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

Friday, April 20, 2012


Who’s Hot

Gina Raimondo & Angel Taveras -> They aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on municipal issues, but the state’s two most popular politicians agree that it’s time to prevent predatory payday lenders from charging exorbitant interest rates. This is an issue virtually everyone seems to agree on, but there is still a chance former Speaker William Murphy (now a lobbyist for Advance America) will pull strings to get a reform bill killed.

Twin River -> The state’s bigwigs seem to be going all-in on a proposal to allow table games at the Lincoln-based casino. This week Twin River rolled out its campaign to convince voters that Rhode Island’s livelihood depends on craps, which says a lot about where this state is heading.

Seth Yurdin -> It’s a shame that it takes something like an Easter Sunday melee for anyone to realize downtown Providence becomes a warzone after midnight on the weekends, but kudos to the Council Majority Leader for sponsoring a resolution to take a look at the city’s licensing policies. No word yet on whether posting signs that say “no stabbing allowed” has been discussed.

David Salvatore -> Councilman Salvatore and his pension subcommittee have recommended changes that could save Providence nearly $20 million per year. The most notable recommendations are freezing COLAs and capping pensions. It’s a step in the right direction, but recommendations are one thing and implementation is another. And then ultimately, a judge is probably going to throw it all out anyway.

Patrick Kennedy -> Congratulation to the former Congressman and his wife on their newborn child, Owen. Patrick seems to be doing well now that he’s out of the public spotlight and here’s hoping that continues.

Ron Paul -> The Texas Congressman seems to have a lot of support in Rhode Island and while he won’t win in Tuesday’s primary, he deserves credit for making the trip to the Ocean State.

John Loughlin -> It has been nice to hear the former Republican Congressional candidate filling in on the radio this week. Loughlin can offer valuable insight on the 1st District race and hasn’t been afraid to take candidates on both sides of the aisle to task. Here’s hoping he becomes a regular fill-in.

Who’s Not

Anthony Gemma -> The Democratic primary in the 1st District is about as bizarre as it gets. Gemma won’t acknowledge Congressman Cicilline and Cicilline doesn’t take Gemma seriously. But Gemma, who says he plans to run a more “targeted” campaign this time around, got off to a rough start when he refused to take reporters’ questions during his first press conference.

Unemployment -> The state can question the jobs numbers all it wants, but 11.1 percent is awful no matter which way you slice it. And while a tiny group of “experts” continue to engage in the recovery/recession debate, too many Rhode Islanders currently have little hope of finding work.

Sheldon Whitehouse, Jim Langevin, Governor Chafee, Elizabeth Roberts & Peter Kilmartin -> While the candidates running for office should also release their tax returns, there is no reason our current elected officials should have anything to hide.

Frank Corrente -> The idea that a guy who was sent to prison after he was caught taking bribes should be getting a pension from the city of Providence is disgusting. Kudos to the Taveras administration for continuing to fight to make sure he doesn’t receive a dime.

North Smithfield -> The Valley Breeze reports that the town was found to have violated the state’s Access to Public Records Act after a resident filed several complaints. It may seem like a small issue, but this lack of transparency takes place throughout the state and it’s nice to see the AG’s office take action.

President Obama -> Between the Secret Service scandal and the GSA’s out-of-control spending, it has been a rough week for the President. The question is whether anyone will remember these issues come November.


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