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

Friday, May 27, 2011


GoLocalProv gives you its weekly look at who's on top and who's on the way down on the Rhode Island political scene.

Who’s Hot

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Jim Langevin -> Cyber security probably isn’t the sexiest issue for politicians to take on, but imagine how devastating a major attack would be to our infrastructure. With so much of the focus in Washington already shifting toward the 2012 election cycle, it’s nice to see Congressman Langevin (right) actually getting something done right now.
Providence City Council -> Kudos to the City Council for stepping up and banning the selling of single cigarettes, known as “loosies.” As they deal with the city’s crumbling fiscal situation, the Council deserves credit for taking on a cause that will protect the children of Providence. Good luck actually enforcing it, though.

Josh Miller -> As the state considers virtually every option when it comes to saving money, why not take up Sen. Miller’s idea to decriminalize marijuana in small amounts? Thirteen states have already done it and it might be time for Rhode Island to do the same. It’s a better idea than cremating people who die in state care.

Justin Krebs -> The founder of Drinking Liberally, a national progressive social organization, was in town chatting with the Rhode Island chapter this week. Krebs was pushing his entertaining new book, titled 538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal. It’s worth the read if you’re into that sort of thing.

Bill Lynch -> With Congressman Cicilline struggling, Lynch says he’s not ruling out another run in the Democratic primary. His decision not to sling mud at Cicilline last time worked against him in November. It will be interesting to see what his strategy will be this time if he ends up running.

Gordon Fox -> The House Speaker wouldn’t run against Congressman Cicilline, but with nearly $200k in the bank, he’d make a fine candidate. He’s relatively popular and is clearly establishing himself as an effective Speaker. If it were any other struggling Democrat in the U.S. House seat, he would be a prime candidate.

Arlene Violet -> Be sure to head over to Trinity Rep next week to catch the former attorney general’s mob musical, The Family. Violet is entertaining when she opines on local political happenings, but the mob is her bread and butter. The Family will undoubtedly be a can’t-miss performance.

Student Equal Economic Opportunity Act -> Connecticut, which has a far more conservative General Assembly than Rhode Island, passed a local version of the DREAM Act this week. It’s time for Rhode Island to get this passed as well.

Regionalization -> Get ready for more regionalization talk as cities and towns continue to struggle financially. Central Falls and Pawtucket are an obvious pairing, but how about Aquidneck Island, or maybe Providence and Cranston.  If everything is on the table, this has to be an option.

Who’s Not

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Providence -> Let’s get this straight: The city is closing schools, laying off police officers and asking the Fire Department to make major concessions. If Providence were The Sims, it would be game over for Mayor Angel Taveras.

Fran Gallo/Central Falls Teachers -> Nobody is getting it right here. Both sides continue to blast each other, and everyone is forgetting about the students at Central Falls High School. It seems like change on both sides is the only option here.

Gina Raimondo -> Produced a pension report long on details but pretty short on recommendations, leading some analysts to question whether the general treasurer was more concerned about her political future than her job. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

Governor Chafee -> Probably not the best idea to suggest cremating folks in state care as a way to save money. The governor often receives unfair criticism, but he set himself up for this one.

Eric Holder -> It was a weak move when Vice President Joe Biden backed away from a trip to Providence a few summers ago, and it’s equally weak for the U.S. Attorney General to do it now. Holder should honor his commitment to the Providence Police Department and celebrate the work the police are doing in the city.

Patrick Lynch -> Another name being thrown around for that 1st District seat, but the former AG made a poor decision this week to sign on as a consultant to for-profit colleges. The last thing this country needs is more money-hungry institutions preying on low income students.

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