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

Friday, October 19, 2012


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Who’s Hot

David Cicilline -> The first-term Congressman got another boost this week when the Cook Political Report upgraded his race from a tossup to “lean Democratic” and suggested Republican strategists are “pessimistic” about the race. Cicilline is by no means a lock, but his WPRI debate performance did nothing to harm him and he benefits from having a team around him who has experience when it comes to the final weeks of a close election.

Brendan Doherty -> The Republican may be down slightly in the polls, but he did score points during the WPRI debate with an aggressive approach that prevented the best debater in the state from walking all over him all night. Doherty was strong with his message on Medicare and Social Security and showed a better grasp for policy issues than he has in the past.

Gina Raimondo -> Kudos to the General Treasurer for launching her financial literacy initiative that will offer private financial counseling to all Rhode Islanders. It’s a great way to keep her name in the news politically, but it also gives people the opportunity to get their financial house order at no cost.

Don Grebien -> The Pawtucket Mayor has had a rough year thanks to run-ins with the fire union, but there’s no question he’s doing his best to prevent his city from going down the path of Central Falls or Woonsocket. And while cutting the amount of city-funded cell phones by more than half may not be the difference between bankruptcy and a surplus, it sends the message that the Mayor is committed to protecting the taxpayer.

James Diossa -> The Central Falls Mayoral candidate still has to overcome several opponents with more name recognition, but he is lapping the field when it comes to fundraising. Diossa has double the amount of money in his campaign account (just under $22,000) than all four of his opponents combined.

Brian Newberry -> The House Minority Leader is never shy about telling it like it is and he deserves credit this week for calling for more House Oversight committee meetings in the 2013 session. Speaker Gordon Fox has also committed to taking the committee (which rarely meets) more seriously and with 38 Studios still fresh on lawmakers’ minds, here’s hoping we see more action taken.

Who’s Not

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Barry Hinckley -> The Republican Senate candidate has been pretty quiet lately, but his campaign got it wrong this week when it issued a press release claiming Senator Whitehouse had still not paid back the city of Providence for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit. The State Democratic Party actually cut a check to the Providence Police Department to cover the overtime costs associated with the Biden event.

Cranston School Committee -> It’s never a good sign when you claim to have a surplus and then end up showing a deficit, especially during election season. With Republican State Senate candidate Sean Gately monitoring every move the committee makes (his opponent, Frank Lombardi, is a member of the school committee), they better address the problem in a hurry.

John Ward -> The Woonsocket Council President undoubtedly means well with his proposal to ban pitbulls, but the idea is half-baked. The truth is owners are the ones who deserve to be punished when their dogs aren’t trained properly.

Providence Police Department -> In a Department that is always trying to watch its spending, a $7 million lawsuit from the man who was beaten with a flashlight by an officer must be troubling. And considering the officer was convicted of assault (it was overturned on a technicality), one would have to imagine the Luis Medonca has a shot at winning the suit.

Central Coventry Fire District -> With the District out of money and firefighters working for two weeks without pay, Providence-based attorney Richard Land was appointed as a Special Master. Here’s hoping a deal can be reached in the coming weeks to both save the District and ensure those workers are paid.

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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