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

Friday, March 09, 2012


Who's Hot

Angel Taveras -> Even as the Mayor moves to freeze COLAs and cut benefits for retirees, it seems as though people realize the city's problems were not caused by him. During last week's meeting with retirees, a large number of those who spoke prefaced their questions by complimenting the Mayor, with one woman even saying, "you're not a Mickey Mouse Mayor." Of course, the retirees may have respect for Taveras, but that doesn't mean they'll agree to concessions.

State GOP -> All 83 Republicans who filed to run as delegates in the Presidential race qualified for the ballot while more than 30 percent of the Democrats who filed to run did not get enough signatures. It might be a small victory, but it could be a sign that that GOP is finally getting its act together. The Party also says it has already lined up 30 candidates to run for General Assembly seats, which could mean that fewer races will go uncontested in the general election.

David Bates -> Senator Bates’ bill to collect DNA from anyone arrested for a violent crime is a smart step for the state. The Senate has again passed the legislation, but here’s hoping it’s not killed in the House again.

Nick Kettle -> Kudos to Senator Kettle for calling for more regulation around legislative grants. If anything is to be learned from the scandal at URI, it's that there should be more oversight regarding which organizations are receiving state money. Voting on each grant may cause politics to get in the way, but there is no question that the entire process needs to be improved.

Hanna Gallo -> Rhode Island is behind the curve when it comes to offering Advanced Placement courses in high schools, but Senator Gallo's bill to establish an AP teacher training program will undoubtedly help create more AP classes and hopefully give students a better chance at actually passing the tests.

Louise White -> Perhaps the best story of the week was that of the 81-year-old Newport woman who came forward as the winner of the $336.4 million Powerball prize. Not only is her family going to be extremely wealthy for generations, Ms. White has singlehandedly done more to reduce Rhode Island's budget deficit than every politician in the state.

Mitt Romney -> He still isn't attractive to conservatives, but it seems like a foregone conclusion that Governor Romney will lock up the GOP nomination. The next most logical move would be to select Marco Rubio as his Vice President, a move that would go a long way to convincing voters in southern states that he is worthy of the presidency.

Who's Not

Brendan Doherty -> Bringing in Congressman Pete Sessions may generate attention nationally, but it just gives Congressman Cicilline the opportunity to paint Doherty as a right-wing extremist. Of course, Doherty has done little wrong so far and at this point, he's the overwhelming favorite to defeat Cicilline, so it's difficult to question the Colonel at this point.

Governor Chafee -> The Governor has been pretty quiet lately, but his critics are out in full force as they attempt to get the General Assembly to kill the meals tax proposal. Business owners expressed outrage at the plan this week and that anger is unlikely to subside in the coming months. The hospitality industry has some of the best lobbyists in the state, so it’s unlikely Chafee's plan will ever make it to a vote.

Hasbro -> The toy maker laid off 55 employees in Rhode Island this week despite the nearly $2 million it received in tax breaks to open a downtown office. Every time you hear stories like these, it makes you wonder how effective these massive tax breaks can be if companies can still do whatever they want when it comes to layoffs.

Woonsocket -> The city's credit rating was downgraded again this week as the Mayor admitted that the city could run out of cash by the end of next month. Now one has to wonder how long it will be before the state steps in for an intervention.

Jim Baron & Jesse Agel -> URI and Brown basketball are looking for new coaches after Baron and Agel were let go in recent days. Here's hoping Rhode Island College head coach Bob Walsh gets an interview with one or both of those schools. The guy has D-1 experience and has built RIC into a powerhouse at the D-3 level.

Rush Limbaugh -> 50 advertisers have now cut ties with the controversial talk show host after his distasteful comments about a Georgetown Law student. Limbaugh is still one of the most popular figures in all of talk radio, but it will be interesting to see just how the most recent backlash will affect him.

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