This is our regular column that wraps up some of the top political stories of the moment.

This year will be among Rhode Island’s most active and fiery elections, from local races to crowded gubernatorial and U.S. House of Representative campaigns.  This is our regular column that wraps up some of the top political stories of the moment.

Foulkes unveils $1 billion education initiative to combat COVID learning loss

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Helena Buonanno Foulkes has unveiled a billion dollar “plan to combat COVID learning loss and set Rhode Island public schools up for success in the long term. 

You shouldn’t have to be lucky or wealthy to get a great education in Rhode Island, but for decades, we’ve failed to provide our public schools with the resources and support they need to be successful,” Foulkes said. “The most important thing we can do to make Rhode Island more equitable and create a thriving economy is to invest in our students and teachers. My plan will fund proven programs and strategies to combat COVID learning loss and get us on the path to finally giving all our kids the world-class public education they deserve.” 

She is wants to invest nearly $500 million from the American Rescue Plan money to expand summer learning opportunities, making sure every student in the state has access to before- and after-school learning, offering small group tutoring for those who need the most support, and adding teaching assistants to every K-3 classroom. 

Over what she hopes will be her first term as governor, Foulkes said she would budget another $300 million in public education, fully funding universal Pre-K and creating a new state program to provide public pre-school for three-year-olds. 

She is also proposing changes to the state funding formula to provide enough resources for special education and multilingual learning, offer financial support to completely cover the cost of MLL certification for any public-school teacher, and dedicate state funding for dual language and community school models. 

The full plan, including costs, is available on Foulkes campaign website: helenafoulkes.com/education

Foulkes is one of five candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination. The field also includes Gov. Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician/community activist Luis Daniel Munoz.

McKee wins two labor union endorsements

Gov. Dan McKee today was endorsed for reelection by the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council, combined representing for than 20,000 Rhode Island workers.

” Governor McKee has demonstrated the intellect, character, and shared vision to revitalize and reinvigorate our state toward socio-economic recovery, sustainability and vitality for all,” said Armand Sabitoni, LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer & New England Regional Manager. “He will continue to roll up his sleeves and get the job done for Rhode Island.”

“Since Governor McKee came into office in the middle of an historic pandemic, the Governor has delivered for Rhode Island, and in particular, the working men and women of the RIBCTC. Under his leadership, Rhode Island has achieved the highest vaccination rate in the nation keeping our economy going, including keeping our essential tradesmen and women on track,” said Michael Sabitoni, President of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council & Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer of the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council. “We know he will continue to invest in our schools, roads, and bridges, housing, and other vital infrastructure – both public and private – creating family-supporting union jobs and a greener economy well into the 21st Century.” 

“We know he will keep our members working by continuing to invest in our schools, roads, bridges, green energy initiatives, and affordable housing,” said Scott Duhamel, Secretary-Treasurer of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council.

Teamsters endorse Magaziner for Congress


Teamsters Local 251 has endorsed General Treasurer and congressional candidate Seth Magaziner. In recent weeks Magaziner has been endorsed by several unions, including the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.

“Treasurer Magaziner has been a consistent advocate and supporter of hardworking Rhode Islanders during his time in office,” said Teamsters Local 251 Principal Officer Matthew Taibi. “Seth supports the right to organize for better working conditions and has stood in solidarity with our members on picket lines. We are supporting Seth because he always fights for working families and that is the kind of leader Rhode Island needs in Washington.”

Magaziner has been previously endorsed by the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, Ironworkers Local 37, Unite Here Local 26, Carpenters 330, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51, Sheetmetal Workers Local 17 and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. 

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.