The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RIJuly 7th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post
1. Brendan Doherty is really facing a four-year campaign for Congress, not a two-year one. First he must convince 1st District independents to elect him this November – which is definitely doable if he keeps his distance from the national GOP, as Nate Silver recently argued. If Doherty wins, though, he’ll immediately become one of Democrats’ top targets for the 2014 midterms – and that means he’ll have to spend his first two years in Congress relentlessly proving to the same voters that he didn’t con them and is in fact an acceptable Republican. That, too, is doable - Scott Brown, who raised money for Doherty this week, is trying to do the same thing across the border in Massachusetts. (Of course, Brown will get a senator’s six-year reprieve from the ballot – not a congressman’s two – if he wins this fall.) With that in mind, Doherty may be better off if Obama defeats Romney; divided power would give the freshman Republican more chances to polish his bipartisan bona fides and limit the pressure on him to toe the party line.
2. For those of you who don’t get myRITV, our new business show Executive Suite is getting a second time slot: 6 a.m. Sundays on Fox Providence. The flagship airing is still Sundays at 6 p.m. on myRITV. Set your DVRs!
3. Speaking of Executive Suite, while researching this week’s program about Del’s Lemonade I stumbled across this fun 2002 New York Times article by Paul Lukas about Rhode Island’s “unusually vibrant food subculture concentrated in a very small area.” Del’s, Autocrat, Iggy’s, Johnnycakes, Olneyville New York System – they’re all in there. The story’s best quote belongs to Paul Drumm Jr., former owner of Kenyon’s Grist Mill: ‘The fact is, we don’t raise much in the state of Rhode Island anymore except houses, babies and taxes.”
4. We didn’t know it at the time, but June 11, 2010, was a key moment in Rhode Island’s recent history. That was the day Governor Carcieri signed into law two landmark pieces of legislation, each of which moved through the General Assembly at lightning speed. The first created the now infamous $125 million Job Creation Guaranty Program the EDC soon used to bestow $75 million on Curt Schilling and 38 Studios. The second was the Fiscal Stability Act, the hurriedly fashioned response to Central Falls’ receivership filing that has become Rhode Island’s main tool for dealing with distressed municipalities. The loan program was introduced May 19 and became law in less than three weeks (though it was also in that year’s aborted supplemental budget). As for the Fiscal Stability Act, it was the Usian Bolt of local lawmaking – introduced on June 8 and the law of the land three days later. Also of note, the House versions of both bills shared two sponsors: Reps. Steven Costantino and Helio Melo, the Finance Committee’s once and future chairmen at the time.
5. The Slater Technology Fund is hosting a “Slater Sushi” event on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the former Davol Gym, with the spotlight on Rhode Island’s health care IT companies. KLR is the sponsor. Sounds like it should be interesting.
6. Rhoda Perry’s retirement elicited this tribute from retired Providence Journal political columnist M. Charles Bakst:
Sen. Rhoda Perry’s decision not to seek reelection after 22 years in the chamber means that Rhode Islanders will be deprived of exceptionally dedicated service from someone who demonstrated that good guys actually can prevail.
The liberal Perry, a Providence East Side Democrat, has been a tenacious fighter for people and causes that need a champion. Her concerns have included abused kids, medical marijuana, sex trafficking, racial profiling, campaign finance, budget priorities, abortion rights, physician-assisted suicide, and marriage equality.
Some politicians are into power, some are into ego, some are in it to make money. Perry is into human dignity.
Sure, she lost a lot of battles, but she always was a conscience and a voice and kept struggling anyway, and she had several successes, and, though she will have left the Senate by then, you know it won’t be much longer before marriage equality is the law of the state if not of the entire nation, and this constituent looks forward to the day.
Some people shy from running for office because they don’t believe there is any way they can really make a difference.
Perry showed that you can.
7. One little-noticed aspect of Lincoln Chafee‘s tenure in the governor’s office has been the number of talented women whom he’s trusted with crucial policymaking roles. On health care, there’s Elizabeth Roberts and now Christine Ferguson. On education, there’s Deborah Gist. On budgets, there’s Rosemary Booth Gallogly. On pensions, there’s Gina Raimondo (a rival today, but a partner last year). His aides include Jamia McDonald, Claire Richards and Christine Hunsinger. Perhaps times are changing in Rhode Island government?
8. Speaking of Chafee, last month his office and the much-maligned EDC brought to Rhode Island a group of national site-selection consultants – who help companies figure out where they should set up shop, expand and relocate – for a two-day “familiarization tour.” They visited T.F. Green and the InterLink, Providence’s new Knowledge District, Quonset Business Park and other state assets. “It was Governor Chafee’s idea,” EDC spokeswoman Melissa Chambers told me. “This hasn’t been done in recent memory – 15 years or more. The focus of the tour was to showcase Rhode Island’s economic assets and build long-term relationships so that Rhode Island is on the radar screen earlier in the process when expansion/relocation decisions are being considered.” Sounds like a good idea.
10. If Helio Melo does try to succeed Gordon Fox as House speaker someday, a lot of people are going to have questions about the strange, secretive way his Finance Committee just went about consolidating Rhode Island’s education boards. Kudos to the Projo’s education reporter Jen Jordan for relentlessly seeking answers.
11. If you’re not sick of me already, I’ll be on A Lively Experiment this weekend and the topics will include an analysis of last week’s much-talked-about Newsmakers interview with Speaker Fox about 38 Studios. You can catch the show Sunday at noon on Rhode Island PBS or on the station’s YouTube page. Thanks to guest host Jim Hummel for inviting me.
12. This week on Newsmakers – Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts and R.I. Health Benefits Exchange Executive Director Christine Ferguson. Watch Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox Providence. This week on Executive Suite – Del’s Lemonade’s Joseph Padula. Watch Sunday at 6 p.m. on myRITV (or 6 a.m. on Fox). See you back here next Saturday morning.
Tags: saturday quick hits