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

Friday, February 01, 2013



With the release of the latest PPP poll, Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo vaulted onto this week's "Hot" portion of the Who's Hot/Who's Not list.

Gina Raimondo-> The new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey shows our current Treasurer, potentially, on track to be the next governor, and our first female head of state. In proposed match-ups, this La Salle alum bests Classical grads Mayor Taveras and Fung. In her own bit of "campaigning," coming on the heels of Chafee's State of the State and Taveras' State of the City, Raimondo formally released a report detailing her office's two years of accomplishments. The Cold War for Governor continues. While a strategic move, her report makes you wonder— who will be the next statewide official to release a grand statement, A Ralph Mollis?

Providence Student Union -> A group of over 40 student activists (some alumni of the Hope High School walk out) gathered in the State House to protest a new policy to require students pass a standardized test to graduate. High Schooler Devan Young said that "I don't have a problem with the test personally, but it's not fair for others, especially non-English speakers or disabled. It's all extra pressure." The groups wants high expectations — but realistic supports to ensure all students can meet those expectations. Jonathan Canela mentioned, "It's a great honor to come here and present what we had to present to the Governor and to the people."

Angel Taveras -> The State of the City Address over and over again gave evidence to support the idea, "Providence is recovering." Mayor Taveras recalled his earlier statement from the beginning of the financial troubles, "Let it be written that while some looked to Providence's fiscal crisis and saw nothing but darkness and foreboding, we seized this opportunity to show that hard work and shared sacrifice brought about Providence's finest hour." Now the question: a new term as Mayor or a first term as Governor?

Rep Donna Walsh -> Walsh is proposing a "Marine Debris Act" to decrease waste on our shores and save the state money from hauling debris to the landfill. She wants to hold packaging manufacturers accountable for reducing waste in the bay. "If we give the producer of the product some responsibility for disposal—or better, recycling—of the packaging, they’ll be much swifter in adopting environmentally friendly packaging design." Kudos to Walsh! We are the Ocean State, after all.

Allan Fung and Brendan Doherty -> The PPP survey came up with some good news for the GOP. The pollsters write, "Both Fung (55/14) and Doherty (45/32) have pretty strong statewide favorability numbers. There are a lot of states that are a lot more red than Rhode Island where Republicans don't have candidates that popular they can run for statewide office." It will be interesting if the State GOP seeks to re-engage with voters or turn inward as they choose their next chairperson and prep for 2014.

Pawtucket Brew Fest -> Kudos to the organizers of this community event (this weekend!) at the Pawtucket Armory. The group is showcasing Micro-Brewers from Woonsocket to Petaluma, California. Events highlighting the work of "creatives" in building up the economy and creating jobs are important! Speaking of which...

Asher Dunn -> This Providence-based furniture designer and entrepreneur is featured in a multiple-page spread in the most recent American Craft Magazine. The RISD alum and his team have built a dynamic start-up in the city's West End, rehabbing an old school department warehouse into a design space, business incubator, and woodworking school. Mayor Taveras has touted "our colleges and universities continue to attract talented and entrepreneurial people from every corner of the world" — looks like we get to keep one with Dunn.


John F. McJennett, III-> The City Receiver of Central Falls has many things on his mind. Unfortunately, aging infrastructure slipped through the cracks. Newly elected Mayor Diossa was welcomed with a flooded city hall this past week.

Dr. John DeGoes -> Continuing with leaky public buildings, the Superintendent of East Providence found out this week that a new wing in the city's enormous high school had been water damaged in at least 20 classrooms. Classes were canceled Thursday and today.

DLT Re-Hires -> Good news for the people who have the jobs, and for people calling in to register for unemployment. Bad news that we still need to hire more workers at the unemployment office.

John Loughlin -> The former Congressional candidate and sometimes guest talk radio host on 630WPRO was talking about a Republican doomsday if national immigration reform goes through. Instead of trying to connect and appeal to immigrant communities on values, demonizing "illegals" and bemoaning Latino immigrants does seem like a sure way to ensure doomsday for the Republican Party.

Hasbro -> Hasbro, one of the big economic dynamos of the state, recently announced a worldwide 10% staff reduction. The spinning cube on the new Headquarters in La Salle Square is turning a little slower.

Sen. Louis DiPalma -> DiPalma is proposing to allow districts to charge students for after school programs- sports, bands, and the like. There are proposed exceptions for the low-income, but this seems like grasping at straws.

Deborah Gist -> Oh, NECAP. The Bay State has been using a standardized test (MCAS) as a graduation requirement since the 1990s. In Massachusetts (unlike Rhode Island's proposed Junior Year test), students take MCAS their sophomore year, allowing high schoolers up to two years of remediation to ensure students can demonstrate basic proficiency in Math and English. The results aren't perfect, but giving students maximum time to succeed makes sense.


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