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

Friday, May 04, 2012


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Who’s Hot

Lincoln Chafee -> Governor Chafee was rightfully praised by both Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Brown University President Ruth Simmons this week for helping to bring both sides together to reach an agreement that will land the city over $31 million in additional payments over the next 11 years. Chafee clearly has a friend in the municipal leaders throughout the state and this was the latest example of a Governor who has taken a lot of steps to repair his image following a difficult first year in office.

Angel Taveras -> If it wasn’t Mayor Taveras’ best week on the job, it had to be close. Deals with Brown and Lifespan and a pension reform ordinance that, if it can hold up in court, will slash the city’s unfunded pension liability by hundreds of millions of dollars. Providence is by no means in the clear when it comes to its financial problems, but the “B” word certainly seems to have left the Mayor’s vocabulary recently.

Gordon Fox -> Governor Chafee has plenty of municipal support, but he still can’t seem to win over General Assembly members when it comes to key elements of his budget proposal. When it comes to the proposed increase in the restaurant tax, that’s a good thing. Kudos to Speaker Fox for making it clear that a tax hike that would be devastating to servers across the state will not be supported by the House.

Frank Lombardi -> The Cranston School Committee member who made a lot of headlines during the prayer banner controversy plans to run for Bea Lanzi’s State Senate seat. Lanzi is not running for reelection. Lombardi is expected to make his formal announcement Monday, but he has already launched his campaign website.

Scott Slater -> Congrats are in order for Rep. Slater for winning the 2012 “Bell of Hope” award for his work on mental health issues in Rhode Island. At a time when budgets and taxes are the only things people seem to focus on, Slater has continuously worked hard for the people that need it the most.

Joy Hearn -> It seems like the nightclub scene in downtown Providence has been getting worse in recent months and there is no question that one of the main problems is too many clubs are allowing underage customers to walk through their doors. Rep. Hearn’s bill to prevent this from happening is a step in the right direction.

Claudine Schneider -> Congrats to Claudine Schneider on winning the YWCA Northern Rhode Island’s Isabelle Ahearn O’Neill Award. It’s hard to believe the state has only had one female member of Congress. But with General Treasurer Gina Raimondo leading the way, here’s hoping we begin to see more quality women running for office throughout the state.

Who's Not

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Glenford Shibley -> Do our lawmakers even think before they speak anymore? It’s one thing to vote against the Homeless Bill of Rights. It’s another to suggest that 1) homeless voters may now move to certain districts so they can vote in close elections and 2) homeless people may begin flocking to the state because of this law.

John Igliozzi & Terry Hassett -> They are two of the strongest Council Members in the city of Providence, but it was probably a misstep to call for an amendment to pension reform only days after the Council passed it unanimously and the Mayor signed the ordinance into law.

Civil Unions -> As the ACLU correctly pointed out this week, the civil unions law continues to be a “complete failure” with just over 50 taking place since the law was implemented. It’s unclear whether same-sex marriage will make it to a vote this year, but the idea that civil unions are good enough right now is just completely false.

Ernest Greco -> If he thought receiving just 8.6 percent of the vote in the 2010 Democratic primary against Congressman Langevin was bad, just wait until he runs for office as a Republican.

Frank Ciccone -> The idea that our lawmakers can continue to raise thousands of dollars and easily cruise to reelection even after threatening police officers is the exact reason why the public has so little confidence in state leadership.

David Pontarelli -> If you haven’t seen the City Slacker video over at WPRI, click here. It’s just sad that people like Mr. Pontarelli can cut every corner and make the 99 percent of city and state employees who hardworking people look so bad. Here’s hoping the city does whatever it can to prevent this gentleman from ever coming near his pension.


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