Happy Saturday! I’ve got another weekend column for WPRI.com. Send your thoughts, tips, and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
1. It’s been almost two weeks since David Cicilline resigned, but no major Democrats have stepped up to run for his seat. However, Joe Shekarchi has emerged as a potential candidate after initially being seen as unlikely to run. Shekarchi is serious about the possibility and will be in D.C. for a fundraiser with the congressional delegation. Helena Foulkes is still considering a bid, and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos is said to be leaning toward running. Other potential candidates are watching and waiting to see what happens. Mayor Don Grebien is considering a run and has support in the Blackstone Valley and among other mayors.
2. Some people were surprised when Speaker Shekarchi announced his potential candidacy since he ruled himself out for the 2nd District race last year. However, he revealed that he had a longer deliberation period for that announcement and is giving the 1st District race serious consideration. He traveled to D.C. regularly, has ties to members of the delegation, and wants to work in federal politics. The only issue is that he doesn’t live in the district and would have to give up his General Assembly seat and the speakership.
3. The date for the 1st District special election is still unknown. Secretary of State Gregg Amore suggested the primary could be in August or September, but the Board of Elections and local canvassers are still discussing the best course of action.
4. Speaker Shekarchi proposed 14 bills to stimulate Rhode Island’s housing production.
5. McCoy Stadium will be demolished in the coming months to make way for a new high school, but there will be a farewell celebration. Mayor Grebien said there may be an auction of memorabilia such as ballpark seats.
6. Providence Mayor Brett Smiley is attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter leadership meeting in Florida, followed by the Aspen Ideas climate conference. He updated locals about the redevelopment of the Superman building and is waiting to see the start of construction.
7. Gina Raimondo marked her second anniversary of Senate confirmation by introducing the CHIPS Act to improve U.S. semiconductor production. She also required companies to provide childcare in exchange for federal support and received criticism from some Republicans for her ‘woke’ agenda.
8. Jack Reed and Liz Perik attended Joni Mitchell’s Gershwin Prize concert, while Sheldon Whitehouse attended the Our Ocean Conference in Panama City. The National Republican Congressional Committee criticized Seth Magaziner’s vote, and Jake Auchincloss shrugged off a rebuke from China. Bill Keating urged cooperation to secure federal funding for the Cape Cod bridges.
9. Electric Boat’s annual legislative update will be held on Monday, with information about the submarine industry and the recent Pentagon contract to build the “Columbia” class. Jack Reed has been influential in securing defense funding.