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

Friday, June 15, 2012


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Who's Hot

Brendan Doherty -> The Republican Congressional candidate is back on the “Young Guns” list of top GOP candidates nationally and this week he launched Democrats for Doherty and managed to bring former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn to town for a fundraiser. While there may be some concern over whether he can remain in the spotlight during what could be an ugly primary between Congressman Cicilline and Anthony Gemma, Doherty has done all the right things so far.

Angel Taveras -> Has any administration ever managed to get three consecutive budgets passed unanimously by the City Council? The Taveras administration pulled off the feat this week thanks in large part to the strong relationship that has been forged between the Mayor and Council President Michael Solomon. Unlike in years past, the executive and legislative branches of government deserve credit for working together to help solve the city’s financial woes.

Bob Watson -> The most entertaining lawmaker in the state shocked everyone with his decision to retire from the General Assembly this week. While it may have been difficult to get things done against a super majority, Watson was never shy about taking leadership to task. And he was often spot-on. See 38 Studios.

John Tassoni & Chris Blazejewski -> Kudos to this tandem for helping Rhode Island become the first state in the country to pass a homeless bill of rights. It’s nice to know that at least some of our lawmakers are thinking about Rhode Island’s neediest citizens.

David Bennett & Erin Lynch -> Another Representative/Senator duo that deserves praise. Rep. Bennett and Senator Lynch helped push the minimum wage increase through the Assembly this year, a major win for low-income Rhode Islanders.

David Salvatore -> It appears the first-term Providence Councilman is on his way to becoming chairman of the finance committee now that John Igliozzi has announced his plans to resign. Salvatore has been credited with leading the city’s pension reform efforts and is considered a rising star in local politics.

Who's Not

Lisa Baldelli-Hunt -> The Woonsocket Rep. is receiving the majority of the blame for the General Assembly not allowing the near-broke city to impose a supplemental tax hike on its residents. Baldelli-Hunt may want to run for Mayor at some point, but how can she win if she ends up the woman who forced the city into bankruptcy?

Bill Murphy -> He may no longer have the gavel, but the former Speaker proved he certainly can still pull the strings. Murphy managed to kill the payday lending reform bill this year, once again proving that connections mean more than sensible legislation. The reform efforts were supported by a coalition that included Mayor Angel Taveras, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and a large number of lawmakers, but it went nowhere thanks to Murphy’s influence.

Dunkin' Donuts -> If servers out there want to know why Rep. Blazejewski’s tip theft bill went nowhere this session, look no further than Dunkin’ Donuts. Despite the legislation overwhelmingly passing in the House, the company’s lobbyists were able to get the bill killed in the Senate.

Peter Petrarca -> If you want an example of why Rhode Island is in the situation it is in, look no further. In the last two weeks, Rep. Petrarca, who many believe will be the next Majority Leader, spent his time pulling car washes from the sales tax and then pushing for that auto-body legislation that directly benefits his family.

Keith Stokes -> So sticking taxpayers with a $75 million tab earns you $60,000 in severance pay as long as you don’t badmouth the state. Not a bad deal.

John Taylor -> You know you’ve officially become a nanny state when officials warn that your sandcastle may be a liability. Mr. Taylor is probably a fine gentleman, but the Barrington recreation director deserves all the criticism he received this week.

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]


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