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

Friday, July 06, 2012


Who’s Hot

Jack Reed -> Nice to see Senate Reed get some recognition for helping prevent student loan rates from doubling for the time being. He’ll be on hand today as President Obama signs the bill that includes an extension on federal transportation funding as well. It’s unfortunate that our politicians seem to just kick the can down the road on these issues, but at least Congress has another year to figure out how to keep low-interest loans intact for millions of current and former students.

Gordon Fox -> The Speaker’s announcement that he’ll push for a gay marriage voter early in the 2013 session was brilliant on two fronts: He helped reenergize a base that may have been disappointed that marriage equality was barely discussed on Smith Hill this year and he was able to pivot away from questions about his role in the 38 Studios debacle.

Brendan Doherty -> The Republican Congressional candidate appears to have put together yet another strong fundraising quarter by raking in over $200,000. Aside from a poor interview or two (which only insiders remember anyway) Doherty has done just about everything right in his run for Congress so far.

Scott Avedisian -> Kudos to the Warwick Mayor for signing contracts with his police and fire unions that he says will reduce the city’s public safety unfunded pension liability by $30 million. Mayor Avedisian has flown under the radar as a potential statewide candidate in 2014, but he’s one of the most popular Republicans in that state and has a lot of name recognition. With an open Lt. Governor’s seat, he has to at least be considering his options.

Steny Hoyer -> The House Minority Whip is in town Friday to stump for both Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline. One thing our Congressional delegation deserves credit for is they always seem to recruit the big Washington names to the state. We’ve seen Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama here in less than a year.

Matt Jerzyk -> Congrats to the city of Providence’s new Deputy City Solicitor. As RI Public Radio first reported, Jerzyk is leaving his position as director of policy, municipal affairs and senior counsel to Mayor Taveras to work under Jeff Padwa. There are people who believe Padwa may one day run for office himself, which could put Jerzyk on track to make the jump to the top job if he plays his cards right.

Who’s Not

John J. Whiting -> It was certainly one of those “only in Rhode Island” moments this week when the North Providence Police Chief was found guilty stealing $714 from a stripper during last summer’s Tropical Storm Irene. Sadly, in another “only in Rhode Island” moment, he’ll probably receive no prison time.

Michael Gardiner -> You know you’re not a serious candidate when kids are raising more money from their lemonade stands this summer than you are for a Congressional campaign. At this rate, Mr. Gardiner might have enough cash to run for school committee somewhere in Rhode Island… in 2017.

William and Marielle Reilly -> While their tax dodging should not reflect poorly on their son (Rep. Dan Reilly), it was nice to see the Supreme Court come down hard on the Reilly’s. Let’s hope these folks get their act together and pay what they owe the state.

Rhoda Perry -> Senator Perry deserves a lot of praise for her two-decade career in the General Assembly, but the way she went out raises a lot of suspicion. Because she wasn’t the endorsed candidate in the race, it appears as though she was trying to quietly hand her seat off to a handpicked successor, which is normally a move reserved for only the sleaziest politicians.

Anthony Gemma -> Sad news this week to learn of the Democratic Congressional candidate’s divorce, but wasn’t it kind of bizarre that he made the announcement on Facebook?

Hispanic Unemployment -> For the second straight year, Providence had by far the worst unemployment rate among Hispanics in the country. At 23.3 percent, no community was within six percentage points of the capital city.


Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected].


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Did you put MJ in the wrong column?

After pissing off many councilpersons, legislators, neighborhood groups, city workers, etc., the Mayor moved him to the Law Department. In my opinion that was a demotion and deserved a "Not Hot" rating.

Matthew was offered the Solicitors job right after the election, but chose the role of "Senior Advisor."

If this legal beagle's advice to King Solomon and Prince Salvatore in their attempt to oust Igliozzi is any indication of his legal ability, I say God Bless the law department.

Comment #1 by Joseph Davis on 2012 07 06

from the office next to the mayor to the #2 man down the street???

Comment #2 by jon paycheck on 2012 07 06

Jerzyk has been a great resource for the community in Providence -- sorry to see him leave the mayors office. you know youre doing the peoples work when you are teh subject of attacks on this website. Good luck to him in getting back to his career as a lawyer. Smart move on many fronts.

Great news about Speaker Fox! Next year will be a legacy one for him.

Comment #3 by Whitney Underwood on 2012 07 06

Great move by Padwa. Great move by Jerzyk. cant recall the last time that city budgets flew through the council as fast as with Jerzyk

Comment #4 by Thomas Lessio on 2012 07 06

Good one Dan. Now, since when is an appointment to assistant city solicitor a hot in politics? Dan the voice if your column is gushing phoney and contrived. You are the typical cliquey money lovingname dropping sort of suck up that makes Rhode Island the land of poor leadership. Hope, hopethat one day you are trusted to get off the local gossip column so you can write a real article another a real issue.

Comment #5 by Michael Gardiner on 2012 07 06

How about the City of Providence as a NOT. Gunshots and stabbings every day. Oh wait, that was the GoLocal # 3 best place to live. LOL.

Comment #6 by tom brady on 2012 07 06

fox and brilliant in the same sentence .
the words underhanded, sneaky, easily rattled , and a whiner come to mind when
his name is mentioned .

Comment #7 by vinny coia on 2012 07 06

Now that I’ve shown my temper at Dan McGowan’s cat scratch “journalism,” I’ll address fundraising. We have money on hand and we are not in debt. I haven’t “loaned” my campaign money such that I will one day say anything or take on some winking obligation to re-pay myself. My donors are generous to their means. I would want nothing more. They expect no jobs, no favors, no insider treatment. They are well aware that I personally cannot finance a major political campaign on my own and yet they still contribute.
For my part I honor the election process by developing a message that actually relates directly to my district and the people in it without slavish fidelity to party talking points. Four news papers have published my op-eds in this election cycle, Operation Clean Government‘s “State of the State” producers gave my interview good billing. And I show up and I respond to the media and other inquiries. We work. Work is serious, don’t you think Mr. McGowan?
My campaign is serious because it does in fact meet people, it articulates ideas that are ripe, and isn’t based upon a grandiose notion that the nation will financially collapse if I personally don’t run for congress. We offer ideas, not self promotions. When we offer criticisms they may be fairly met if the criticized party chooses.
My campaign stands up over and over to the uphill battle against reactionaries who don’t care what the people think or want, or tag-alongs who jump on the first bandwagon that would hire them. My campaign is serious because I studied the law, passed the bar, practiced for twenty three years, have handled criminal and civil litigation, litigation before the agencies of government and litigation before the State and Federal District Courts of this state. My campaign is serious because when I attain the ballot by acquiring the prerequisite signatures, the law will legitimately place me on the ballot. In this country anyone can earn a place on the ballot if they work hard. I am prepared for the work of a congressman. I am prepared to do so independently and guided chiefly by the interests and rights of my constituents, and not my party’s instructions or the latest fad notions of a partisancure for all our difficulties.
In recent years, the GOP primary has been so poorly attended that the nominee has to be viewed, as the heavy favorite in a four way primary. But I , waiting to find out if I will be second or third or again, fourth on the ballot, after the ballot lottery, will not end this campaign with a lot of campaign debt. I will not end this campaign having depleted my bank account beyond a couple of thousand dollars or leaving my family wondering why we just spent up to five hundred thousand dollars so that a party could cover its own thin resources.
I acknowledge that without out significant fundraising, one will be treated as a “D-list “politician, by those journalists or entertainment figures who need to get on their high horse by using others as stirrups. But I am appalled by any member of the press who has no sense of the role of the press, the power of the press, of the ability of the press to elevate work and thought and effort over advertising dollars, to give every American the chance to attain office if their efforts are worthy. This notion that raising money is part of the test of worthiness might be given some credence, but let’s face it. Insiders or “wanna be” insiders follow money because they are drawn to it like moths to a flame and money goes to incumbent power in the same manner. It is no wonder we are served more often by mediocrity and bedeviled by “brand” politics than by good ideas and good solutions. Mr. McGowan, You can bust my chops all you want. I may be a “D-list politician” in your eyes. But a lot of people would wonder if you have any real guts to take on an incumbent or an issue of substance
For my part. I’m qualifying for the ballot, and I thank you for the extra motivation. My Lemonade stand raised $500 at the last two events. And nobody expects a job.

Comment #8 by Michael Gardiner on 2012 07 07

Very well said Mr. Gardiner.

Comment #9 by tom brady on 2012 07 07

Thank you Mr. Brady.

Comment #10 by Michael Gardiner on 2012 07 07

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