The Scoop - Reed Talks Syria - RI News and Politics at 4 pm

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


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

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Reed Responds to Latest Developments in Syria

Following Tuesday's meeting with President Barack Obama and fellow U.S. Senators on the latest developments regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, U.S. Senator Jack Reed appeared on WHJJ—which is a media partner of GoLocal— this morning to give an exclusive interview to morning show host Ron St. Pierre. Here are the highlights:

St. Pierre: Do you think the president flip flopped over the past 10 days?

Reed: No. I think the President recognized that this was an extraordinary breach of international norm— the use of poison gas against civilians on a significant scale —and he felt, and he still does, that he has the constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief to respond. But I think he thought very carefully that his response would be more effective if it involved Congress. And I think, incidentally, that process has also seemed to invoke international participation. The Russians are now talking about a United Nations resolution that would essentially put the chemical weapons of Syria out of commission, and that’s a positive development that has to be pursued. So he’s using the time very well. And I think last night he was also effective in communicating not just the danger, but also the questions the American people are raising about the potential use of force, its dimensions, but also its purpose.

St. Pierre: If it got to you for a decision today, would you give thumbs up for military action?

Reed: One of the things that I have to do is carefully weigh a very significant and a very fast moving decision. Just two days ago the idea that the Russians would be seriously talking about compelling their client state Syria to give up chemical weapons was not on the table. So I think we’re looking carefully at not only the resolution and the changes that may have to be made in that, but also we have to -- not just the initial action but what happens in the following days. Does this make us stronger over the long term or does it lead us into a situation where we have to raise the ante? So I think there is still a lot of thinking that has to go on, but at this point though the President’s clear point that he has the authority and the clear preparation that are being taken have sent a strong signal and has certainly been identified or read by the Russians that they have to do something constructive.

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Politicians Honor the Twelve-Year Anniversary of September 11, 2001

A number of Rhode Island politicians issued statements today regarding the twelve-year anniversary of September 11, 2011—here's what several of them had to say.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse:

“On the twelfth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of that day’s attacks and their families. We will never forget those lost. Nor will we forget the selfless first responders who heeded the call to action, or our servicemembers who continue to protect Americans at home and abroad. Today, let us take the time to honor the fallen, and to remember that even in the face of great tragedy, our American spirit remains unshakeable.”

Sen. Jack Reed:

"Today our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims, heroic first responders, and many others whose lives were forever changed on 9/11," tweeted Reed.

Rep. David Cicilline:

“On this very somber anniversary, we remember the lives of 2,977 innocent men, women, and children who were killed twelve years ago today by terrorists in attacks in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The horrific and brutal attacks that we witnessed the morning of September 11, 2001, forever changed our country and the world. During these, some of our nation’s most difficult hours, we also saw inspiring examples of the very best that America has to offer.”

Rep. Jim Langevin:

"During this tumultuous time, it is important to take pause and remember September 11. Today, we think of and pray for the victims and their families. Today, we thank our nation's brave first responders. Today, we are thankful to live in the United States of America."

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras:

"Today, it is with somber reflection that we remember the lives that were lost and the families that were forever changed by the attacks of September 11, 2001. We thank all of our military families and first responders who have dedicated their lives to protecting ours, and who rose heroically to the occasion on that day 12 years ago. Their courageous actions were a true example of the tremendous strength and resilience of the American people."

Matos Denies Endorsement Rumors

Councilwoman Sabina Matos, who had previously been eyeing a run for mayor of Providence, dispelled rumors today that she was going to be announcing her support for a candidate at this time. "I am not endorsing anybody yet," Matos told GoLocal.

Matos was elected Councilwoman for Ward 15 in November 2010, and began her first term in January 2011. She currently serves Providence's Olneyville, Silver Lake, Valley, West End neighborhoods.

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Rep. Serpa Promotes New College Scholarship

Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) is encouraging students to apply for a new college scholarship provided through the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation college scholarship is one of the most generous higher education awards in the country, and I want our top students in Rhode Island to be aware that this opportunity is within their grasp,” Serpa said. “The latest report we’ve seen in the news is that a lot of our high school students are not making that leap to a four-year institution of higher education, and financial need has always been a factor in that. I know we have countless students in this state who are bright, hard-working people who deserve a chance to pursue their dreams. This scholarship could provide the avenue they need.”

The scholarship is designed to help highly capable students with a financial need succeed at some of the most selective colleges and universities in the nation. If chosen, the recipient of the scholarship would receive support from an educational adviser and up to $30,000 per year for four years in order to cover educational expenses.

Eligible applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Plan to graduate from a high school in the United States in spring 2014;
  • Intend to enroll in an accredited four-year college, beginning in fall 2014;
  • Earn a cumulative, unweighted grade point average of 3.5 or above;
  • Receive standardized test scores in the top 15 percent;
  • Have an SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above (must test by Oct. 5, 2013) and/or an ACT composite score of 26 or above (must test by Sept. 21, 2013); and
  • Demonstrate significant unmet financial need. The foundation will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. However, they anticipate that a majority of scholarship recipients will be eligible to receive a Pell grant.


The application process will remain open until Nov. 5. For more information, please visit:

Serpa is a retired member of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Federation of Teachers and a former member of the Rhode Island State House of Representatives' Health, Education, and Welfare Committee. Serpa is also the former High School Improvement Liaison at Johnson and Wales University.

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Chafee Wins Scenic America's Stafford Award for Highway Beautification

Governor Lincoln Chafee has been awarded Scenic America's Stafford Award, which recognizes achievement in scenic conversation. Scenic America chose Chafee due to Rhode Island's highway beautification program, which was launched in June 2012. 

"I am honored to receive Scenic America's Stafford Award acknowledging our Highway Beautification program," said Chafee. "We have made great strides to enhance the health, beauty and overall visual appearance of our roadways. These gateways make our state more attractive and give life to our aesthetic character.

As part of Chafee's initiative, murals were added to the Rhode Island's interstate roads, including the Narragansett Bay waterscape mural located on the Wampanoag Overpass Bridge on I-195 in East Providence. The program also includes landscaping and graffiti abatement efforts.

The Stafford Award recognizes individuals and organizations whose leadership in fostering scenic conservation has had significant positive impacts, both locally and nationally. The award is named for former United States Senator Robert Stafford of Vermont, for his efforts to reform the federal Highway Beautification Act and his longstanding concern for the environment. Stafford himself was the first recipient of the award.

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By the Numbers: Race for the Secretary of State 

Today we’ll examine the campaign financing data for the 2014 candidates for Secretary of State. Now that current Secretary of State Ralph A. Mollis has reached his term limit, there are two active candidates vying for the job: Businessman and philanthropist Guillaume de Ramel (D) and former State Democratic Chairman Ed Pacheco (D).

Here’s how the candidates stack up in terms of fundraising so far:

  • Guillaume de Ramel: $319,810.73 as of June 30, 2013.
  • Ed Pacheco: $21,680.62 as of June 30, 2013.


Despite Ramel’s large financial lead, it’s worth noting that he loaned his campaign an extra $200,000 in addition to the $109,575 he raised over the last finance period. Pacheco raised $13,214 over that same period.

Source of data:

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