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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - July 20, 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018


Every Friday, GoLocalProv breaks down who is rising and who is falling in Rhode Island politics, business, and sports.

Now, we are expanding the list, the political perspectives, and we are going to a GoLocal team approach while encouraging readers to suggest nominees for who is "HOT" and who is "NOT." 

Email GoLocal by midday on Thursday anyone you think should be tapped as "HOT" or "NOT."  Email us HERE.


Related Slideshow: Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - July 20, 2018

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Lt. Gov. Dan McKee

Lt. Governor Dan McKee has said he will give $4,000 he received in donations from Purdue Pharma executive Jonathan Sackler and his wife to recovery organizations in Rhode Island, following a GoLocal article which uncovered that Governor Gina Raimondo has received thousands from oxycontin scion Sackler and now even more from his wife — and refuses to return them. 

"These donations are from years ago, and I am donating them to recovery organizations here in Rhode Island. My record in fighting the opiate crisis is crystal clear — I led the efforts of 28 Rhode Island cities and towns in suing the Big Pharma companies that lied about the addictiveness of their products and illegally profited off the misery of addiction," said McKee. "I am confident that our cities and towns will prevail in the lawsuit I introduced them to, and that the funds will be used to fight the opioid epidemic."

Thousands of Rhode Islanders have died in the past few years as a result of opioid addiction. The state of Rhode Island recently announced it is suing a number of drug companies tied to the marketing of opioids for aggressively marketing the drugs and creating a cycle of dependency.

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Mayor Allan Fung

A new poll released by Allan Fung’s campaign shows him with a commanding lead in the Republican primary.

“As has been clear by talking to Rhode Islanders at their doors and out in the community, they want strong and experienced leadership at the helm to fix these departments that have been thrown into chaos under the Raimondo administration,” claimed Fung. His chief rival Patricia Morgan says the poll was a "push poll."

In a three-way race:

Fung             62%

Morgan         22%

Feroce           4%

Undecided   10%

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Stefanie Casinelli Taylor joined GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle on LIVE to talk about the launch of Zaxie — a new Rhode Island jewelry endeavor with a long-standing tradition. 

“Zaxie was just launched and born in April…after four years in the making, coming out as a sister company of Gennaro, Inc., which is a third generation family owned accessories business here in Rhode Island,” said Taylor. “The business was started by my grandfather.”

Taylor explained why Zaxie emerged from the traditional jewelry company. 

“We saw a shift in the market..and we realized it was time to pivot,” said Taylor. “We sat and brainstormed for a long time. Zaxie brings to life the beautiful product Gennaro has been proud of producing and shipping across America. Zaxie is about the jewelry and what we stand for — we are here to make every woman recognize and feel beautiful from the inside out.”

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It is the best of chocolate without the worst of processed, sugar-ridden candy. Charleson joined GoLocal LIVE's Business Monday.

Her Cocofuel — which is available at retail throughout New England, including Whole Foods locations throughout the region — is simply a healthier snack. But, please don’t call it “candy” says Charleson.

“Each ingredient is specifically chosen to create a bar that has a smooth texture and delicious taste. Cocofuel was developed as an alternative to commercial chocolate which is loaded with processed sugar or cane sugar and soy lecithin. Honey was chosen because it isn’t processed like refined sugars so just a small amount is needed to balance the cocoa,” says Charleson.

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A GoLocal investigation that began in February found serious flaws in the Ethics Commission’s financial disclosure tracking and that the Commission was opposed to improving the reporting or the transparency of the reports. On Tuesday, the Ethics Commission reversed their position.

The GoLocal investigation sparked outrage from a range of officials, including Governor Gina Raimondo to Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello and a host of other state leaders who called on the Ethics Commission to post the disclosure forms.

Mattiello introduced legislation to require the Commission to post the annual disclosure forms. Presently, members of the public can only request the documents via email or phone calls to staff during the offices 35 hour work week. The majority of states post disclosure forms online.

Michael Raia, Director of Communications for Raimondo told GoLocal in March, “[The Governor] would agree that it makes sense that those disclosures should be easily accessible and available to the public online.”

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Singer Mike Giammarco

Another great performance at The Alex and Ani Lounge at GoLocal.


For Mike Giammarco, a full schedule is a sign of success. The New England-based musician says he is incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to perform his music full time, his childhood dream.

Giammarco says his love of music comes primarily from Elvis, who inspired him to become a musician when he was a child. He describes his music as a combination of genres, with influences coming from rock and roll, grunge, classic rock, and others.

Originally a member of the band Those Alone, Giammarco has taken a hiatus to perform on his own, which he says has been a great experience. The band helped launch Giammarco’s career through its success throughout the New England region and beyond.

“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love full time,” Giammarco said. “I have so many people to thank for helping me get here.”

In the Alex and Ani Lounge, Giammarco performed three of his songs: two recently written originals titled “Two Years” and “It’s So Hard to Love Somebody Who Don’t Love You” and the title song to Those Alone’s first EP, “String by String.”

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David Salvatore

Ducking and diving. The City Council President doesn't have a position on the biggest private project proposed in Providence in two-plus decades.

No need for the Councilman to book a room in Boston to collect the "Profile in Courage" award from the Kennedys anytime in the near future.

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RI Hospital

The largest hospital was recently forced to sign a consent decree and pay a massive fine due to quality issues -- is it really a good time to have nurses strike?

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President Donald Trump

Forget partisan politics, Trump's behavior in Finland was simply un-American.

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Gina Raimondo

Raimondo's campaign continues to argue that who gives her money has no impact on her decision-making, but it does raise the question of who do you want to be associated.

Thousands of Rhode Islanders have died in the past few years as a result of opioid addiction. The state of Rhode Island recently announced it is suing a number of drug companies tied to the marketing of opioids for aggressively marketing the drugs and creating a cycle of dependency. And Raimondo is soliciting tens of thousands in campaign contributions from the most notorious company's executives. 

A top executive of the most notorious company — the company who invented oxycontin — has donated repeatedly to Governor Gina Raimondo and she is not returning any of the donations.

The company, Purdue Pharma, has been the focus of a number of exposés, including a major New Yorker investigation entitled, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,"

"The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts," wrote Patrick Radden Keefe for the publication. 

Jonathan Sackler, the Purdue Pharma scion, has donated seven $1,000 contributions to Raimondo. And, Raimondo's political action committee, Gina PAC, collected another $1,000 from Sackler.

Raimondo claims that Sackler’s have no impact on her policies. “Campaign donations have no impact on Governor Raimondo's decision making,” said Emily Samsel, spokesperson for Raimondo’s re-election campaign.


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