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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - June 22, 2018

Friday, June 22, 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? - June 22, 2018

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T.F. Green Airport

According to a report in one of the top aviation publications, Providence may be featured in future plans of the new Moxy Airline — the first significant new airline in America in a decade. According to a report in Airline Weekly, Moxy is the brainchild of David Neeleman - the founder of JetBlue. 

“[Moxy] One that promises to make a big impact. One that’s the brainchild, no less, of none other than David Neeleman….Reached over the weekend by Airline Weekly, Neeleman declined to comment. According to the source and the presentation, he plans to launch a new airline that’s for now called Moxy, armed with $100m in startup capital. Some of that money comes from Neeleman’s own pockets. Some comes from former Air Canada CEO Robert Milton and former ILFC CEO Henri Courpron. With a war chest this substantial, Moxy helps ensure it can withstand a likely barrage of defensive measures from incumbents, including capacity and fare wars,” according to the reports.

"The world’s most prolific – and, arguably, successful – founder of pleasantly unconventional airlines is returning home from Brazil to launch his third U.S- and fourth North American-based airline," reported Forbes on Tuesday.

"Serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman walked away – or, depending on whose account of the story you believe, was pushed out – of JetBlue, the most famous and successful of the airlines he has started, back in 2008. But months later he launched a copycat carrier in Brazil called Azul (“blue”  in both Portuguese and Spanish), which today ranks as South America’s third-largest airline," adds Forbes.

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Kendall Reiss

Kendall Reiss is one of the leading women driving business and the art community in Rhode Island.

She joined GoLocal’s weekly Small Biz feature and discussed how she is building a successful business in Rhode Island.

Jewelry maker, artist, instructor, shop owner —  Reiss is a native Rhode Islander who traveled the country and returned home to start her own business.

She focuses “on two separate yet parallel modes of inquiry: the design and fabrication of contemporary jewelry alongside material experiments, which result in sculptural objects and time-based installations.”

She partnered with Commerce RI for funding and used the loan to purchase a building on Wood Street in Bristol

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Rodrigo Pimentel

Pimental has been a driving force to adopt major legislation to help Dreamers in Rhode Island. The effort has gained national attention to the issue of immigrant children and protecting then from being separated from their parents.

Pimental's effort has been driven by both gaining media attention and organizing protests at the local Customs and Border Protection office.

READER NOMINATED: by Jason J. Desrosiers

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The Noels

Former Governor Phil Noel and his son Joe have teamed up to painstakingly build Harbor Lights into one of the most distinct gems along the Rhode Island coast.

The central bayside location has unmatched amenities. And, it may well be one of Rhode Island’s most distinctive destination for weddings, celebrations, and everything fun on the water.

We love entrepreneurs who put their money where their mouths are to make Rhode Island better. 

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Commerce RI

Really, we could not hire a Rhode Islander? We could not hire a guy without a pile of baggage?

GoLocal unveiled that Commerce RI hired Joseph Riccio — the one-time director of the Bridgeport Port Authority -- who spent more than $35,000 in less than three years attending conferences around the country and guys gifts and meals using the public agency's credit cards.

When the Connecticut Post newspaper unveiled the questionable spending which included upwards of $1,200 a month, or $35,932, between January of 2007 and April 2009 on a variety of expenses, including travel to cities like Houston and Detroit as well as an engraved wine decanter -- the members of the city council took action and said the agencies spending was reckless. The reports by the paper were based on public record request of the port lead to the departure of Riccio and the abolishment of the Authority. A new agency has subsequently been created.

Riccio was recently hired as a senior development advisor for Commerce RI earning $125,000.

"It is what it is, and it's water under the bridge. But $36,000 in three years with no activity coming into Bridgeport, that's lavish and a little overboard," then-City Council member Robert Curwen told the Connecticut Post.

City Council member Robert Walsh, D-132, told the paper at the time that the overseeing board exercised more control over Riccio. "It's been a free-spending organization and the city has to look into reorganizing the board."

At the time, Riccio earner $119,000 per year. His “lavish” spending was not authorized and was considered excessive as the Authority was financially struggling.

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Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in America, is facing a union uprising by the staff of the Washington Post.

More than 400 union members have signed on to a public letter to Bezos, who bought the newspaper in 2013, asking him to remedy working conditions at the newspaper, after more than a year of unsuccessful negotiation. They launched the video to capture attention to their demands.

According to reports, the signees to the petition to Bezos included editorial, advertising, production, drivers and managers, as well as such prominent staff as White House reporter Ashley Parker and politics reporter Dave Weigel.

"All we are asking for is fairness for each and every employee who contributed to this company’s success: fair wages; fair benefits for retirement, family leave and health care; and a fair amount of job security," the petition reads.

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Jack Reed

Question: On the Nomination (Confirmation Kirstjen Nielsen, of Virginia, to be Secretary of Homeland Security )
Vote Date: December 5, 2017, 04:00 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2
Vote Result: Nomination Confirmed
Nomination Description: Kirstjen Nielsen, of Virginia, to be Secretary of Homeland Security - the architect of the Trump administration's family separation policy
Vote Counts:
YEAs 62
NAYs 37
Not Voting 1

Vote Summary: Alphabetical by Senator Name 
Alexander (R-TN), Not Voting 
Baldwin (D-WI), Nay 
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea 
Bennet (D-CO), Nay 
Blumenthal (D-CT), Nay 
Blunt (R-MO), Yea 
Booker (D-NJ), Nay 
Boozman (R-AR), Yea 
Brown (D-OH), Nay 
Burr (R-NC), Yea 
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay 
Capito (R-WV), Yea 
Cardin (D-MD), Nay 
Carper (D-DE), Yea 
Casey (D-PA), Nay 
Cassidy (R-LA), Yea 
Cochran (R-MS), Yea 
Collins (R-ME), Yea 
Coons (D-DE), Yea 
Corker (R-TN), Yea 
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea 
Cortez Masto (D-NV), Nay 
Cotton (R-AR), Yea 
Crapo (R-ID), Yea 
Cruz (R-TX), Yea 
Daines (R-MT), Yea 
Donnelly (D-IN), Yea 
Duckworth (D-IL), Nay 
Durbin (D-IL), Nay 
Enzi (R-WY), Yea 
Ernst (R-IA), Yea 
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay 
Fischer (R-NE), Yea 
Flake (R-AZ), Yea 
Franken (D-MN), Nay 
Gardner (R-CO), Yea 
Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay 
Graham (R-SC), Yea 
Grassley (R-IA), Yea 
Harris (D-CA), Nay 
Hassan (D-NH), Nay 
Hatch (R-UT), Yea 
Heinrich (D-NM), Nay 
Heitkamp (D-ND), Yea 
Heller (R-NV), Yea 
Hirono (D-HI), Nay 
Hoeven (R-ND), Yea 
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea 
Isakson (R-GA), Yea 
Johnson (R-WI), Yea 
Kaine (D-VA), Nay 
Kennedy (R-LA), Yea 
King (I-ME), Yea 
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay 
Lankford (R-OK), Yea 
Leahy (D-VT), Nay 
Lee (R-UT), Yea 
Manchin (D-WV), Yea 
Markey (D-MA), Nay 
McCain (R-AZ), Yea 
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea 
McConnell (R-KY), Yea 
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay 
Merkley (D-OR), Nay 
Moran (R-KS), Yea 
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea 
Murphy (D-CT), Nay 
Murray (D-WA), Nay 
Nelson (D-FL), Yea 
Paul (R-KY), Yea 
Perdue (R-GA), Yea 
Peters (D-MI), Nay 
Portman (R-OH), Yea 
Reed (D-RI), Yea 
Risch (R-ID), Yea 
Roberts (R-KS), Yea 
Rounds (R-SD), Yea 
Rubio (R-FL), Yea 
Sanders (I-VT), Nay 
Sasse (R-NE), Yea 
Schatz (D-HI), Nay 
Schumer (D-NY), Nay 
Scott (R-SC), Yea 
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay 
Shelby (R-AL), Yea 
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay 
Strange (R-AL), Yea 
Sullivan (R-AK), Yea 
Tester (D-MT), Yea 
Thune (R-SD), Yea 
Tillis (R-NC), Yea 
Toomey (R-PA), Yea 
Udall (D-NM), Nay 
Van Hollen (D-MD), Nay 
Warner (D-VA), Yea 
Warren (D-MA), Nay 
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay 
Wicker (R-MS), Yea 
Wyden (D-OR), Nay 
Young (R-IN), Yea 

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Bishop Thomas Tobin

This week a major lawsuit was filed against 16 defendants for their role in the collapse of the St. Joseph pension fund.

While it is being alleged that a number of corporate entities were responsible, the role of the Diocese and the direct involvement of Bishop Tobin is disturbing.

The lawsuit lays out that “Bishop Thomas Tobin did not disclose in his letter to the Vatican that the proposed asset sale increased the probability of the Plan failing. Instead, Bishop Tobin omitted that information and, in effect, said the opposite, that approval of the asset sale was actually necessary to secure the Plan.”

The suit goes on to assert, "On September 27, 2013, Tobin signed his letter as altered by [legal] counsel for [St. Joseph Health Services, CharterCare and Roger Williams Hospital] and sent it to the Vatican.”

The parties knew the implications, “These misrepresentations and omission concerning the Plan in the Bishop’s letter to the Vatican…all understood that Vatican approval was required for the transaction to proceed..”

Bishop Tobin did not disclose in his letter to the Vatican that the proposed asset sale increased the probability of the plan failing. Instead, Tobin omitted that information (removed from the letter was “spiraling and gaping liability’ which was in the draft) and, in effect, said the opposite, that the approval of the asset sale [to CharterCare] was actually necessary to secure the plan."

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Nick Mattiello

The Speaker of the House has changed his position on the PawSox literally a dozen times.

His financing package is ill-conceived, poorly drafted, expensive, and puts an undue burden on the taxpayer.

What happened to the smart pro-business legislative leader?

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Allan Fung

Rhode Island GOP gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung’s campaign refused to comment on the practice by the Trump Administration of separating children from their family at the border, which has reportedly now seen 2,000 children removed from their parents in six weeks.

Other Rhode Island Republican gubernatorial — and U.S. Senate — candidates, however, weighed in on the issue — and are opposed to the practice of separating families.

By Wednesday President Trump had changed his position, but still no word from Fung.


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