Scott MacKay

Political Analyst

With a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Vermont and a wealth of knowledge of local politics, it was a given that Scott MacKay would become a commentator for Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable.

As a former political reporter for The Providence Journal, MacKay has spent more than thirty years documenting the ins and outs of politics in Rhode Island and New England. MacKay is married to Dr. Staci Fisher, an infectious diseases specialist.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScotMackRI

Ways to Connect

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Barry Hinckley’s campaign says he has made an advertising buy of about $500,000 in broadcast, radio and cable television time.

Republican Hinckley, of Newport, says the advertising will begin Aug. 29 and run through Election Day, Nov. 6, in his campaign to unseat incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee will join such Rhode Island Democratic Party leaders as House Speaker Gordon Fox, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte between September 4th to 6th.

Chafee, a Republican-turned-independent, has been invited to the convention because of his support for President Obama, says Democratic State Chairman Edwin Pacheco.

Chafee is one of 35 national “co-chairs’’ of Obama’s reelection campaign.

UPDATE: Governor Chafee has issued a statement saying that “Caleb will accept responsibility for his actions.” The governor also said that he and his wife “have taken this matter seriously.”

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s son, Caleb Chafee, has been charged with a count of  violating  Rhode Island’s social host law that bars serving alcohol to people not old enough to meet the state’s 21-year old drinking age.

Too many Guns

Aug 16, 2012

The carnage of gun violence has marred summer all across America. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Island lawmakers can offer a helping hand.

From the Rocky Mountains to New England’s craggy coast, each week brings another desultory report of  lives cut short by murder. You can’t  flick on a television news spot these days without another incident in the blur of senseless killing.

Obama Challenge: GOTV

Aug 15, 2012

Political professionals know that every election is decided by who turns out at the polls. It is one of the trite truths of campaigns. Well, guess which presidential campaign wins if more voters show up at polls? According to the Washington Post:

Gay rights advocates have a new arena in which to battle for marriage equality: state ballots.

November‘s general election features same-sex marriage referenda on state ballots in Washington State, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland.

While public opinion on marriage equality has been moving rapidly from con to pro, same-sex marriage has never been approved in the more than 30 state elections in which some incarnation of gay marriage has been up for a vote.

Rhode Island has been the stage for contentious debate over same-sex marriage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the political landscape is shifting in favor of marriage equality.

Providence city government and the Providence Journal have reached an agreement on the ProJo’s tax assessment lawsuits that will lower the newspaper’s property tax liability on its properties in Providence by about $2.5 million.

Under terms of the deal approved by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst, the Journal will get a tax credit of $625,000 in 2012, $833,333 in 2013 and about $1 million in 2014.

The settlement was filed in court last Friday before a trial on the issue, which was scheduled to begin today.

The sign on Interstate 95 says `entering historic Providence.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to change that slogan to entering the `city of  cracked pavement.’

From the top of Elmhurst to the bottom of Elmwood, from Wanskuk to the banks of the Woonasquatucket, Providence is a city of crumbling roads. Potholes pock the business arteries like acne on a teenager’s face. Poorly maintained sidewalks make things precarious for joggers and the wheelchair-bound alike. The endless patching of roads riven by underground utility work never ends.

Rhode Island has a new official state historian laureate. He’s former Providence College history professor Patrick Conley of Bristol, an expert on the state’s past.. Conley, the author of many books and essays on Rhode Island history and law, was appointed to the unpaid post by Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.

The position was created by the General Assembly.  Mollis established a three-member search committee, which included Gwenn Stearn, state archivist, state librarian Tom Evans and Deputy Secretary of State Paul Caranci. Conley was the committee’s unanimous choice.

Now comes Boston Magazine with an in-depth dissection of Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios video game fiasco that has snared Rhode Island taxpayers to the tune of at least $75 million. The article by Jason Schwartz details the mess that was 38 Studios long before the arrival of the $75 million in financing from Rhode Island taxpayers that was pushed by Gov. Donald Carcieri and approved by the General Assembly and the RI Economic Development Corporation.

Looking for a no-brainer issue for Rhode Island General Assembly candidates this fall? RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has one that should resonate with taxpayers.

Even in the middle of a glorious summer, the ocean sometimes just doesn’t compensate for living in the Ocean State. This has become a season of both electioneering and discontent.

Our state’s economy is in the dumpster. As our New England neighbors are recovering from the recession, Rhode Island remains the region’s only state with an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly above the national figure.

George McGovern at 90

Jul 20, 2012

The grand old man of American liberalism turned 90 recently and was feted at a party in Washington, D.C.  Sen. George S. McGovern is best remembered as the anti-Vietnam War tribune who lost the 1972 election to Republican Richard Nixon in a 49-state landslide. (McGovern won only Massachusetts).

Congress can easily help cash-strapped states collect millions in sales taxes from Internet sales. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why action is needed to protect Main Street retailers.

The sun is high; your vacation is nigh. What better way to while away a splendid July afternoon in the Ocean State than a trip to the shore with that book you’ve been meaning to get to.

East Providence city government is on its way to solvency and the lessons are fairly simple: Once again, negotiation and conciliation works better than confrontation and litigation.

Under the arrangement forged by the state Budget Commission that was ushered in to scrutinize East Providence finances, the city’s largest creditor, Bradley Hospital, which provides special education services to the city, will receive all payments within 60 days. The hospital had been owed more than $4 million for services, which threatened to send the city into receivership.

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