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

Friday, May 31, 2013


With Chafee's switch to "D" throwing the Democrats into the spin cycle, Republican Allan Fung is hotter than ever as a prospect.

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.

Who's Hot

Lincoln Chafee: The governor has been gaining national press for his switch from Independent to Democrat. It might not boost his poll numbers, but it certainly will make for an interesting gubernatorial primary. If this announcement changes Taveras' plans for higher office, perhaps some of the aspiring mayors should consider runs for city council (or any of the often uncontested House and Senate seats)!

Arts Forward: Arts Forward, a national group promoting adaptative thinking in the arts, is sponsoring a contest to support a "business unusual" art project. Please click here to vote support for Waterfire - currently in second place to win a $35,000 grant to find ways to keep the fires burning! http://artsfwd.org/challenge/

Angel Taveras: Kudos to the Mayor for speaking out against the use of NECAP as a graduation bar, noting, "Unlike tests designed for measuring student achievement, such as the Regents exam in New York, the NECAP ... was not intended by policy makers at the time to be a make or break state graduation requirement." It's time to focus on curriculum, not false mandates.

Cadence, Inc.: The Virginia-based medical device manufacturer broke ground on a $3.3 million dollar expansion of its facility in Cranston. What can we do to encourage more businesses to take root in RI and grow?

Allan Fung: The Cranston Mayor has a record of fiscal stability, and has broken barriers as the first Chinese-American elected to office in the state. With Chafee's announcement scrambling the Democratic ticket for governor, it's time for the GOP to go forward with Fung.

Urban Pond Procession: Mashapaug Pond is a beautiful, albeit polluted, gem. The Procession, in its 6th year, represents the best of the Creative Capital - engaged residents and artists working together to build community and a healthier environment. Big Nazo will be there - will you?

Grey Sail: This Westerly Brewery is part of little Rhody's growing micro-brew industry. Alongside Foolproof in Pawtucket and the award winning Revival in Providence, Grey Sail is offering a taste of summer in an unsettled time.

Not Hot

Deborah Gist: Commissioner Gist has announced she will skydive with representatives of the school with the best summer reading level participation. If the Commissioner feels the need to parachute out of a plane to boost morale, she clearly has some work to do.

East Providence: The education crisis is real, and it's not just an urban issue. Based on data from KIDS Count RI, East Providence has one of the highest drop-out rates of any RI suburb. Only 68% of students in the class of 2011 graduated. The statewide graduation average was 77%.

Lincoln Chafee: Former Senate President Joseph Montalbano's nomination to a lifetime judgeship sets a dangerous precedent. No State Senator has been elevated to a position of formal judgeship since merit selection was installed 25 years ago. We don't need to go back to the judicial bad old days of Bevilacqua and Smith, and we don't need an Independent turned Democrat (along with the Senate Judiciary Committee) to bring us there.

Charlie Fogarty: The former Lt. Governor is presiding over an unemployment office that is leaving many people out to dry, with waits and difficulty reaching humans, not automated answering programs. With unemployment numbers still the highest in New England, where is the plan?

Bill Murphy: The former Speaker of the House makes over $50,000 to lobby for pay day lenders, a group that makes money off desperately poor people by loaning cash at extremely high interest rates. As infamous former Louisiana Governor Richard Leche once said, "When I took the oath of office, I didn't take any vow of poverty."

Frank Anzeveno: RI Speakers of the House come and go, Frank Anzeveno remains. The former state rep has been chief of staff to the RI Speaker of the House since John Harwood. That's a questionable amount of power for one man to have. 


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