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

Friday, October 18, 2013


Anna Cano Morales leads with another great study from the Roger Williams University's Latino Policy Institute this week. And that's hot.

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.


Allan Fung: The Cranston Mayor (and potential gubernatorial candidate) was recently profiled in DC-based Asian Fortune magazine. He detailed his vision for the state and our challenges. Ever the booster, he noted, “Cranston may not be as big as D.C., but it is a wonderful place with wonderful people."

Anna Cano Morales/Latino Policy Institute: Another great study from Roger William University's Latino Policy Institute examines the role of Latinos in the state's workforce. The infographic breaks down the successes and challenges of the 138,550 strong RI Latino community. The median Latino age in Rhode Island is 26 - are we giving the rising generation tools to succeed?

Lincoln Chafee: The Governor's investments in TF Green have paid off. Travel+Leisure Magazine recently ranked TF Green Airport the #4 best in the country, writing, "some travelers actually heading to Boston, an hour away, will choose easy-breezy T. F. Green over congested Logan Airport." If only Bay Staters would be flocking to us for jobs - and stay for the schools! 

Roosevelt Society: The Roosevelt Society has been actively trying to engage new communities with the state's Republican Party. Paulo Sibaja, of the Leadership Institute, a Virginia-based conservative activist group, will be leading a workshop on "effectively and respectively engaging the Hispanic population in your community" November 2nd. Engaging with new communities to solve problems is a much better idea than raffling off an assault rifle

Judith Davis/New Urban Theater: Davis, an actor and resident artist with AS220, is head of the award-winning New Urban Theater Lab in Boston. The group's latest show "Gift of an Orange" will soon be premiering in New Orleans. Now we just need to get her to move her company down to Providence! 

Ghost Tours: Boo! From the Ghost Tours of Newport to Mentalist Rory Raven in Providence, now is the time to hear tales of long-ago pirates, vandals, ghouls, and specters. These small businesses showcase local history, and, when presented well, make you look twice.  


Gina Raimondo: Even though the State Treasurer gets props for calling for the repeal of the Licht Law (which allows one's time as an elected official to be counted toward a judicial pension), she took a much bigger hit for being a shady Wall Street assist. The recent report by Siedel is a harsh indictment of secretive financial practices, and raises questions about who benefits from pension reform.  

Susan Lusi, Providence School Department: Award-winning Central High School Principal Michael Lazzerschi was apparently let go for not following fire drill protocols. Student safety is an absolute priority, but considering the city itself failed to inspect schools for years (how many central office people lost jobs?), one wonders if other factors led to Lazzerschi's freeze. With his replacement, Central now has had four principals in two years.

Job Stats: Rhode Island has lost 95,000 manufacturing jobs since 1990, the largest share gone in the country. According to the RI Latino Policy Institute, this has lead to a rise in involuntary, part-time work as full time jobs have disappeared. 

We're #...35: Solar Power Rocks highlights state policies that promote solar energy. Massachusetts ranks #1 in the nation. As the report reads, "With all of its Northeastern and New England brethren lining the top half of our rankings, what is Rhode Island doing all the way down here at 35?" 

Restaurant Closings: Cuban Revolution on Valley, L'Elizabeth on South Main, and Roots Cafe on Westminster all shuttered doors recently, alongside other businesses that owe back money through the PEDP loan program. The memories remain, but the jobs are gone. As the window said on Roots, "Thank You PVD!" 

Arlene Hicks and the Exeter Town Council: Up to four Exeter Town Councilors, including Council President Hicks, face recall elections over their decision to have the State Attorney General, not the town clerk, issue gun permits. The Town Council argues the switch was a simple matter of logistics related to background checks, but opponents says the issue is connected to responsive, local government.
Dee DeQuatro at ABC 6 has written, "the people behind the petition have sent a subtle reminder to Rhode Island politicians that they work for the people, and the people are paying attention."

David Igliozzi: The Housing Court Nominee sailed through the City Council's Judicial Nomination Hearing. He's cleared to head before the full council. Is he the best person for the job, or the best connected


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