Rhode Island’s Ten Most Divisive - 2016
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
GoLocalProv News Team
At a time when most Rhode Islanders think the state is “on the wrong track,” residents are impassioned and often inflamed. In a year in which Donald Trump won the GOP primary and Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary, it is clear it is a period of political unrest in Rhode Island. Only 6.5% of Rhode Islanders believe Gina Raimondo is doing an "excellent" job as Governor, according to a Brown University poll that is criticized for overweighting with Democrats. The argument is her approval rating may be much lower.
The last two Governors won their respective General Election battles with approximately 40 percent of the popular vote. No mandates there.
Needless to say this is not a time of great consensus and some leading Rhode Islanders fan the proverbial political flame.
GoLocal looks at the ten personalities who generate the greatest emotion.
They are loved and hated.
By the very nature of the beast, being a party Chair in any state is divisive. But when the party you head has massive schisms then it is all the worse. Sometimes even the Republicans dislike you.
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
The Harvard educated, former Major League Baseball player heads the most influential Conservative think tank in RI. Their rankings of legislators infuriates many a Democrat.
Mayor of Providence
Won the Mayor’s office in a split Democratic primary and then narrowly beat a two-time convicted felon in a close race. His base, the East Side of Providence, has been wildly disappointed in his handling of issues of crime, the city’s fragile budget, and a miscue with the Providence firefighters that may cost the city millions.
38 Studios Lobbyist/Consultant
The lawyer and close associate of now-jailed former Speaker of the House Gordon Fox is considered by many to be the principle architect of the 38 Studios debacle.
GOP Candidate for Governor
The businessman started his own political party -- the Moderate Party and then switched to be a Republican to run for Governor. Lost in a close primary to Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. Has been the champion for eliminating the Master Lever and for ethics reform - two wins.
Congressman, 1st Congression Dsitrict, Democrat
The former Mayor of Providence is often blamed for his lack of attention to the city's economic collapse. Came back from a 15% approval rate in the 2012 campaign to beat former head of the State Police Brendan Doherty. But a little known and unfunded Matt Fecteau scored nearly 40% of the primary vote in 2014 uncovering Cicilline's vulverability again.
Speaker of the House
Being Speaker in Rhode Island is a lightning rod position. Mattiello has scored points with the public and the media for being responsive to questions and the press - all very un-speaker like and refreshing. Will finish his first two years with two bill ethic reforms wins -- elimination of the master lever and passage of major ethics reform.
GOP State Representative
No legislator sparks more response than the feisty legislator. From her attacks on the Convention Center to her attempt to block the RhodeWorks program, she is the thorn in the side of the leadership. The unveiling by GoLocal that she took legislative grants while criticizing them was a hit to her credibility.
WPRO, Talk Radio Host
He is the top talk show host in the Providence market. He has a standing boycott against him - now two plus years old. He is has been one of the leading voices in Rhode Island for Donald Trump. He may be the definition of divisive. Enough said.
Governor of Rhode Island
Won a three-way primary with less than 50% of the vote. Won the General Election with less than 50% of the vote. Ran as a strong pro-business, job producing governor, but has failed to deliver on jobs and has tripped over execution issues like the tourism campaign. Now questions have come up about her Chief-of-Staff overseeing Sports Fantasy legislation while his wife was being hired by DraftKings as a top executive.