Happy Saturday! My weekend column for WPRI.com is here. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Here are some highlights:
1. The 1st Congressional District race may not have any big names declared yet, but don’t be fooled – it’s well under way behind the scenes. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos is expected to become the first prominent Democrat to enter the race on Monday. One reason for her decision: she needs to begin fundraising fast, with just $488 in her campaign account plus almost $150,000 in outstanding personal loans. Meanwhile, Joe Shekarchi and Helena Foulkes are both having active discussions about whether to run. Shekarchi, who padded his $1.7 million campaign war chest at a Washington fundraiser on Wednesday, would love to be in Congress, but is he prepared to give up his current power as House speaker and wind down his lucrative law practice? Foulkes is getting encouragement from Nancy Pelosi but is widely assumed to have her sights set on another gubernatorial bid in 2026. White House official Gabe Amo hasn’t ruled out a campaign, and Senate Education Committee Chair Sandra Cano is “seriously considering a run” and “getting very close” to a decision.
2. The urgent need to address pandemic-related learning loss and help kids get on track has been talked about a lot, but how much is that rhetoric turning into action? Target 12 has discovered that nearly three dozen Providence school district students with developmental delays aren’t receiving crucial educational support required under federal law. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green acknowledges the problem but says the state-controlled district just can’t find enough trained teachers to do the work – even with $120 million of federal relief money available. A trio of state senators are calling on the General Assembly to take action to fix what they describe as a broken system.
3. Personnel shortages seem to be straining essential services everywhere you look. Another example is pediatricians – as my colleague Adriana Rozas Rivera reported this week, fewer and fewer people are willing to go into the field.
4. Eye on Congress: Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined just 12 of their fellow Senate Democrats in voting to uphold D.C.’s controversial new criminal code, the same day the GOP bought digital ads attacking Seth Magaziner for the same position; the senators said they partly wanted to be “a unified delegation.” A New York Times story on Whitehouse’s plan to use the Budget Committee chairmanship to address climate change included notably positive quotes about him from GOP fossil-fuel consultant Frank Maisano. Jake Auchincloss was the only one among Southeast New England’s four House Democrats who voted in favor of removing U.S. troops from Syria; Magaziner, David Cicilline, and Bill Keating voted to keep them there.
5. Frank Corrente, one of the key figures in the Plunder Dome scandal that brought down Buddy Cianci, has died at the age of 94. Our Tim White interviewed retired Projo reporter Mike Stanton, who literally wrote the book on Cianci, for a Corrente obituary that aired Thursday night.