A chaotic campaign helped save Rhode Island’s House speaker in 2016. Now it threatens to end his political career

“I used to joke with people, ‘Are you sure you want to be seen with me? Because the speaker could be watching.’” Frias recalled in an interview last week.

Turns out, even that was true.

Last week’s criminal trial of former Mattiello campaign consultant Jeffrey T. Britt was meant to determine whether Britt laundered $1,000 to help pay for a postcard mailer designed to boost Mattiello during that 2016 campaign. But it also offered a rare glimpse into the win-at-all-costs culture of politics, as witness after witness detailed the strategies employed to help defeat Frias.

Those tactics included surveillance conducted on Frias by a semi-retired private investigator who was seeking a state job, a mail-ballot operation run by a veteran operative who had previous tours of political duty with some of the state’s most corrupt politicians, and the mailer that Britt orchestrated to try to convince a handful of Republicans to back the Democrat in the race.

In the end, Mattiello won the race by 85 votes, a razor-thin margin where almost any maneuver could have tipped the scales in the speaker’s favor.

Now, with early voting scheduled to begin Wednesday, Mattiello’s back is against the wall again as he faces a serious challenge from Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, the Republican wife of Cranston’s popular mayor, who is eager to capitalize on the seedy details that came out during last week’s trial.

But Mattiello, who was never charged, testified that he knew nothing about the controversial mailer until it hit mailboxes in his district, and a key campaign aide described the mailer as “Jeff Britt’s project.”

The judge has said he won’t issue a ruling for five to seven weeks. So that means voters will render their decision first, in the Nov. 3 general election.

“I think it clearly crossed a line,” Providence College political science professor Adam Myers said of Mattiello’s campaign operation in 2016. “But the question is whether the public’s opinion of Rhode Island politics is already so jaded that coverage of the trial won’t change any minds.”

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If it’s possible for the most powerful politician in the state to be an underdog in his own backyard, hindsight suggests that’s where Mattiello – the man whose rock-solid support within the Rhode Island House of Representatives gives him almost dictatorial power over any piece of legislation – was sitting four years ago.

House District 15 includes fewer than 11,000 registered voters, the majority of whom are unaffiliated but are considered far more conservative than residents of the rest of Cranston and almost every other city in the state. Mattiello frequently draws criticism from more liberal members of his party, but his political values – pro-business, pro-life, pro-National Rifle Association – are largely in line with the voters who have sent him back to the State House every two years since 2007.

But in 2016, simply being a conservative Democrat wasn’t going to be enough to guarantee Mattiello a victory. Cranston’s Republican Mayor, Allan W. Fung,

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Rhode Island Homeowners: Smart Home Appliances For Your Kitchen

A smart home is something every Rhode Island homeowner has heard of. But have you been taking advantage of the many ways that technology can make your home smarter? A good place to start is your kitchen.

There are many exciting and new appliances on the market to help get you organized and keep your kitchen running smoothly. Here are five appliances that can help you work smarter in the kitchen:

1. Interactive Refrigerators

Manufacturers such as Samsung have developed a smart refrigerator that’s interactive for the entire family. Not only will you be able to keep food cool at just the right temperature, you can keep track of expiry dates. You can also use the LCD screen on the outside of the fridge as a family calendar and message center and to watch the latest episode of your favorite television show.

Another benefit of a smart fridge is that it’s easy to plan meals. You can check the contents of your fridge no matter where you are using the smartphone app, stocking up on ingredients for a meal before you arrive home.

2. Smart Ovens

A smart oven will make your life much simpler. No more opening the oven door to check if chicken is roasted to the right temperature. The oven does it for you! Smart ovens are also great for baking, making it easy for you to control the temperature and achieve perfect results when making pastry and pies. Even better, you can use the smartphone app to control and regulate oven functions when you’re not at home. This means that you can preheat the oven when you’re on the way home, making it faster for you to get dinner on the table.

Do you always forget to put coffee, paper towels, and other kitchen supplies on your shopping list? Using WiFi connected buttons, you can easily and quickly reorder these much-used items and have them shipped directly to your doorstep. Many manufacturers are even integrating these handy virtual buttons into appliances, ensuring you don’t run out of dish or laundry soap.

4. WiFi Coffee Makers

Mornings are easy when you let your smart appliance brew coffee for you. Indulge in a remote coffee making system, such as the Behmor Brewer, and let the smartphone app control the brewing process. It’s convenient and easy to preset the controls so coffee is ready for you when it’s time to start your day.

With a bigger budget you can take coffee brewing to a whole new level by investing in advanced smart kitchen technology, such as GE’s French door refrigerator with Keurig’s integrated brewing system. Use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to let the fridge know when it’s time to start heating water for your cup of coffee.

5. Convenient Meal Prep

Make meal prep easier with the sous vide smart appliance. The sous vide process is all about vacuum sealing food in a bag and slow cooking in a hot water bath. A smartphone app not only has

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In Bid for 11th Term, US Rep Langevin to Face Robert Lancia | Rhode Island News

By DAVID KLEPPER, Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin will face former state lawmaker Robert Lancia this November in his bid for an 11th term representing Rhode Island’s heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional district.

Langevin beat back a late challenge from Dylan Conley to win Tuesday’s Democratic primary. On the Republican side, Lancia defeated Donald Robbio for the right to challenge Langevin.

Results from several other races on Tuesday’s ballot aren’t expected until Wednesday at the earliest to give election officials time to collect and tabulate mail ballots from drop boxes stationed around the state.

Langevin’s contest was the night’s highest-profile race. The 56-year-old congressman, who became the first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives when he was elected in 2000, defeated his fellow Democrat Conley, a 33-year-old lawyer who chairs the Providence Board of Licenses and entered the race in June.

Langevin has focused on national security, health care, cybersecurity and elections security during his congressional tenure. He is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he chairs the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.

Langevin, who served as Rhode Island’s secretary of state before winning election to Congress, stopped short of claiming victory Tuesday night, saying he would wait for a final result.

“Although we are encouraged by the numbers that have been reported, we eagerly await the final vote tally and express our immense gratitude to all who are working to process ballots in an accurate and timely manner,” he said in a statement.

Langevin was 16 when he was injured while working with the Warwick Police Department in the Boy Scout Explorer program, when a gun accidentally discharged and a bullet struck him, leaving him paralyzed.

Lancia, a former elementary school teacher, ran for the U.S. House after losing reelection to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 2018. The 66-year-old faced Robbio, an Air Force veteran and advocate for the elderly.

A self-described “libertarian Republican,” Lancia pledged to support tax breaks for donations to private and parochial schools catering to students “who can’t get their needs met” in a public school.

Rhode Island Republican Party chair Sue Cienki called Lancia, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, “an Energizer bunny” who worked tirelessly to advance GOP priorities in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.

Voters were also choosing candidates for mayor in Cranston, Warwick, Pawtucket and Central Falls. In Cranston, Kenneth Hopkins beat Michael Farina in the Republican mayoral primary. Other races were too close to call.

In state legislative races, state Rep. Moira Walsh conceded defeat to high school principal Nathan Biah in a Democratic primary in Providence. Known for championing liberal causes, Walsh was a vocal critic of the House’s Democratic leaders. Shortly after she took office in 2017 she rebuked other lawmakers for drinking in the Statehouse.

Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline had no primary opponent Tuesday in his reelection bid in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed also sailed past the

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