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

Friday, April 27, 2012


Who's Hot?

Senator Jack Reed & Congressman David Cicilline -> With half of all recent college graduates out of work—that number is probably higher in this state— it’s nice to see Senator Reed and Congressman Cicilline commit to making sure student loan rates won’t double by July. If there was ever an issue that deserved bipartisan support, it’s this one. Here’s hoping that any deal made to prevent the spike doesn’t involve cutting Pell grants.

Joseph Polisena -> The Johnston Mayor isn’t quite dealing with the financial problems of Mayor Taveras in Providence or Mayor Fontaine in Woonsocket, but if anyone has emerged as a rising star from the municipal relief package, it’s Polisena. He’s certainly someone to watch over the next two years.

Maria Cimini -> Rep. Cimini continues to push legislation calling for a tax bump on the wealthiest Rhode Islanders. While the bill won’t pass this year, it seems to at least have received enough support to continue to be an issue moving forward. The only concern for the first-term Rep. now is whether a credible opponent will come along and use the legislation against her this year.

Sheldon Whitehouse -> Nice to see Senator Whitehouse give back the $2,000 accused Ponzi scheme architect Shervin Neman contributed to his campaign last year. Still, it would be even nicer if he would give back the $18,000 he received from Joseph Caramadre, who allegedly stole the identities of sick and elderly patients to cash in on more than $25 million.

Leo Fontaine -> Mayor Fontaine may have more important issues to worry about than a cross on a war memorial, but he deserves credit for taking the out-of-state group crying foul to task. He’s spot-on. The prayer banner in Cranston was one thing. This is just outrageous.

Mitt Romney -> Congrats are in order for Governor Romney, who cruised to victory in Rhode Island on Tuesday. The only question left for Romney is who he’ll pick for Vice President. And that choice may be what decides the Presidency.

Who’s Not

Senators Pichardo, Ruggerio, Goodwin, Metts, and Perry -> All five of these Senators voted in favor of pension reform last fall. Now they’re supporting legislation that would exempt certain retirees from having their COLAs frozen. This is clearly a case of five legislators who want to have it both ways; they can tell voters they supported pension reform and they can tell union households they’re still fighting for organized labor.

Apathetic Rhode Islanders -> It was pretty clear that Governor Romney was going to win the primary on Tuesday, but a three percent turnout overall is downright abysmal. While the general election will probably have decent turnout, one has to wonder what the primary will look like this year with only Congressman Cicilline’s race in question.

Woonsocket -> It looks like Woonsocket will be the next municipality to have a state-appointed commission take control of its finances. Here’s hoping for a result similar to the one that took place in East Providence, which no longer appears to be on the brink of bankruptcy.

RI GOP -> Everyone (especially me) makes mistakes. But what’s going on over at the Rhode Island GOP? After sending out an e-mail that misspelled the names of both Congressman Cicilline and Warren Buffett in the subject line and then used content from three years ago, the Party sent out a follow-up message that continued to butcher Buffett’s name. It may not be that big of a deal; but you don’t see the Dems screwing up like this. That is, except for Joe Biden’s staff.

Robert Flanders -> Everyone understands Central Falls is broke, but Wyatt is in desperate needs of an outside audit if anyone is ever going to be held accountable for the financial mess it is in.


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