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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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"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."

Do you really think teachers have any interest in anything but the status quo?

Since the teachers and their union are against Gist, I am for her.

Comment #1 by Odd Job on 2013 05 03

agreed Odd...Lawlor lives in the world of upside down..last week Angel was the super crime fighter, this week not?? Gist hurts the status quo which means Lawlor plays to the unions & who gives a rats arse if the ferry is not

Comment #2 by frank bentley on 2013 05 03

Here's an idea to run with. Leave the "Who's Hot" section completely blank until there is a big job producer to rave about, or some game changing legislation that dramatically changes the way Rhode Island operates. Same sex marriage has already had more than its 15 minutes of fame.

Comment #3 by David Beagle on 2013 05 03

Homosexual marriage may be a reality and you can praise all the parties involved all you want but this does nothing to change the fact that homosexual behavior is not normal. Embracing and supporting these behaviors is troubling. The proponents of this believe that equality is at he center of this bill, unfortunately as hard as you try they will never be equal simply because these relationship can not meet the laws of nature.

With that I hope that those that do get married respect each other and live out respect their bond to one another.

Comment #4 by Ronald Syper on 2013 05 03

interesting how chaffee went to nyc to promote gay marraige in ri.

but if you look at the new york daily news, new york post and new york times for today, the day after it became law, there is no mention.......

Comment #5 by jon paycheck on 2013 05 03

crime is down? What planet?

Comment #6 by anthony sionni on 2013 05 03

Why is Gist the "not hot" reason schools in Providence and Pawtucket are failing, and not the parents, teachers and students. Mr. Lawlor absolves the people that actually spend time with the kids and lays all the responsibility with the person that spends the least amount of time with kids. Zero credibility.

Comment #7 by Redd Ratt on 2013 05 03

Are golocal readers really as mean spirited as some previous posts? Why not celebrate the special day we allowed ALL couples who love each other to legally marry, and that RI, its people, legislature and Governor have honored out heritage of tolerance. And maybe celebrate too that this issue can be put behind us.

Also sad is the hostilty shown to teachers, the overwhelming % of whom care deeply about and work hard for their students, and persist despite ever more "hoops" required to jump through, a declining compensation outlook, and constant hostilty from so many, most of whom wouldn't last a day in the classrooms.

Comment #8 by barry schiller on 2013 05 04

Thursday was a historic day for RI and a long time past due. Great Job by Speaker Fox finally getting this important legislation through.

Education Commissioner Gist may have some good goals in mind for our schools but she has no clue how to accomplish them. Instead of the Governer negotiating another high priced contract he should be looking for a new Commissioner who actually knows what they are doing. Gists approach to almost everything shows her incompetence.

Comment #9 by dawn morrison on 2013 05 04

You make a comment about Fr. Brian Shanley being faced with serious accusations from current students and alumni about racial profiling and discrimination experienced by students of color on campus.

You have not written any articles about these claims so please tell me what are you basing this comment on?

Comment #10 by John Thomas Nailor on 2013 05 06

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