providence -> While it’s completely understandable to protest questionable deals made by the state, there is a major difference between Hasbro and 38 Studios. Hasbro is an established company with a strong track record in Rhode Island; 38 Studios was a pipedream created by a baseball player. Hasbro has created thousands of jobs of the years and if they need a tax break to create a few hundred more, that seems like a decent deal.

House Republicans -> The idea that House Republicans would tie up voting on funding for Hurricane Sandy relief is unconscionable and it has even the party’s presumptive nominee for President in 2016 (Chris Christie) furious. Everyone understands that politics can be an ugly game, but House leadership needs to keep its eye on the ball.


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