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

Friday, May 03, 2013


Marriage in the house--speaker Gordon Fox sees Marriage Equality move to the Governor's desk and questions a special deal for the Superman Building.

Every Friday, Dan Lawlor breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Rhode Island politics. Check out who made the lists this week.

Who's Hot

West Warwick: Kudos to the people West Warwick's mill villages—Phenix, Arctic, Natick, Crompton—for hosting this year's Preservation Works! conference, highlighting the cultural and economic value of historic preservation and rehab in the state. State Senator Adam Satchell deserves kudos for his involvement! As Edward Sanderson, of the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission noted, no historic tax credits "have gone to a former ballplayer from the Red Sox organization."

Representative Jay O'Grady:  O'Grady's common sense proposal, based on a similar initiative in Maine, brings back the historic tax credits in a regulated fashion, and will help fund rehab work among rural mill villages across the state.

Gordon Fox: The Speaker can proudly celebrate the final passage of marriage equality and deserves kudos for his public skepticism of a special deal for the Superman building. Will the speaker find the time to reform payday loans, or eliminate the Master Lever?

Bill Dessel and Tom McGowan: These two Rhode Island entrepreneurs are behind "Keel Vodka," an up and coming new spirit from Newport. Local business drives our state—best of luck as the summer season starts!

Nellie Gorbea: The executive director of Housing Works RI is contemplating a run for Secretary of State, joining outgoing Democratic Party Chair Ed Pacheco, businessman Guillame de Ramel, and Chafee Appointee Catherine Taylor as possible 2014 contenders. Gorbea, a hard worker and organizer, might be the first Latina elected to statewide office.

Lincoln Chafee: Did you know Quonset Point is going to be a major hub of Honda imports starting in 2014? You might not have heard because the Governor's Office announced the Honda deal in a press release the day Boston was under lockdown. The news is great, but the timing needs work!

YWCA- Women in Politics: Susan Farmer, Kathleen Connell, Arlene Violet—nearly all the female firsts in the State gathered to reflect on past accomplishments and present challenges in Lincoln. Would that today's GOP act like the GOP past!

Who's Not

Not feeling the love and support from RI's teachers to move the needle on urban grad rates--Commission Deborah Gist.

Angel Taveras: Overall crime is down, but robberies and homicide in the capital city are on the rise compared to last year

Fr. Brian Shanley: The President of Providence College was faced with serious accusations from current students and alumni about racial profiling and discrimination experienced by students of color on campus. How will the college react?

Deborah Gist: What's the plan for Rhode Island's schools? In 2012, districts like Providence and Pawtucket had graduation rates of 65% and 67% respectively. We need to move the needle on education reform, and right now most teachers in Rhode Island don't have confidence in Gist to do so.

Ed Morabito and Buff Chace: The Westminster developer and the Cuban Revolution restaurateur have both done good for the city. Too bad they couldn't come to an agreement on Cuban Revolution's downcity location. Morabito choose to close suddenly and left for Olneyville. Chace has an open storefront. Not a great week for either.

Hasbro: The economic dynamo has laid off 50 Rhode Islanders so far this year.

High Rock Development: Asking for nearly $40 million in taxpayer money, in a state with nearly 5,000 homeless and over 9% out of work, to rehab a bank into hip apartments is a bit much.

Prudence Island Ferry: Time for problem-solving! 200 town residents will be left stranded on Prudence Island as the ferry operator announced service will cease December 1 this year. Portsmouth officials are working on a solution.  


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