Politics

Nesi’s Notes: May 14 | WPRI.com



Happy Saturday! Here’s one other version of my weekend column for WPRI.com — as at all times, ship your takes, ideas and trial balloons to tnesi@wpri.com and comply with me on Twitter and on Facebook.

1. Matt Brown is relentlessly on message as he makes his second bid to turn out to be Rhode Island’s governor. Appearing on this week’s Newsmakers, Brown hammered dwelling his theme: the State House established order is corrupt and failing, and the Brown-led slate of Rhode Island Political Cooperative candidates wish to transfer coverage sharply leftward on well being care, housing and power. “We’re running with a whole group of fantastic Rhode Islanders across the state, running for the legislature and municipal offices, to win a governing majority in this state so we can finally start to change things,” Brown mentioned. But he wouldn’t be drawn out on value estimates for his plans, saying solely that he’s assured the cash is there. So lengthy as Luis Daniel Muñoz stays within the Democratic major, Brown received’t be the one choice for left-wing voters. But the previous secretary of state has the next profile, in addition to the Co-op community behind him. He’s going to want that grassroots muscle to get his message out, since his marketing campaign had simply $79,000 available as of March 31, far lower than the “big three” of Dan McKee, Nellie Gorbea and Helena Foulkes. It’s true that one in three Democratic major voters forged a poll for Brown 4 years in the past — however what number of of them have been motivated by assist for Brown, slightly than hostility towards Gina Raimondo? We ought to get a greater sense quickly: WPRI 12 and Roger Williams University will launch our first 2022 ballot of Rhode Island voters this Tuesday at 5 p.m., giving the state its first impartial take a look at the place all 5 Democratic candidates for governor stand 4 months earlier than the first.

2. Matt Brown was extremely essential of Dan McKee all through the Newsmakers interview, flaying the incumbent over the whole lot from homelessness to ILO. At one level, Brown dropped this: “You know, we’re still six weeks out from the filing date. I would not be surprised if he does not run again.” Why? “Would somebody running again consider not showing up for a gubernatorial forum? We’ll see,” Brown mentioned. “But he does not seem engaged, does not seem focused, does not bring any urgency.” It can be disingenuous to say Brown is the one individual floating that chance — there was an surge of will-McKee-run chatter across the State House within the days after he quickly spurned the RIPEC discussion board. But there’s additionally loads of proof that McKee is critical about securing the Democratic nomination. He has a rising political workforce led by marketing campaign supervisor Brexton Isaacs that’s ramping up his political schedule, together with RSVP’ing to a different discussion board arising on May 27. He raised $427,000 within the final quarter, his largest three-month whole ever, and is sitting on $1.1 million. And like most politicians, McKee is aggressive by nature — he undoubtedly would really like the historical past books to point out he received the governor’s workplace in his personal proper.

3. Voters could begin paying extra consideration to the 2nd Congressional District major quickly as they start seeing TV adverts for one of many candidates: Democrat Sarah Morgenthau went on the air Friday with a industrial that highlights her opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade. Her marketing campaign is spending about $33,000 airing the spot on broadcast retailers over the subsequent week. No phrase but about when she’ll be joined on the air by rival Seth Magaziner, who picked up his seventeenth union endorsement this week and introduced the hiring of a area director, Mo Khan. Among the opposite Democrats, David Segal simply despatched out what seems to be the primary mailer of the first, a four-page letter going to roughly 50,000 voters. Omar Bah kicked off his underdog bid at an occasion Thursday night, whereas Joy Fox continues to cease at as many occasions as potential to up her visibility. (Michael Neary, the Democrat who was arrested in Ohio in March, formally dropped out Friday.) The new WPRI 12/RWU ballot popping out on Tuesday will embrace a primary take a look at which of the 2nd District Democrats begins out with an edge amongst major voters. On the Republican facet, Allan Fung dodged questions on particular abortion payments throughout a 12 News at 4 interview this week, whereas his major opponent Bob Lancia has been quiet in current days.

4. Don’t look now, however the Rhode Island Republican Party is beginning to flesh out a full slate of candidates for the 2022 election. Allan Fung is getting nationwide buzz within the 2nd Congressional District. Gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus is already closing in on $500,000 in promoting six months out (although she gained a major challenger this week in Jonathan Riccitelli). Jeann Lugo has been actively campaigning for lieutenant governor, and Chas Calenda has been doing the identical within the race for lawyer basic. James Lathrop, North Kingstown’s finance director, introduced this week he’ll search the treasurer’s job — making him at the moment the one candidate aside from Democrat James Diossa, because the wait continues for Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor to determine whether or not he’s leaping in.

5. State income is now on observe to beat projections by $580 million this 12 months and subsequent.

6. The fallout from Target 12’s investigation of state Rep. Carlos Tobon continued this week, with State House lawyer John Manni withdrawing as Tobon’s lawyer (following an edict from Speaker Shekarchi) and Tobon quietly updating his voter registration to acknowledge he lives at a distinct handle from the one he’s at all times used. Tobon was a no-show on the House all week, absent for the roll name on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; he was additionally unavailable for remark when contacted by The Valley Breeze. He is already going through a minimum of one opponent in House District 58, Cherie Cruz; she registered to vote in Pawtucket final Saturday, in accordance with the secretary of state’s workplace, however mentioned in a information launch she grew up within the metropolis. Another outstanding determine being named as a possible candidate for District 58 is Maribel Echeverry McLaughlin, president of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee. Asked Friday a few potential run, she advised me, “I am committed to continue my service to the city of Pawtucket and state of Rhode Island and am open-minded to any opportunities that would further my work.”

7. The Rhode Island Ethics Commission has an uncommon merchandise on its agenda for govt session this Tuesday: “Notification of initiation of Preliminary Investigation No. 2022-1.” Jason Gramitt, the fee’s govt director, mentioned the language signifies that he and his employees are wanting right into a Rhode Island official proactively — versus ready for somebody to file a criticism towards the individual — as a result of they “possess information that establishes a reasonable basis to believe that a person may have violated the provisions of the Code of Ethics.” Gramitt should report again to the fee inside 60 days on whether or not there’s cause to open a proper criticism. No phrase as regards to the preliminary investigation, however Gramitt mentioned the fee took the same step years in the past based mostly on revelations about then-Sen. John Celona, who ultimately pleaded responsible to federal corruption modifications.

8. Remember when Tufts Health Plan misplaced out on a $7 billion state Medicaid contract by submitting its bid two minutes late? It seems Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island tousled its bid, too, by submitting a clean CD — and now the state has scrapped your entire huge procurement.

9. Here’s a dispatch from my Target 12 colleague Eli Sherman: “While the FBI probe of the controversial ILO contract awarded by Governor McKee’s administration last year has become a hot topic across the political spectrum, the investigation has overshadowed a couple bills making their way through the General Assembly that aim to reform parts of the state’s procurement policies. Sen. Lou DiPalma and Rep. Patricia Serpa — who head their chambers’ respective oversight panels — have proposed identical legislation stemming from the ILO scandal, and the bills cleared the Senate this week. The changes are wonky, but essentially the legislation could help prevent an ILO-like contract from getting approval in the future. One of the bills would prohibit changing up the rules of the procurement midway through the process. The other strengthens language surrounding conflicts of interest. DiPalma, an outspoken critic of the ILO contract and McKee’s handling of the matter, cited the ‘recent controversial state contracts and purchases’ as the reason why these laws are necessary. ‘The public deserves transparency and assurances that every state contract or purchase agreement is made with the sole best interests of Rhode Island residents in mind,’ he said. The Senate bills now move to the House, where Serpa’s legislation is currently before the House State Government and Elections Committee.”

10. Turns out the LLC that owns the Superman constructing hasn’t been in “good standing” to do enterprise in Rhode Island for 5 years.

11. Here’s a dispatch from my Target 12 colleague Steph Machado: “Rhode Island could legalize recreational cannabis before the end of May. Committees in both the House and Senate on Friday evening scheduled votes for next week on a yet-to-be-seen amended version of the bill introduced back in March, which itself was a compromise between leaders of the two chambers. The scheduling of a vote signifies an agreement has been struck on key issues, including the structure of the proposed Cannabis Control Commission, as well as the process for expunging past marijuana convictions, which advocates have argued should be automatic. A Senate spokesperson said House and Senate leaders agreed on the changes and worked with Governor McKee’s office, but stopped short of saying they had reached consensus with the governor. (McKee supports legalization but had raised objections to the structure of the Cannabis Control Commission, arguing the proposed appointment process violates separation of powers.) The amended bill is expected to be released early next week in time for committee votes on Wednesday, with full votes by both chambers the following week. As currently written, the bill would legalize possession of marijuana right away, but cannabis sales would not be allowed until October.”

12. David Cicilline will quickly be capable of add one other title to his résumé: printed writer. The 1st District congressman has inked a cope with Twelve Books to write down a memoir about his time on Capitol Hill entitled “House on Fire: Fighting for Democracy in the Age of Political Arson.” It’s scheduled to be launched Aug. 30. (And no, Cicilline didn’t get an advance — these are barred underneath House ethics guidelines.)

13. Some Friday night time information: Governor McKee has nominated former state Rep. David Caprio to switch outgoing R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education Chairman Tim DelGiudice. Caprio was final within the information in 2014, when he stepped down as chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party over a scandal involving a state contract for a seaside concession stand; it will definitely led to an ethics high quality for then-Rep. Peter Palumbo. Asked whether or not that historical past was thought-about in choosing Caprio, a McKee spokesperson mentioned, “David is a lifelong Rhode Islander who will bring years of professional and philanthropic experience to this board. We look forward to his expertise as he furthers the board’s mission to shape the course of public education in Rhode Island.”

14. Tower developer Jason Fane has gotten yet one more extension from the 195 Commission.

15. The announcement by Care New England CEO James Fanale that he plans to retire early subsequent 12 months makes this an much more consequential second for the way forward for Rhode Island well being care. The Lifespan-CNE merger is lifeless. CNE nonetheless wants a brand new suitor. The state has an unprecedented amount of cash available. Voters are about to decide on the subsequent governor. And since Lifespan CEO Tim Babineau already introduced his exit, each of Rhode Island’s largest hospital teams will now be selecting new leaders to steer them via the steadiness of the 2020s.

16. Uh oh: Moody’s thinks dwelling costs within the Providence space are overvalued by 22%.

17. May is Mental Health Month, so let Brown’s Jackie Nesi (my cousin!) assist you discover a therapist.

18. Three hyperlinks for the musically minded … CBS Sunday Morning’s John Dickerson visits the Bob Dylan Center in TulsaTed Widmer in The New Yorker on misplaced Beatles bandmate Stuart SutcliffeNate Chinen reveals the invention of an unreleased 1958 Ella Fitzgerald live performance.

19. This week on Newsmakers — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown. Watch Sunday at 5:30 a.m. on WPRI 12 or 10 a.m. on Fox Providence, or pay attention on the radio Sundays at 6 p.m. on WPRO. You may subscribe to Newsmakers as a podcast on iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts). See you again right here subsequent Saturday.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/enterprise editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook




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