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  • April 18, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Lincoln Chafee takes to the YouTubes in a bid to save his struggling budget proposal. It's a sort of local version of Barack Obama's push to "win the future" - without quite the same rhetorical flourishes.

  • April 14, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed is putting the media on alert that she'll be speaking about Governor Chafee's sales tax plan when the Senate Finance Committee convenes at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal. You can guess what that means.

  • April 14, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    I've got a cover story in today's Phoenix about Governor Lincoln Chafee's first 100 days. I was struck, in reporting this piece, on the divide between Chafee's conciliatory approach - work with the unions, pursue a sales tax expansion over steep cuts, try to woo the legislature - and the more hard-line approach of other governors: high-profile Republicans like Wisconsin's Scott Walker, yes, but even Democrats like New York's Andrew Cuomo.

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  • April 08, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Lincoln Chafee didn't fare so well in the latest Brown University public opinion poll, with just 32 percent of voters saying he is doing an "excellent" or "good" job and 56 percent saying he is doing "only fair" or "poor."

    Of course, this isn't a great time to be a politician. So here at N4N, we thought it might be instructive to compare Chafee's approval rating to that of other governors around the country - a thoroughly unscientific sampling of some regional governors and some prominent national ones.

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  • March 24, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    A new, wide-ranging Brown University poll is out. Among the highlights: mixed views on Governor Chafee's sales tax proposal (lowering the rate from 7 to 6 percent, adding a 1 percent tax on some items, expanding the number of items to be taxed), poor approval ratings for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative David Cicilline, and solid support for organized labor (Wisconsin, ye seem so far away).

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  • March 11, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Lincoln Chafee is promising comprehensive pension reform later this legislative session. It looks like he could have his work cut out for him.

    Last year, the Pew Center on the States graded the states' pension system - based, in part, on the funding ratio in each state. Standard accounting practices say a pension fund should be at least 80 percent funded.

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  • March 10, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee ended his talk-radio ban today, popping in on Dan Yorke and suggesting that he never really intended a ban of any length. The administration, he argued, was just trying to get its feet on the ground in its first few months. He also suggested the controversy got caught up in - and magnified by - the Arizona shootings.

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  • March 08, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    As details of the governor's proposed budget start to leak out, a mixed reaction in the upper reaches of the General Assembly.

    Chafee's proposal to lower the sales tax rate from 7 to 6 percent, while broadening the items covered, has some appeal - the 1 percent drop can be sold to the public, perhaps, even if more items are covered.

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  • March 01, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee's nominee for chairman of the state school board, George Caruolo, did little to ease the anxiety of the school reform crowd with an interview that appeared on the front page of the Providence Journal today.

    Caruolo's call for a pragmatic approach - for a slowing down of the relentless reform push of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist - puts him firmly in line with the governor who nominated him.

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  • February 01, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    I've spoken with some in the education reform crowd - all strong supporters of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist - about Chafee's picks for the Board of Regents. Their official posture is wait-and-see. And there is even a glimmer of hope that Caruolo, a supporter of charter schools in the past, will give the reform push a fair shake.

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  • January 11, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    ABC radio and Politico are among the national outlets that have picked up the story on Governor Lincoln Chafee's ban on talk-radio appearances. The administration is taking particular flak for spokesman Mike Trainor's comments that the governor does not want to offer succor to "ratings-driven, for-profit programming."

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  • January 10, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    And the battle is joined. The National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island, local branch of a national organization opposing same-sex marriage, will launch a television advertising campaign tomorrow.

    NOM-RI is announcing the campaign with some sharp words for new Governor Lincoln Chafee, a same-sex marriage supporter whose election has significantly boosted the prospects of passage of a gay marriage bill.

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  • January 10, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Late last week, it was starting to look like Governor Chafee - highly critical of the Economic Development Corporation during the campaign - might re-appoint executive director Keith Stokes. This morning, Chafee spokesman Mike Trainor confirmed the appointment.

    This move is sure to play well in a private sector that has a wary view of the new governor.

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  • January 07, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee's office confirms that the governor met yesterday with Keith Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, to discuss his future and the direction of the agency.

    No word, yet, on whether Stokes will remain as EDC chief. But Stokes is telling people the meeting went well.

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  • January 04, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    The headline from Governor Lincoln Chafee's inaugural address: a forceful call for the legalization of gay marriage. The issue was one of the only specific policy points he mentioned in the speech.

    As I wrote in last week's issue of the Phoenix, the gay marriage question will ultimately be settled in the state Senate.

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