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

Friday, April 26, 2013


An awesome ground game from Marriage Equality Advocates moved marriage equality legislation through the RI House and Senate.

Every Friday, Dan Lawlor breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Rhode Island politics. Check out who made the lists this week.


Marriage Equality Advocates-> Rhode Islanders United for Marriage had an awesome ground game. Connecting and motivating churches, neighbors, friends and families to knock on doors, call Senators and Representatives, and show up to vote brought both chambers-and both parties- to pass marriage equality. It's been a long journey from Michael Pisaturo's beginning bill in 1997, to Donna Nesselbush's dramatic 2013 vote. Victory!

Angel Taveras-> It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a loan for the Superman building ... just kidding. Kudos to the Mayor for his recent (albeit risky) crime-fighting efforts catching a drunk driver on the city's East Side.

Common Cause RI-> "32 states allow early voting- Rhode Island does not." Common Cause just held a young professionals meet and greet on early voting—over 50 attended the Congress Tavern event. It's not often RISD students and politicos mingle in the same crowd—Good work!

Emerging Latino Leaders-> A recent panel at Brown University highlighted the "robust" and growing Latino population, a group at times overlooked in policy decisions. As Anna Cano-Morales, ED of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, reflected, "There is a void right now, of credible, legitimate, organized data..."

The late Barbara Jalbert -> A former nun, Jalbert left $500,000 dollars to the San Miguel School in the city's North End. A scholarship school for working class kids, San Miguel's small classes and extracurriculars have made a difference for hundreds of families. A great legacy!

Ed Pacheco -> The announced Secretary of State candidate, and soon to be former Democratic Party Chair, has cast his lot with simple, easy to implement good government issues—Early Voting Options, Repeal of the Master Lever, and the like. We need more reform advocates—but will Pacheco be able to convince the legislature?

Teresa Paiva Weed-> Despite the Senate President's continued personal opposition to marriage equality, kudos to her for allowing a full vote in the Senate. Rhode Island's laws will reflect the diversity of its families.

Matthew Fabisch-> This young lawyer was recently named as the interim executive director of the RI GOP, the party's third since January 2012. Hopefully, Fabisch will stick around a while, and foster some problem-solving and party-building.


Our Stress Level-> A recent Gallup-Healthway poll found Rhode Islanders to be the second most stressed people in the United States (Just behind West Virginians, and ahead of folks from Kentucky). The survey also found, "Rhode Island residents were the least likely to report feeling enjoyment the previous day."

John M. Carnevale-> I'm all for healthy economic competition, but Representative Carnevale's proposal for five (!) seasonal sales tax holidays on alcohol and liquor is right up there with calamari as the state appetizer.

The Sequester-> Federal government incompetence will result in millions of people, including thousands of Rhode Islanders, being hurt. Cuts to unemployment benefits hardly seem like a step forward—never mind, just enjoy DC's nightlife.

Ann Clanton-> The state GOP executive director, who supported current Party Chair Mark Smiley's opponent, has resigned. Clanton served as party director since March 2012. Aside from highlights like Dawson Hodgson, the November elections were a disaster for the GOP. Ann once told Go Local, "We [the GOP] need to do a better job of defining ourselves instead of having others doing it for us." Best of luck.

Joint Committee on State Lottery-> The Committee held its most recent public meeting, of all places, in the VIP Lounge at Twin River Casino. It's good to know very important people are keeping an eye on us.  


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