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The Scoop: Clay Pell’s Cousin Donated $2,250 to Raimondo; More

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Welcome to The Scoop, the 4 p.m. report on everything politics in Rhode Island – the inside daily report exclusively on GoLocalProv.com.

Nicholas Pell's Past Support of Gina Raimondo

Nicholas L. Pell, a New York investment banker and cousin of potential 2014 Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell, has donated $2,250.00 to State Treasurer and likely gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo over the last four years, according to the Rhode Island Board of Elections.

Pell, who is the grandson of the late six-term U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, made four contributions to Raimondo from 2009 through 2012.

The contribution details are as follows:

  • $1,000 on 12/26/2009
  • $500 on 3/19/2010
  • $250 on 9/30/2010
  • $500 on 10/17/2012


Pell made the first three contributions while serving as Director in the Investment Department of WP Carey & Co, and made the latest while employed as Managing Director of Investments at Gramercy Capital Corp, which is his current position.

GoLocal contacted Pell to determine whether he would support Raimondo over Clay in a potential Democratic primary, but he declined to comment.

In 2010, Pell considered running for Rhode Island's District 1 Congressional seat after Rep. Patrick Kennedy announced he would not seek reelection.

Pell is a member of Newport Festivals Foundation Board of Directors, which supports the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. Prior to his position at WP Carey & Co., Pell served as Director of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2002 to 2005.

He holds a B.A. in Economics from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

2014 Governor's Race

Raimondo has not yet declared whether she will run for governor but has stated that she will announce her decision before the end of the year. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras formally announced his candidacy yesterday—becoming the first major Democrat to do so.

GoLocal first reported earlier this month that Nicholas' cousin Clay, who recently left his job at the U.S. Department of Education, is also weighing a run for governor.

Bristol businessman Todd Giroux, who ran as an Independent in the 2010 gubernatorial race, has declared he will run as a Democrat in 2014.

Former Moderate Party candidate Ken Block, who GoLocal reported yesterday would run as a Republican in the 2014 Rhode Island Governor's race, is the only official candidate on the GOP side. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who launched a gubernatorial exploratory committee last month, is also considered a likely candidate.

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If you have a scoop for The Scoop, please email it to [email protected]

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More Sandy Relief

Rhode Island gets $16 million more in Sandy recovery aid.

A year after Superstorm Sandy devastated many Rhode Island businesses and homes, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline have announced that an additional $16 million in federal funding is on its way to help pay rebuilding costs and better protect communities from future storms. 

This latest round of federal support comes in the form of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which may be used to make infrastructure upgrades; repair homes, businesses, and public facilities; and ensure communities are better prepared for and can respond to future natural disasters.

To date, Rhode Island has received approximately $61.4 million from federal disaster relief programs to help Rhode Island recover from Sandy.

“This federal funding will provide the state with critical resources to help families, businesses, and communities that were hit hardest by the storm. It also offers communities the opportunity to take steps to better protect themselves from future storms and encourage sustainable economic growth,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. “Increasing the resiliency of our infrastructure and coastline and accounting for future risks is a smart investment that can save taxpayers in the long run and help build a stronger Rhode Island.”

In July, the Congressional delegation brought federal officials from the Hurricane Sandy Task Force to Rhode Island for a firsthand look at coastal communities that suffered extensive damage during Sandy.  Shortly thereafter, the state’s action plan for spending its initial allocation of $3.2 million in CDBG-DR funds for Sandy recovery was approved by HUD.

Rhode Island has now received over $19.24 million in CDBG-DR funds for Sandy assistance.

When Superstorm Sandy hit Rhode Island on October 29, 2012, it caused widespread devastation and affected approximately 300,000 Rhode Island residents, or 28% of the state’s population. Mandatory local evacuations were ordered in eight communities. Approximately 122,000 homes and businesses lost electricity as a result of the storm, and an estimated 40,000 remained without power for two or more days. The highest concentration of storm damage was located in Rhode Island’s southern coastal communities. The majority of the damages in these areas occurred from storm surge and high winds.

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School Choice

RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity touts school choice programs.

Six out of ten Rhode Island respondents gave a negative rating to the state's public school system, while support for school choice programs, including vouchers, has broad appeal that crosses political and ethnic boundaries, according to new survey of registered voters in the Ocean State.
The poll, "Rhode Island K-12 & School Choice Survey," released today by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, in cooperation with the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, found 56 percent of respondents favor vouchers, which allow parents to use a portion of their children's state public education funding for private school tuition. Among African Americans, 76 percent support vouchers, while 54 percent of Democrats concur. The survey was conducted by Braun Research, Inc., which has been used by such research firms as Gallup Organization and the Pew Research Center.
The Center also published today its own report, "The School Choice Idea in Rhode Island; Myths, Opinions, and Realities," which analyzes some of the poll results and also discusses six of the commonly held misconceptions about the issue. The Center plans to publish additional information about various school choice options later in 2013 and in 2014.

"The broad appeal of school choice might best be exemplified by the poll's findings that the top two groups giving a poor-or-fair opinion of public schools (80% of the black community and 79% of state Republicans) are not normally closely aligned when it comes to public policy", said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. "It must be our responsibility as state to ensure that all families are empowered with the choice to provide their children with a quality education that creates opportunities for a brighter future."
Detailed information about the survey, including charts, demographics, and methodologies, along with a Rhode Island K-12 Profile, can be found at www.edchoice.org/ripoll, including a profile of K-12 education in RI. The Center's school choice home page can accessed here.
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's vision of school choice for all children. The Foundation promotes school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America.

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Behavioral Health Meeting

Commission studying integration of primary care and behavioral health to meet.

The Joint Legislative Commission to Study the Integration of Primary Care and Behavioral Health is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

The meeting is scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Senate Lounge on the second floor of the State House.

The commission’s agenda includes a presentation by Rebecca Boss of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals on health homes and behavioral health spending. The commission will also break into work groups, which will report back to the entire commission before the end of the meeting.

The commission is led by Co-chairmen Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) and Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).

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Autism Commission

Sen. Satchell appointed to autism commission.

Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has appointed Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) to the Special Joint Commission to Study the Quality of Life and Create Positive Outcomes for Individuals with Autism

“As we learn more about autism, we also need to learn how to better the lives of those who suffer from the disorder and share that information with their families, teachers, care providers and other stakeholders,” Senator Satchell said. “I am honored to be selected for this commission and I look forward to the great work I know we can accomplish together.

The General Assembly approved legislation this year to create a 23-member commission and conduct a comprehensive study to improve the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and their families. The commission is an outgrowth of an existing commission that has, for the past several years, studied the education of children with autism.

Based on 2008 figures, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 88 children in the United States has been identified with some form of autism. ASDs are neurological disorders that affect how the brain functions. The definition of the disorder has grown broader over the years, but it typically causes difficulties with social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors.


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