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

Friday, December 07, 2012


Who’s Hot

Judge Sarah Taft-Carter -> All eyes are on Judge Taft-Carter now that the Supreme Court has turned down a request by the state to stop her from hearing the pension reform lawsuit. The state is clearly concerned that her rulings in the past have often come down on the side of labor, but if you talk to some Providence City Council members, they’ll say she played a key role in pushing for all sides to come to the table to reach an agreement in the capital city. Will she do the same in this case even though a bill has already been signed into law?

Ernie Almonte -> Speaking of the pension reform lawsuit, the only official Democratic candidate for Governor made a smart political move by weighing in on the issue this week. Almonte needs to do whatever he can to build his name recognition –and avoid the label from organized labor that he’s just another fiscally conservative Democrat— before other candidates start to get involved in the race.

Mindy Myers -> Congratulations are in order for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s departing Chief of Staff. As RIPR first reported, Myers, who helped run Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren’s successful campaign against Republican Scott Brown, has been named Warren’s Chief of Staff. The Warren/Brown race became of the biggest races in the country and it wouldn’t be surprising to see any of the leading Democratic candidates for President in 2016 tap Myers for a key job in the future.

James Diossa -> The favorite in the Central Falls Mayoral race picked up two more key endorsements this week; one from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the other from Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien. Diossa has proven to be a strong fundraiser and with the election last than a week away, it appears he’ll cruise to victory.

Jack Reed & Sheldon Whitehouse -> Rhode Island’s two Senators signed on to a letter this week calling for an extension of unemployment insurance. Doing so is expected to save approximately 400,000 jobs in 2013 and while there are plenty of cuts that need to take to place as Congress debates the fiscal cliff, this isn’t one of them right now.

Ralph Mollis -> The term-limited Secretary of State this week floated the idea of potentially running for Lieutenant Governor or General Treasurer if Gina Raimondo runs for Governor. Most observers knew about his interest in the LG’s job, but the Treasurer’s office may be just as intriguing, especially if it provides a smaller field.

Who’s Not

Gina Raimondo -> The General Treasurer finds herself in a difficult spot as the pension lawsuit begins. She remains opposed to negotiating some sort of deal with organized labor and now finds herself in a spot where many of the other leading potential candidates for Governor in 2014 (Chafee, Almonte, Taveras and Fung) oppose her decision to head to court without talking behind closed doors.

Lincoln Chafee -> Even if Governor Chafee has a point when it comes to negotiations with organized labor, one has to wonder why he waited until the week of the pension lawsuit to go public with his call to sit down at the bargaining table. Now it doesn’t matter if his intentions are good; it looks like he is making political moves to undercut Treasurer Raimondo.

John McCauley -> The U.S. Attorney is calling for the retiring State Rep. to serve a full 30 months in prison for his role in an insurance fraud scheme. Peter Neronha is spot-on here. It’s time to send a message to public officials whose corrupt actions embarrass themselves and the office they serve.

Economic Development Corporation -> After all the talk about revamping the agency and bringing in John Simmons to file a report recommending a slew of changes, the EDC is going to remain completely intact. It’s just mind boggling.

West Warwick -> The town that many believe could be the next Central Falls has a pension system that is less than 20 percent and now the Attorney General has cited the Town Council for violating the Open Meetings law. The last thing that town needs is more secrecy as it tries to figure out to survive its latest financial crisis.

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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