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

Friday, June 29, 2012


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Who’s Hot

President Obama -> The President’s crowning achievement of his first term in office has been upheld by the Supreme Court, giving him a ton of momentum in his re-election bid. The Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect, but it’s a win for millions of Americans who have had no access to health care. The goal now should be for Democrats and Republicans to forget the repeal efforts and work together to improve the flawed parts of the law.

Governor Chafee -> Kudos to the Governor for vetoing the outrageous auto body legislation that was quietly jammed through the General Assembly at the last minute by Peter Petrarca, whose family stood to directly benefit from the new law. It seems a lot of effort went into convincing Chafee not to throw the law out, but he deserves credit for doing what was right in this instance.

Providence Retirees -> While Mayor Taveras and the City Council have received the majority of the praise for working to reform the city’s pension system, let’s not forget about the people who actually gave up something in order to get this done. The retired police and firefighters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a deal that will cost them their COLAs, but helps the city get back on firm financial footing and makes it possible for future retirees to even have a pension.

Laura Pisaturo -> The Warwick lawyer and former finalist for a District Court judgeship is challenging Senate Judiciary committee chairman Michael McCaffrey in what could be one of the best races to watch in September. McCaffrey is viewed as a major road block when it comes to gay marriage, which means progressives may hone in on this race to help push Pisaturo over the top. However, McCaffrey is very popular within District 29 and he has nearly $130,000 in his campaign account.

Don Grebien -> Governor Chafee’s executive order around shared municipal services is a win for the Pawtucket Mayor, who has continuously searched for areas where his city can work with neighboring communities to cut costs and improve services.

Allan Fung -> Having your re-election wrapped up by June means one of two things: Either nobody is crazy enough to want the job or you’re doing something right. All signs suggest Mayor Fung has done an excellent job and the city of Cranston is lucky to have him.

Who’s Not

Providence Council -> The bitter inside baseball war that is taking place within the City Council makes for great political theater, but nothing productive is coming out of it. The city still has short-term cash flow problems and the crime rate appears to be skyrocketing. It’s time for this group to put aside their differences and keep their eye on the ball.

Anthony Gemma -> It’s never a good sign when you can’t get anyone to second your nomination at the State Democratic convention. Gemma knew he wouldn’t have much support from the machine, but seeing no one rise in support –and getting stabbed in the back by several friends— must have been deflating.

Joseph Polisena, Bruce Rogers & Charles Lombardi -> These generally strong leaders are making a major mistake by cutting off rescue runs to the city of Providence. Everyone knows times are tough, but it’s wrong for anyone to turn their back on the capital city.

Chris Young & Kara Russo -> Considering a fifth of the General Assembly is running unopposed, it’s nice to see anyone running for office. But Chris and Kara too often get in the way and that’s the last thing anyone needs in such an important election year.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island -> It would be nice if companies receiving millions of dollars in tax breaks would, you know, create jobs once in awhile. Instead, BSBSRI is slashing 43 jobs and justifying it by saying, “don’t worry, it’s just management we’re going after.”

Humanists of Rhode Island -> Doesn’t anyone have anything better to do than pick fights over crosses in public areas?

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]


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