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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? October 27, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017


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? - October 27, 2017

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House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan

House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan had a smooth launch to her effort to be Rhode Island’s next governor. Her campaign video was compelling, positive, and differentiating.

For a candidate who has never run statewide before it looks like she is adapting to the major leagues well.

The GOP primary may be crowded with Morgan, Cranston Mayor and potentially former State Representative Joe Trillo, and businessman Gio Feroce, but she may be able to differentiate and her launch was a good first step.

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State Representative Aaron Regunberg

Aaron Regunberg — the Progressive East Side State Representative — had a strong announce and defined himself as a stark contrast to sitting Lt. Governor Dan McKee. 

Regunberg scored some national attention — CNN said he was one of the primaries to watch in the U.S.

He will need to answer the question, does RI want a 27-year-old Liberal Democrat just one proverbial heartbeat away from being governor.

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PC Student, Adriel Antoine 

Brought maturity and perspective to an ugly episode of racism on the Providence College campus.

The Providence College senior is the President of the Providence College chapter of the NAACP, and he is leading an effort to improve the often strained relationship between minority students and white students at PC. While President Shanley has made efforts to diversify the campus and transform the culture, there is much work to be done at PC.

PC should celebrate the talents on Antoine and end the legacy of discrimination. The Princeton Review's 26th Annual College Rankings were recently released, and Providence College was ranked tops of 382 schools -- for having "little race/class interaction."

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Biltmore Hotel

Biltmore — New owner Tim Franzen and his Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners (AJ Capital Partners) claim they are “a dynamic organization of counter-culture hospitality and real estate investors who acquire, develop and design transformative real estate in multi-dimensional markets and prestigious resort destinations." The Biltmore will fall under the company’s Graduate division — a line of hotels in college towns.

Let’s welcome Franzen and his team to Providence — and thank them for having the good sense not to tear down Providence’s history — they have promised to retain the historic Biltmore sign.

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The CVS acquisition of Aetna insurer is a game changer in American healthcare. The news of the proposed $66 billion deal was first reported by the Wall St. Journal and will transform CVS into de facto the Amazon of healthcare.

The New York Times reports, “A larger company — CVS and Aetna have combined annual revenues of about $240 billion — could enjoy greater leverage in negotiations with drug companies, helping it defend itself against newcomers like Amazon.”

In RI continues to retain CVS HQ, then this could be somewhat analogous to Rhode Island winning Amazon’s HQ2. There is a potential for thousands of new jobs in Rhode Island.

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Brown University

50 University of Puerto Rico students Brown have committed to enrolling in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“Even as the Brown community is supporting relief agencies in providing food, water, medicine and other basic living essentials to the people of Puerto Rico, we also are contributing in ways that align with our core strengths of teaching and research,” Brown President Christina Paxson said.

The desperate conditions in Puerto Rico caused by the devastation of Hurricane Maria have mobilized Brown as a higher education community to take action. 

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Gina Raimondo

It was another tough week for the Governor. On the heels of both concerning poll numbers as well as September jobs numbers (down 3700), Raimondo tried to salvage a win with announcing that she was "successful" in forcing state consultant Deloitte to shell out $60 million for a backlog error.  

The announcement marks the state boasting it has recovered more than $85 million now from the beleaguered vendor, but it plays into the perception by some that Raimondo cares more about money than people; and those Rhode Islanders, those most in need whose applications were just sitting there, unprocessed, were just collateral damage that has somehow now been "won."

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Dont'a Hightower

It is definitely not hot for the New England Patriots that Dont'a Hightower has a torn pectoral muscle -- and appears out for the season.

Linebacker Hightower, who signed a 4-year deal worth $43.5 million with the Patriots in the offseason after testing the free agent market, suffered the injury during the final minutes of the third quarter in the Patriots Sunday night victory over the Atlanta Falcons, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

This season, Hightower has played in five games, recording two sacks and 12 tackles, and missed two games earlier in the season with a knee injury.  However, it is his leadership with the 5-2 Patriots, who seem to be fighting harder than ever for winds following a 14-2 Super Bowl season, that has been so valuable -- and will leave a hole on the field. 

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Central High School

An incident that occurred on Monday at Central High School -- that GoLocal first reported was caught on video showing a school official physically restraining a student -- might not have been made public if it were not for the footage surfacing days later. 

While the student in question was arrested for allegedly assaulting another school employee in the cafeteria after cutting the line, the use of force shown in the video caused the community to question Central's public safety and discipline protocol and procedures (and Central High School Principal Dr. Jonathan Mendelson did not respond to request for comment when first reached).

The Assistant Principal involved resigned on Thursday, but the forced move is not likely to be the end of the scrutiny rightfully placed on the Providence public high school. 

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Joe DeLorenzo

The former State Rep and Vice-Chair of the Rhode Island Democratic party took his ball and went home. On Thursday, Joe DeLorenzo opted to disaffiliate rather than step-down from his position following calls for his resignation.  

Governor Raimondo and others called on DeLorenzo to step down, following comments that he made regarding the party, including diminishing Democrat Marcia Ranglin-Vassell's defeat of incumbent John DeSimone, calling the party's left-leaning wing "whack-jobs," and demeaning the sexual harassment allegations recently levied by female members of the General Assembly against colleagues. 
Even the Republicans took notice. 

"The Rhode Island Democratic Party wants to complain about President Trump but their leaders have sounded a lot like Trump. Joe DeLorenzo, the Second Vice Chairman Rhode Island Democratic Party, has called fellow Rhode Island Democrats 'left wing whack jobs' and supports Trump on the NFL national anthem controversy," said Bell earlier in the week, prior to the defection. 

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RI's Thumbtack Business Ranking

A D+ isn't a failing grade, but it's close -- and  Rhode Island is apparently at the bottom of the class for small businesses in the U.S.

According to a survey conducted by Thumbtack, Rhode Island received a D+ for overall business friendliness, making it one of the least friendly states for small businesses in the country. 

“There is a large amount of regulations in my area micro-manage business,” a plumber in Rhode Island is quoted as saying to Thumbtack.

Small business -- and business development -- will undoubtedly be a big campaign issue going into 2018. Looking to see where things stand in the rankings 12 months from now. 


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