On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.


Narragansett Bay is alive with sails, the spectacular sunsets burst into pink and plum streaks and fireworks flash and linger across the night sky.

Summer is here, the General Assembly has adjourned and the political news keeps coming fast and furious. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Brockton native Rocky Marciano was a staple on Rhode Island's boxing scene in the mid-20th Century, on his way to becoming U.S. heavyweight champion. Then he died in a plane crash in 1968.

RI Commerce Corporation

Businessman Karl Wadensten is making a run for lieutenant governor in Rhode Island.

Wadensten, 58, serves on the board of the state’s economic development agency, now known as the Commerce Corporation, where he was the only board member to oppose the deal for the 38 Studios video game company in 2010.

Wadensten, who is running as a Republican, said he sees running for public office as a logical next step after serving on state boards.

Former state Representative John Carnevale -- who was found by the Providence Board of Canvassers in 2016 to not be a legal voter in the district he represented -- wants his old post back.

Carnevale, a Democrat, has filed a declaration at City Hall indicating he's running for the seat now held by Rep. Ramon Perez (D-Providence).

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The Rhode Island General Assembly ended its 2018 session on Saturday. One of the top issues throughout the session was the fate of legislation to help create a new PawSox stadium in Pawtucket. Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis spoke with RIPR's Chuck Hinman about where things stand on that proposal.

Q: Ian, bring us up to speed. Where do things stand with the PawSox and a potential new stadium in Pawtucket?

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Cranston Republican Steve Frias -- who almost scored a remarkable upset in 2016, coming within 85 votes of defeating House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello -- announced Monday that he's taking another shot at ousting one of Rhode Island's most powerful politicians.

"The race presents a choice between Speaker Mattiello, Rhode Island’s most powerful State House politician, and Frias, an articulate advocate for the taxpayers and for reform in Rhode Island’s government," Frias said in a statement.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In a boost for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, state Rep. John Lombardi (D-Providence) has decided to seek re-election to his legislative post rather than running for mayor.

Although Lombardi would have been a likely underdog in a fight for City Hall, he placed second in the 2010 Democratic mayoral primary, outpacing the better-funded Steven Costantino -- showing how has strong name recognition and a solid following in Rhode Island's capital city.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The General Assembly ended a years-long legislative debate about an envisioned PawSox stadium in Pawtucket by approving Friday what supporters called enabling legislation that will shield taxpayers from risk. But it remains unclear if the top minor league team of the Boston Red Sox will support the concept.

What appears to be the last week of the General Assembly is coming in for landing. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's gubernatorial campaign is moving from its controversial office location at Chapel View in Cranston to a different space in Warwick.

The Carpionato Group, which owns Chapel View and pursues development throughout New England, has received attention for providing office space to Fung and Cranston Democrats without collecting rent. The stories were first reported by WPRI-TV.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island's House Finance Committee approved legislation Thursday that would help create a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox, although House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello moved to continue the debate on Friday after Rep. Moira Walsh (D-Providence) said she hadn't had adequate time to review the 21-page bill.

Brown University and a group of graduate students seeking to form a union have reached an agreement establishing terms for a possible union representation among graduate students at Brown, the university announced today.

The Carpionato Group contributed to the cost of a campaign mailer that supported Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in 2016.

The mailer was paid for by a group called Progress RI, which was chaired by Richard Ferruccio, the president of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers. The mailer identifies the "only donors" as Tasca Automotive Group, Carpionato Group and Cardi's Furniture.

General Assembly photo

Rhode Island state Rep. Thomas Winfield (D-Smithfield), one of five remaining House members from an unusually large incoming class in 1992, is not seeking re-election.