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The Scoop: RI GOP To Name US Senate Candidate, Metts Blasts Gist

Thursday, September 26, 2013


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

RI GOP Close to Announcing RI Congressional Candidates

GoLocal has learned that the Rhode Island GOP is close to revealing its candidates for U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for the upcoming 2014 General Election.

This past weekend, a GoLocal source overheard members of Rhode Island’s Libertarian Party discussing the fact that the GOP has chosen who will face off against U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin.

The conversation took place at Saturday’s Rally4Recovery event at Roger Williams National Memorial Park in Providence. GoLocal attempted to reach RI Republican Party Chairman Mark Smiley via phone and email to discuss this development, but did not get comment.  

Although not an explicitly political event, the rally featured a speech by U.S. Congressman David Cicilline and Senate Chief of Staff Tom Coderre. Additionally, former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy served as the Grand Marshall.

Interestingly, the state’s GOP is actively seeking female candidates for office. In fact, the GOP is holding a workshop this Saturday at the Providence Marriot to encourage women to run for public office, run a campaign or a local Republican committee. Visit GOP.com/READYTO RUN for more information.

Stay tuned to see if the GOP takes heed in its call for female candidates and announces one for 2014.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Roosevelt Society was hosting the Ready to Run event. The group did advertise the event on their Facebook page, but in fact, they are not affiliated with it in any way. This is an official Republican Part run event. It's also worth noting that the Roosevelt Society is not an official Republican group.

Metts Blasts Gist and Mancuso

Earlier today, State Senator Harold Metts condemned the use of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) and all those who support it. In an op-ed released this morning, Metts rejected the use of NECAP as a graduation requirement and harshly criticized the state’s Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and Board of Education Chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso.

In regard to their support of NECAP testing, Metts wrote of Gist and Mancuso, “That is why I am troubled by the entrenched attitude of Commissioner Deborah Gist and dismayed by the actions of Chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso and the Board of Higher Education regarding high-stakes testing.”

“Taking an entrenched position, as Commission Gist is doing, is hindering progress. Chairwoman Mancuso and the board need to exercise more leadership in this area, since healthy debate should be welcomed on this important issue,” added Metts.

As for NECAP, Metts maintains that NECAP was not intended to be a graduation-testing tool, therefore it should not be used as the state’s sole graduation criteria.

Metts is a former educator and vice principal in the Providence school system. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education.

Sen. Fogarty Responds to E. Coli Scare with New Legislation

Amidst questions about the notification of thousands of Rhode Islanders affected by a boil order for the Kent County Water Authority this past weekend, Senator Paul W. Fogarty plans to introduce legislation next session to require water utilities to have access to automated phone alert systems.

“Water problems can be very serious emergencies that require immediate notification to customers,” said Fogarty (D-Dist. 23, Glocester, Burrillville, North Smithfield). “The technology to make automated phone calls to all affected residents is easily available and isn’t expensive. All water authorities should have access to that technology and use it when there’s a need to alert their customers to an issue with their water.”

Fogarty’s district includes the area in Pascoag that was affected in 2001 by contamination of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) from a leaking underground gas tank. At that time, the Pascoag Utility District used the media and went door-to-door to ensure that every affected resident knew about the contamination.

Much has changed in the 12 years since. Besides having an active presence on the Internet and social media, the Pascoag Utility District now can make automated phone calls to alert residents to an emergency. Currently, the district has access to the “Code Red” phone alert system used by the Town of Burrillville to allow recorded phone calls to be made to the whole town or certain zip codes, but the district is in the process of updating its software to a program that will allow it to target just its own customers for emergency phone calls.

Fogarty said Pascoag Utility District’s measures are exactly what he wants all Rhode Island water utilities, large and small, to have.

“Water utilities have a unique responsibility. When they have a problem, it is absolutely vital to public health that they have a way to get the word out to the people they serve right away. Automated phone messages are the fastest way to do that, and systems for them are now widely available. All water suppliers should be using them,” said Senator Fogarty.

Raimondo Announces Improvements to CollegeBoundfund

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has announced additional enhancements to Rhode Island's CollegeBoundfund, the state's 529 plan. In addition to redesigning the menu of existing investment options, a decision was made to create a new passive age-based alternative, at the lowest cost available to Rhode Island investors.

"These improvements mark the continuation of a thorough process to help Rhode Islanders have the best options when saving for college," Raimondo said. "By bringing people together, we were able to create a stronger investment line-up that will better support families saving for college."

After a thorough review in partnership with Pension Consulting Alliance (PCA) the State Investment Commission approved the following changes to the program:

• Replacing a number of individual, under performing funds

• Creating a new, low-fee passive age-based glide path; for Rhode Island residents, this option will be the lowest-cost currently available.

These accepted changes will next be presented to the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority for approval.

RI District 1 Candidate Maciel Talks Grassroots Campaigning

Fundraising has been slow for Independent U.S. Congressional candidate Jonathan Maciel thus far, but that doesn’t mean he is giving up on his grassroots-style of campaigning.

Maciel, who is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. David Cicilline for RI’s District 1 seat, told GoLocal that he is currently working hard to make connections and to gain name recognition.

“I'm in the process of arranging and scheduling town hall forums where I can introduce myself, present my ideas, and open up a discussion between myself and the people,” Maciel told GoLocal.

“In today's politics, the people's voice is often ignored so I think it's vitally important to have open discussions where we can speak to each other as well as our candidates and representatives about our concerns,” Maciel told GoLocal in regard to the town hall format. “Any candidate or representative who claims to have all the solutions is fooling themselves and shutting out other ideas they may not have otherwise had.”

Maciel will be next be appearing at this Saturday’s 4th Annual Big Drum Powwow at Roger Williams Memorial Park.

Chafee Announces $100,000 Manufacturing Grant

Governor Lincoln Chafee and Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation have announced that the state has won a first round “Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership” (IMCP) grant of $100,000.

“Growing Rhode Island’s economy has been a priority for my administration and winning this grant reinforces that manufacturing is still a big part of our economy and who we are as a State,” Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. “Through this grant, we will be investing in creating jobs in Rhode Island and strengthening our efforts to send a message beyond our borders that Rhode Island is a great place to live and work.”

Designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs in cities across the country, the U.S. Department of Commerce today awarded 26 federal IMCP strategy grants to communities around the country. This federal funding will help the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) and its collaborative partners enact long-term economic development strategies intended to create a business environment that leads to well-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs.

RIEDC is collaborating with manufacturers, universities, and local partners on a proposal to create a Design and Manufacturing Center in Rhode Island. The Center would provide critical support services, such as work force training, assistance with research and development, and product development, to local manufacturers. Earlier this summer, Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressmen Langevin and Cicilline brought federal officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce up to Rhode Island for a meeting at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus with a diverse group of business leaders, researchers, economic development organizations, and other stakeholders to discuss the IMCP application process.

In addition to this new federal funding, the RIEDC will contribute $25,000 and $50,000 in in-kind services, with the Rhode Island Foundation contributing $25,000 towards the project.

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

Editor's Note: The Rhode Island Republican Party is sponsoring an event with Republican National Committee Co- Chair Sharon Day for Republican candidates at the Providence Marriott on Saturday. This event is an official Republican event and is not associated with the Roosevelt Society, an independent group.



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