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

Friday, July 26, 2013

 

Stepping back into the limelight this week: Republican Catherine Taylor.

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

John Smith, RISD Museum: Enter the RISD Museum, and you'll find sculpture from India, paintings from France, and screen prints from Olneyville. "Locally Made" is an awesome showcase celebrating local artists and their visions–check it out.

Gina Raimondo: The General Treasurer has embarked on a statewide tour to promote budgeting, financial literacy, and "empowerment" among Rhode Islanders. Helping local Rhode Islanders plan for their financial goals can only help our communities.

Jeshua Zapata: Congrats to Zapata for winning 2013 Young Entrepreneur of the Year from the RI Small Business Association! Zapata is the founder of Xzito, a web-focused branding and marketing company. Zapata is also active with the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University.

Grace Lee Boggs: A radical Civil Rights and Asian American activist, Lee Boggs recently celebrated her 98th birthday. Long based in Detroit, she was born in Providence, has a great sense of humor, and recently was the subject of a documentary. Speaking of Detroit's decline, she writes, "Instead of investing our hopes in GM, Ford, and Chrysler and becoming increasingly alienated from each other and the Earth, we needed to invest in, work with, and rely on each other."

Catherine Taylor: The current Director of the Division of Elderly Affairs, and one-time GOP candidate for Secretary of State, recently appeared at a Young Republicans gathering at the NYLO in Warwick. Preparing for a 2014 run?

Davian Sanchez: While not always popular around the Mayor's Office, Sanchez, the youngest member of the Providence City Council, has been making a name for himself advocating for equal access to and funding for city pools across the city.

Scott Avedesian/RIPTA: Kudos to the transit authority for seeking public input for a new bus schedule design and layout. Let's just hope the latest once a decade rehab of Kennedy Plaza goes smoothly.

Who's Not

CDBG grants: Open question: Why does each member of the Providence City Council receive over $60,000 in Community Development Block Grants to distribute to groups or functions in their neighborhood? How can the community be more involved in deciding how to spend the money?

DMV: Much progress has been made since those crazy days in Pawtucket, but when folks at the DMV in Cranston tell you that you're better off just going to AAA, it's time for more re-structuring.

Gina Raimondo: The Treasurer is facing criticism the state's pension funds are missing out on the current stock market boom. Her strategy to shift more into hedge funds has lead some to question why the state's portfolio has "a ten-point lag behind the performance of the stock market."

Foreclosure crisis: As Go Local's Dean Starkman has reported, "Rhode Island continued to lead New England with the worst [mortgage] delinquency rate and is the 12th worst in the nation."

Office of Lt Governor: The LA Times recently recounted a quip by Gavin Newson, the Lt. Governor of California, "You wake up every morning, you read the paper looking in the obituaries for the governor's name. That's pretty much it." California spends about $1 million for the Lt. Governor's office. Let's save a $1 million locally, and abolish Little Rhody's Office of Lt. Governor..

Lincoln Chafee: Eva Marie Mancuso should not be appointed interim commissioner of Higher Education. We can't keep recycling the same leadership (and breaking the ethics code!)

25% Youth Unemployment: We're in a job crisis–who in Rhode Island's state leadership will offer solutions?

Monarchy: Walk into any supermarket across the capital city, and you'll see magazines with pictures and photos speculating on the birth of the latest prince of England. I'm happy for William and Kate as people, but we had a revolution for a reason.

 

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