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

Friday, April 13, 2012


Who's Hot

Anthony Gemma -> The only question about Sunday’s “major announcement” is whether Gemma’s Facebook friends in Switzerland, Australia and Zimbabwe will be able to view a live stream somewhere on the Internet. All kidding aside, the combination of Gemma’s bank account and the Congressman’s approval numbers must have the Cicilline campaign concerned, even if they don’t want to admit it.

Rep. Donald J. Lally and Sen. Erin P. Lynch -> They’re not household names in Rhode Island politics, by Rep. Lally and Senator Lynch led the way last year on moving the presidential primary to the end of April in hopes it might bring candidates to the Ocean State. Clearly that strategy worked.

Don Grebien -> The Pawtucket Mayor has asked the Governor to allow his city, Central and East Providence to share municipal services, which could be the first step toward regionalization throughout the state. Kudos to Mayor Grebien for understanding that both his constituents and residents in neighboring communities will be better off if cities and towns can work together.

Mitt Romney -> The almost-certain Republican nominee for President made a stop in Rhode Island this week, a move that all but guarantees a landslide victory for him on April 24. It will be interesting to see if he’ll make any trips to the Ocean State during the general election.

Soren Ryherd and Allan Tear -> Congratulations are in order for the two winners of the Rhode Island Foundation’s $300,000 Innovation Grants. Ryherd and Tear are perfect examples of entrepreneurs who have the passion to make a difference in this state and the ability to make it happen.

Michael Riley -> The Republican challenger to Congressman Langevin kicked off his campaign this week and in addition to being willing to drop $1 million of his own money in the race, it appears he may get some help from national conservative organizations as well. Langevin certainly has no reason to be scared yet, but if Riley continues to increase his name recognition, that race will certainly be worth watching.

Who's Not

Angel Taveras -> The Taveras administration may think GoLocalProv is unethical, but there’s a better description for anyone who forgets to delete 3,000 Social Security numbers from a spreadsheet before e-mailing it out: Unqualified.

David Cicilline -> The Congressman deserves credit for once again proving he is going to outraise his opponents, but it remains to be seen whether his apology has any chance of paying off. The question for him right now isn’t whether his opponents are more popular; it’s whether a path to 50 percent of the vote even exists.

Ruth Simmons -> President Simmons certainly isn’t making friends with the city on her way out the door after again criticizing Providence’s financial situation this week. It is believed that a deal between the city and Brown is imminent, but given her opposition to helping the city, it doesn’t sound like Simmons will ever have a school or library named after her.

Robert Flanders -> The decision to make Judge Flanders a featured speaker at Operation Clean Government’s candidate school later this month is questionable at best. Someone who promotes municipal bankruptcy (and makes a hefty sum doing so) probably shouldn’t be the role model for aspiring political candidates. That is, unless there is a course called, “How to destroy a city and get rich at the same time.”

Chip Hoyas -> How a guy facing 54 felonies for cashing fraudulent checks while serving as deputy chief of staff to former Senate President Joseph Montalbano could ever look anyone in the eye and request a disability pension is unbelievable.

EngageRI -> Everyone agrees that cities and towns need to do their homework before attempting to address their massive unfunded pension liabilities, but it’s wrong for this well-funded group to not endorse the Governor’s municipal relief package after he fell on his sword to support statewide pension reform last year.

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