lincoln chafee

State funding for RI colleges up 10.8% since 2010

January 19th, 2015 at 2:38 pm by under General Talk

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island has upped funding for its three public colleges 10.8% since 2010, the second-largest increase in New England, according to a report released Monday by Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

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Somber official portrait of Gov. Chafee released

January 6th, 2015 at 10:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Lincoln Chafee’s four years as Rhode Island governor came to an end shortly after noon on Tuesday, and within hours the state’s residents got their first look at his official portrait.

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Watch Newsmakers: Gov. Lincoln Chafee exit interview

December 21st, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Chafee hails Moody’s upgrade on Rhode Island’s finances

October 6th, 2014 at 5:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island got a positive report card about its finances on Monday from Moody’s Investors Service, with the Wall Street rating agency praising local leaders for taking steps they said have improved state government’s fiscal health.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee hailed the news in a statement. “I am pleased that Moody’s is acknowledging our strong fiscal management and my leadership to ensure that we are moving in the right direction through investments in education, infrastructure and workforce development,” he told

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Gov. Chafee endorses Clay Pell for RI governor

September 8th, 2014 at 7:02 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Incumbent Gov. Lincoln Chafee has made a last-minute endorsement in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island governor, throwing his support behind political newcomer Clay Pell less than 24 hours before voters go to the polls.

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As term nears end, Gov. Chafee sees ‘progress’ on education

July 22nd, 2014 at 8:14 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Nearly two months after Lincoln Chafee launched his campaign for governor in 2010, he sat in the Central Falls High School auditorium and watched as the city’s school board called out the names of 93 teachers, specialists and guidance counselors. All of them were fired.

Chafee still recalls the tears shed by students as they watched their teachers lose their jobs and the angry union protesters who loudly opposed the board’s decision, one that made the one-square-mile city a national battleground over school reform on that February evening. He promised himself things would be different if he won the state’s top job.

Now, as he enters the final months of his one and only term as governor of Rhode Island, Chafee says he has put a halt to the “divisive labor warfare” he inherited thanks to compromises on both sides. And while a large achievement gap between poor and affluent students still exists, Chafee argues the investments he’s made in education have put the state on a path toward producing better outcomes.

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Licht reveals meetings with Corso about 38 Studios

May 7th, 2014 at 6:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A top aide to Gov. Lincoln Chafee confirmed Wednesday he met twice with Michael Corso, the controversial local attorney closely associated with the 38 Studios deal, in 2011 and 2012 to discuss the faltering company’s efforts to get tax credits from the state.

Richard Licht, director of the R.I. Department of Administration, told he and Corso met in his office in December 2011 and again at an outside event in the spring of 2012. Licht said the discussion at both meetings revolved around 38 Studios’ need to obtain tax credits.

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• Related: Leaked docs detail 38 Studios’ contracts with Michael Corso (May 7)

RI pension mediation ends; trial set for Sept

April 11th, 2014 at 2:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s landmark pension law is heading to trial.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo said Friday the state and its major labor unions have ended court-ordered mediation talks after eligible police officers voted to reject a proposed pension settlement. The two sides are now set to head to trial Sept. 15.

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Chafee: RI may continue pension deal without police

April 8th, 2014 at 1:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday the state may consider moving forward with its pension settlement without the eligible police officers who voted to reject the deal.

“There are various options and that might be one,” Chafee said following a news conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Tuesday morning.

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Center for Freedom suggests $225M to cut from RI budget

April 2nd, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A new report from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity suggests $225 million that should be cut from Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s proposed budget for next year, starting with the elimination of a $50-million increase in the historic-preservation tax-credit program.

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• Related: Gov. Chafee, quoting Taylor Swift, proposes $8.5B state budget (Jan. 15)

Chafee ready for new speaker; Mattiello confident

March 24th, 2014 at 6:19 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Susan Campbell

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee expressed confidence Monday that the Rhode Island House will be able to move on from the sudden resignation of Speaker Gordon Fox, as House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello took further steps to consolidate his support.

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Chafee made undisclosed Texas speech amid pension drama

February 12th, 2014 at 12:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

From my newly updated pension story on, an interesting wrinkle:

Prior to the meeting’s start Raimondo was seen conferring with Licht, a powerful figure in the Chafee administration and another senior figure in the pension talks. Licht also confirmed that Chafee remained out of state after giving a speech in Texas on Tuesday, but said he expected the governor to return to Rhode Island by late Wednesday morning.

Licht said he spoke to Chafee several times Tuesday and into the evening about the progress of the talks. “Governor Chafee is involved completely,” Licht said. “He is fully informed. We talk to him all the time. He doesn’t sit in on the meetings, but we’re talking to him.”

Eagle-eyed Twitter users quickly discovered the online invitation to Chafee’s Texas speech, which said the free event was “open to the public.” That would contradict the official gubernatorial schedule Chafee’s office released for Tuesday, which said he had no public events scheduled.

Chafee spokeswoman Faye Zuckerman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from, but when asked about it by AP reporter David Klepper, she told him: “Is this a story?”

Ironically, Chafee’s reported remarks in Texas included a mention of the problems he thinks are caused by senators constantly leaving Washington to see their constituents. “But that’s the reality, you want to be seen in your home district,” the Rhode Island governor told the Texas crowd.

Sony exec blames Chafee, RI pols for 38 Studios flop

February 11th, 2014 at 10:52 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – While Rhode Island leaders never should have backed a $75 million loan to Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios, Gov. Lincoln Chafee bears the blame for the company’s final collapse in the spring of 2012, according to one leading industry executive.

John Smedley, president of the Sony Corp. gaming division Sony Online Entertainment, argued in a string of tweets sent Monday that the R.I. Economic Development Corporation board of directors made a basic error in 2010 by putting public money on the line for the high-risk creation of a video game.

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Watch: The 5 charts you need to see to get RI’s jobs crisis

January 23rd, 2014 at 3:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island’s latest jobs report was released Thursday, and the numbers were ugly: unemployment ticked up to 9.1% in December and the labor force shrank again; in addition, 1,500 jobs were lost. It’s possible some of the numbers will be revised in a more positive direction, but the recovery is clearly disappointing.

Shortly before the new numbers came out, we taped a segment for next weekend’s Executive Suite where I break down why Rhode Island’s employment situation is so discouraging. Since the topic is timely, I thought I’d share it now. Watch and leave your reaction:

Chafee pays himself back $200K; campaign debt at $1.41M

January 20th, 2014 at 7:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced back in September that he wouldn’t seek a second term in 2014, but he’s only starting to make a dent in repaying himself $1.61 million in personal loans to his 2010 campaign.

Chafee’s campaign account cut the governor a check for $200,000 on Dec. 2 to reimburse him for some of the personal loans he made to his gubernatorial campaign in 2009 and 2010, according to a filing Monday with the R.I. Board of Elections. That cut Chafee’s outstanding personal campaign debt to $1.41 million.

Chafee spent $2.5 million on his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, slightly less than Democrat Frank Caprio, who spent $2.7 million but came in third. Republican John Robitaille, who came in second, spent $603,833.

Chafee and his wife, Stephanie (Danforth) Chafee, are known to have a large fortune. The Chafees’ net worth was at least $38 million in 2006, according to his final U.S. Senate financial disclosure form, which at the time made Chafee the seventh-richest senator, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The governor didn’t raise a penny during the final fundraising quarter of last year, according to the filing. His campaign war chest stood at $164,967 on Dec. 31, down from $379,208 on Sept. 30, after the loan repayment and campaign expenses including $2,349 for holiday cards and payments to campaign consultants Amy Gabarra and William Facente.

Gabarra, a prominent Democratic fundraiser, is now raising money for Democrat Clay Pell.

Watch Newsmakers: Gov. Lincoln Chafee in his final year

January 19th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Raimondo, Taveras back Chafee budget; Fung wants lower taxes

January 16th, 2014 at 4:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The two announced Democratic candidates vying to succeed Gov. Lincoln Chafee expressed initial support for the governor’s final budget proposal Wednesday night, while a leading Republican hopeful called on state leaders to consider lowering taxes this year.

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, both Democrats, said they still want to dig in to Chafee’s $8.5 billion budget proposal, but agreed that the governor’s plans to spend an additional $38 million on public schools, freeze tuition at state colleges and invest in infrastructure are all good starting points in an election year.

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House, Senate leadership give positive reviews for Chafee budget

January 16th, 2014 at 1:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s fourth and final State of the State address was met with a warm reception from House and Senate leadership as well as many rank-and-file Democrats, while conservative critics said the governor failed to offer a plan to that would spur the state’s stagnant economy.

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Gov. Chafee, quoting Taylor Swift, proposes $8.5B state budget

January 15th, 2014 at 8:18 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Wednesday proposed a state budget that keeps Rhode Island’s current tax rates the same while providing more education and infrastructure funding – and in his final State of the State address, he gave Taylor Swift the last word.

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National Grid, Chafee working on bill to expand hydropower

December 30th, 2013 at 12:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Rhode Island’s dominant electric utility are collaborating on a new effort to harness hydropower for the state’s energy needs.

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Governor Chafee: Fine, this year we’ll call it a ‘Christmas tree’

December 2nd, 2013 at 11:55 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

There will be no Christmas tree brouhaha in 2013. Gov. Lincoln Chafee issued a statement Monday morning saying in part, “Because I do not think how we address the State House tree affects our ‘lively experiment,’ this year’s invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree.”

The State House tree will be lit Thursday at 5:30 p.m. – by Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, not Chafee.

As noted before in this space, Chafee was not the first to call the Smith Hill spruce a “holiday tree” – Don Carcieri and Lincoln Almond both did so in some years, too. Meanwhile, take this opportunity to watch last year’s Executive Suite interview with the head of the Rhode Island Christmas Tree Growers Association.

• Related: Can RI’s tree industry bounce back? (Dec. 24, 2010) | Oy Christmas tree’ (Dec. 1, 2012)

Moody’s lauds turnaround in East Providence, ups rating

October 24th, 2013 at 11:21 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – There’s more good news for East Providence leaders about the turnaround in the city’s finances. Moody’s Investors Services on Wednesday night restored the city’s credit rating to investment grade, citing the work of the budget commission that finished work last month.

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Q&A: Orr explains how Brown University’s poll was conducted

October 9th, 2013 at 12:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Marion_OrrBrown University released a new opinion survey on Wednesday morning showing Treasurer Gina Raimondo leading Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary for governor. The findings are strikingly different from those of the poll Taveras commissioned and released last month that put the mayor 19 points ahead.

Marion Orr is director of Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy & Political Science. He talked with on Wednesday about how the new poll was conducted. The interview has been lightly edited and annotated for length and clarity.

What are the headlines to you out of today’s new Brown poll?

The headline out of this poll is that Gina Raimondo is leading pretty good among likely voters in the Democratic primary. This is a fairly good lead, I think, within the margin of error.

Now, the lead narrows a bit – that is, her lead narrows a bit but she still leads – when you focus only on those people who tell us that they typically are Democrats. But she still leads. But the lead narrows.

What I’m suggesting here is that when you add in, say, independents who could perhaps vote in a Democratic primary, her lead increases. So I think that’s one thing.


Brown U. Poll: Raimondo leads Taveras in Dem gov primary

October 9th, 2013 at 9:20 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo has the early advantage over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in next year’s Democratic primary for governor, but Taveras is a stronger candidate against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Brown University.

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Top Chafee aide Richard Licht eyes Superior Court judgeship

October 3rd, 2013 at 12:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Richard Licht, director of the R.I. Department of Administration since Gov. Lincoln Chafee took office and a prominent Democratic politician, has asked the R.I. Ethics Commission to examine whether he can seek “an appointment to the Rhode Island Superior Court.”

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Unions taking steps to prepare for RI pension suit settlement

September 25th, 2013 at 12:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State and local government unions hope to start spreading the word this fall about a successful settlement to end their lawsuit challenging Rhode Island’s landmark 2011 pension law without a trial, a labor leader has revealed.

“A subcommittee of the plaintiff groups has been formed to begin to discuss member communications with the expectation that a successful conclusion to negotiations, if achieved, will allow us to begin to inform our members,” Roger Boudreau, president of the Rhode Island American Federation of Teachers’ retirees chapter and a member of the state Retirement Board, wrote in a member newsletter.

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• Related: Lawyers brief judge for 7th time on RI pension lawsuit talks (Sept. 5)

Watch Newsmakers: Governor Lincoln Chafee

September 22nd, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Joe Paolino throwing $500-a-head fundraiser for Mayor Taveras

September 17th, 2013 at 6:53 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

A former mayor of Providence who ran unsuccessfully for governor is raising money for Mayor Angel Taveras as he gears up to run for the state’s top job in 2014.

No, not Buddy.

Joseph Paolino, who ran Rhode Island’s capital city from 1984 until 1990 before losing a Democratic primary for governor to Bruce Sundlun, is hosting a $500-a-head fundraiser for Taveras at Circe, the popular downtown restaurant located two blocks from Paolino’s real estate business. (more…)

SEC is investigating 38 Studios deal; EDC won’t provide details

September 10th, 2013 at 6:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the $75-million taxpayer-backed loan that the R.I. Economic Development Corporation gave to Curt Schilling’s failed video-game startup 38 Studios, has learned.

The SEC’s 38 Studios probe, which has not been previously reported, is the latest twist in the ongoing saga of how former Gov. Don Carcieri’s expensive bet on the one-time Red Sox ace ended with the company’s spectacular public collapse in May 2012.

The EDC hired attorneys from the law firm Cohen & Gresser LLP to help respond to the SEC’s staff over a five-month period last fall and winter, according to documents obtained by filing a request under the Access to Public Records Act.

EDC spokeswoman Melissa Czerwein confirmed that lawyers from Cohen & Gresser “were retained based on their expertise in relation to an inquiry from the SEC.”


Watch Newsmakers: Political roundtable on Chafee and 2014

September 8th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site