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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, December 13, 2013


HOT: Charles Lombardi

Every Friday, Dan Lawlor breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Rhode Island politics. Check out who made the lists this week.



Charles Lombardi/North Providence - Good news in Centredale! After a depressing decade that saw numerous North Providence officials tried and jailed for corruption, Mayor Lombardi has been focused on reform- balancing the budget and maintaining quality services. The hard work of the Mayor and his team paid off- Standard and Poor's recently upgraded the town's bond rating to A. Kudos!

Angela Romans/Annenberg Institute - The former top Education Aide to Mayor Angel Taveras and current fellow at Brown University's Annenberg Institute for School Reform, has sparked debate with her new piece in Quartz, the digital magazine published by the Atlantic. Romans writes, "I have heard and seen countless stories of guidance counselors, teachers, and parents counseling poor students to lower their college-going sights... When I hear adults advocating for more vocational tracking and training for young people, they are usually well-educated, upper middle class professionals... the problem is that they are having this conversation solely about other people's kids, not theirs."

Lincoln Chafee/Governor- As Eco RI reports, Rhode Island has joined eight East Coast states to petition the EPA "to require upwind states to reduce air pollution within their borders, which causes asthma attacks, respiratory disease and other public health problems downwind." The Governor has said, “Despite aggressive state and regional efforts to reduce ozone-causing emissions within our borders, Rhode Islanders still face bad air days each and every summer because of air pollutants from upwind states."

Young Republicans - More visits like the recent YR stop at the RI Latino PAC fundraiser (which included Attorney General candidate Dawson Hodgson and State Representative candidate Ana Santana) are a good step toward a bigger, more responsive, more diverse RI GOP. Regular outreach to different communities in RI- from LGBT to the NAACP - will energize the party, engage new voters, and win elections. As Anna Cano Morales has said in the past, "Latino students are mainstream. We are Rhode Island’s future workforce.” The GOP needs to speak to the future, or it will stay a functional third party in the General Assembly.

Rev. James Ford/First Unitarian - According to the Providence Business News, the Unitarian Universalist Association, a group of over one thousand liberal religious congregations, will be boycotting the Renaissance Hotel during the Association's General Assembly, held in Providence this June. Announcing the Renaissance boycott, Rev Ford said, "Sadly these otherwise good people have fallen short by refusing to engage in dialogue with the union ... and refusing to provide a living wage. We will stand with you until justice is achieved."

Phoebe Blake/cityWalk - Blake worked with a team a few years back to develop a plan to connect India Point Park with Roger Williams Park via Elmwood Avenue, creating a series of tree-lined streets and public spaces. cityWalk embraces a vision for city parks that includes, but does not end with, downtown, and connects people and places from Fox Point to Reservoir. It's 2013- we need to move beyond empty parking lots, uneven sidewalks, and bent fences in the neighborhoods. Let's make change happen.



Kimball Brace - The redistricting consultant for Rhode Island was featured on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, where he described gerrymandering- excuse me, redistricting- as an "art." As GoLocal reported , Brace was "paid at least $1,040,494 for his efforts, with the bulk of the money ($692,420) coming from his work altering the Congressional and General Assembly districts." Needless to say, Brace's commission was much bigger than the salary of any artists at New Urban Arts or AS220.

Gordon Fox and Teresa Paiva Weed - Thanks to election law from the General Assembly, the filing period to declare candidacy for special elections is two days, not three.  If you live in Woonsocket, and want to run to fill Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's old seat, get your paperwork by 4pm! If not, call your rep to have fair filing periods across the board. 

Dr. Robert A DeRobbio/Urban League- The Board President of the Urban League, and his whole team, need to do some serious mission-based budgeting. Urban League has a great history, and has done much good. Today,the organization is millions in debt, has had repeated difficulty maintaining basic services at its homeless shelter (often a site for the most difficult and needy homeless), and recently was unable to make full payroll. Before asking for more city money, what's the plan to improve methods and results?

Debt and Quahogs - As GoLocal's Kate Nagle reports, "The average Rhode Island graduate who borrowed to get a bachelor's degree in the class of 2012 has a student loan debt of $31,156...which ranks Rhode Island #5 for the highest student loan debt average in the country." Depressing, but not everything: " The Project on Student Debt reported that the proportion of Rhode Island students with debt for 2012 to be 69%, which is the sixth highest amount in the nation."

Arlene Hicks and the Exeter Town Council - Tomorrow voters in Washington County town will decide whether or not to recall Town Councilors William Monahan, Robert Johnson, Calvin Ellis and Town Council President Arlene Hicks. The opposition responded to the council's suggestion to have the state Attorney General, not the local clerk, process gun permits. According to the Associated Press' David Klepper, "State election officials can only remember a single recall election in state history — the successful 2007 recall of a town council president in Smithfield after residents learned that years before, he had testified in court to bribing officials in Providence and Pawtucket."

Jim "NSA" Langevin - The latest round of NSA revelations is a disappointing reminder of the vast spy network that the Congressman supports. According the Washington Post's Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani , "The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable."

Related Slideshow:
Rhode Island’s Most and Least Popular Politicians

The statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in October 2013 is the latest public opinion survey by the Ivy League institution.  

See how elected officials fared in Brown polls in years past BELOW.  

Prev Next

Mayor Angel Taveras


October 2013: 63.9%

October 2012: 65.6%

December 2011: 51.7%

Prev Next

Treasurer Gina Raimondo


October 2013: 54.2%

October 2012: 58.7%

December 2011: 52%

Prev Next

Senator Jack Reed


October 2013: 51.6%

October 2012: 58.5%

December 2011: 46.4%

July 2010: 55.6%

December 2009: 56.3%

September 2008: 68%

September 2007: 61%

September 2006: 70%

September 2005: 65%

June 2004: 63%

September 2003: 62%

Prev Next

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse


October 2013: 39.4%

October 2012: 45.4%

December 2011: 33.6%

July 2010: 42.8%

December 2009: 43.7%

September 2008: 46.2%

September 2007: 41%

Prev Next

Rep. Jim Langevin


October 2013: 38.7%

October 2012: 41%

December 2011: 41.9%

July 2010: 54.6%

December 2009: 46%

September 2008: 51.2%

September 2007: 55%

September 2006: 56%

September 2005: 62%

June 2004: 56%

September 2003: 56%

Prev Next

AG Peter Kilmartin



October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 35.8%

December 2011: 34.5%

July 2010: 20.2%

Prev Next

Sec. of State Mollis


October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 28.6%

December 2011: 25.6%

July 2010: 32.6%

December 2009: 22.6%

September 2008: 24.1%

September 2007: 23%

Prev Next

Lt. Governor Roberts


October 2013: 32.9%

October 2012: 37.5%

December 2011: 32.8%

July 2010: 33.5%

December 2009: 22.4%

September 2008: 24%

September 2007: 37%

Prev Next

Rep. David Cicilline


October 2013: 26.6%

October 2012: 29.7%

December 2011: 24.3%

*July 2010: 40.3%

*December 2009: 40.8%

*September 2008: 46%

*September 2007: 64%

*September 2006: 58%

*September 2005: 60%

*June 2004: 61%

*September 2003: 67%

* As Mayor of Providence

Prev Next

Sen. President Paiva-Weed

October 2013: 23.5%

October 2012: 26.2%

December 2011: 24.1%

July 2010: 21.4%

December 2009: 19%


Prev Next

Governor Lincoln Chafee

October 2013: 23%

October 2012: 28.5%

December 2011: 27.4%

*September 2006: 51%

*September 2005: 54%

*June 2004: 56%

*September 2003: 50%

* As U.S. Senator

Prev Next

Speaker Fox


October 2013: 20.5%

October 2012: 18.3%

December 2011: 25.9%

July 2010: 20.2%


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Killary Klinton

HOT: Maybe Mayor Lombardi should run for governor? Not sure even Charlie could save the state with Fox and Weed in charge but we could hope.

NEVER HOT: As for Jimmy Langevin, he's a useless piece of garbage, following Pelosi and Obama around like a new born puppy. The NSA is only one issue that should get him booted out of office, but this is Rhode Island. If you are a corrupt Democrat, you are pretty much set for life.


Remember Benghazi 2012 when Clinton told the families of the four dead Americans that a YouTube video was the reason for their murders.

(Living rent free in Sammy "the communist" Arizona's head)

Brandon Hawk

Dan, nice recognition for the Young Republicans. Good examples for the future of the party. Mark Smiley may have misfired on the gun battle, but kudos to him for getting the young kids on the right track.

David Beagle

Not hot, any weak kneed democrat that dismisses talk radio 99% of the time, but surface to lambaste a talk radio show host when his words ring too close to home, while an election is right around the corner.

Jonathan Flynn

Ms. Klinton, let's not forget President Reagan allowing 241 service men to be crushed to death in their beds.

"Suicide bombers detonated each of the truck bombs. In the attack on the building serving as a barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (Battalion Landing Team - BLT 1/8), the death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since World War II's Battle of Iwo Jima, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II.[2] Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast. Thirteen later died of their injuries, and they are numbered among the total number who died.

Eventually, it became evident that the U.S. would launch no serious and immediate retaliatory attack for the Beirut Marine barracks bombing beyond naval barrages and air strikes used to interdict continuous harassing fire from Druze and Syrian missile and artillery sites.[86] A true retaliatory strike failed to materialize because there was a rift in White House counsel (largely between George P. Shultz of the Department of State and Weinberger of the Department of Defense) and because the extant evidence pointing at Iranian involvement was circumstantial at that time: the Islamic Jihad, which took credit for the attack, was a front for Hezbollah which was acting as a proxy for Iran; thus, affording Iran plausible deniability.[7] Secretary of State Schultz was an advocate for retaliaton, but Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was against retaliation. Secretary of Defense Weinberger, in a September 2001 FRONTLINE interview, reaffirmed that rift in White House counsel when he claimed that the U.S. still lacks "'actual knowledge of who did the bombing' of the Marine barracks."

Jonathan Flynn

I love it when the Astronomy Expert writes the political column.

G Godot

I am sure RI Republicans will do very well when they sound JUST like Dumbocrats, only younger and more attractive. It'll be like an election for high school class president. May the most popular ex- Little League coach, cop, or Prom queen win. (and join in the dividing of the pie)

G Godot

In this third world backwater, in an election contest bwtween a dumbocrat and a RINO who sounds just like a dumbocrat, most often the dumocrat will win. Ya can't out spemd the big spenders and call yourself a Republican.

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