Political news

Providence, R.I. – State Republican Chairman Giovanni Cicione yesterday unveiled a new effort to challenge the dominance of General Assembly Democrats.

Looking to brand themselves, Republicans rolled out what they're calling "Rhode Island Clean Slate." It's meant to supplement the individual efforts of about 100 Republican and independent legislative candidates. Related bus ads and radio spots are set to start this week.

Photo Courtesy of Victor Moffitt

Providence, R.I. – Victor Moffitt is so busy he doesn't have much time for reporters. So Moffitt talked about his run for Governor in the car - as he shuttled between town halls to drop off signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Providence, R.I. – We continue our coverage of the future of Rhode Island's fist Congressional District now that Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek a ninth term in Congress. In this interview with WRNI Political Analyst Scott MacKay, we hear from William Lynch.

Providence, R.I. – Providence Mayor David Cicilline announces his run for Congress to succeed Patrick Kennedy in an interview with WRNI's Scott MacKay this morning.

Providence, R.I. – Governor Don Carcieri has vetoed a bill establishing the post of Historian Laureate of Rhode Island.

He claimed that the criteria for appointment are inadequate, that the title is unnecessary and that the position puts too much value on one historian's perspective to the exclusion of others.

He also said that the governor, and not the Secretary of State, should have the power to choose who fills the post. He released a statement yesterday urging Rhode Island's representatives to support his veto.

Providence, R.I. – Businessman and philanthropist Anthony Gemma this morning announced his Democratic campaign for the congressional seat held by Patrick Kennedy.

Gemma told supporters at a Providence Place movie theater that he wants to involve more people in shaping government decisions. He says Rhode Island's top state and federal officials should also hold "board" meetings to work together on major issues.

Providence, R.I. – Last week, Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri signed into law an overhaul of the state's income tax system. At the signing ceremony, the Republican Governor was joined and cheered by Democratic General Assembly leaders. But WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay says many Rhode Islanders might not be cheering about the new law when they pay their taxes next year.

Providence, R.I. – The six major candidates for governor last night squared off during their first televised debate.

Exchanges between independent candidate Lincoln Chafee and Democrat Frank Caprio highlighted the Channel 12 debate. Chafee says his proposed temporary sales tax increase is better than passing on property tax hikes to local taxpayers. He says his proposal would mean 50 cents in tax on a $50 clothing purchase.

Providence, R.I. – The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed the debate over a Providence lawyer and activist up for a spot on the federal court in Rhode Island.

John McConnell Jr., who was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position in March, will have to wait until next week for the debate.

The hearing was postponed to give McConnell's opponents more time to discuss his history of leading lawsuits against manufacturers and businesses - a history they say makes him unsuitably partisan for a federal court.

Providence, R.I. – The state Legislature is trying to wrap up business before adjourning the year.

The General Assembly worked late into the night on Wednesday with the House passing legislation giving the Public Utilities Commission a say in a proposed wind farm.

A House committee also endorsed a bill that would let voters decide on whether to expand the state's two slot parlors into full-scale casinos.

Providence, R.I. – Six candidates running for governor will meet for their first debate.

Thursday's debate hosted by WPRI-TV will be the first chance for voters to see the candidates go toe-to-toe on issues such as the economy and education.

The candidates include two Democrats - General Treasurer Frank Caprio and Attorney General Patrick Lynch - independent Lincoln Chafee, Moderate Ken Block and Republicans John Robitaille and Victor Moffitt.

They are vying to replace Republican Don Carcieri, who is term limited.

Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island lawmakers are expecting to take up a measure to let voters decide on expanded gambling.

The House Finance Committee on Wednesday night endorsed a voter referendum on converting the state's two slot parlors into full-blown casinos.

Newport Grand in Newport and Twin River in Lincoln offer video lottery terminals but not the table games found at traditional casinos.

Providence, R.I. – In a bill signing ceremony yesterday, Gov. Don Carcieri put his signature on a new law cutting state income taxes for the highest earners. Proponents say the new measure will make the state more competitive.

Gov. Carcieri has been calling for tax cuts since he came into office in 2003, so he was happy to sign the new law.

Providence, R.I. – Good government advocates fear the state Senate may adjourn for the year without acting on a bill to restore the strength of the state ethics commission.

Voters created the state Ethics Commission in 1986 through a constitutional convention to monitor the ethical behavior of public officials. Common Cause Director John Marion says the commission still has an important role to play in Rhode Island.

Providence, R.I. – Democrat Frank Caprio is preparing to formally launch his campaign for governor.

The general treasurer says he'll declare his candidacy at a small business forum on Wednesday and will release his jobs plan there.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch, also a Democrat, officially entered the race on Saturday.

Other candidates include Republicans John Robitaille and Victor Moffitt; former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who is running as an independent, and Ken Block of the nascent Moderate Party.