PROVIDENCE, RI – State representative Robert Watson has been summoned to appear in district court this week to answer to a charge of marijuana possession. His arrest a week ago yesterday in South Kingstown was his second drug charge in less than a year. Rhode Island Public Radio headed to East Greenwich to find out what his constituents in East Greenwich think of his brushes with the law.
East Greenwich residents are divided over whether State Representative Robert Watson should step down over his pending drug charge. In addition to the South Kingstown marijuana possession allegation, he's awaiting trial in Connecticut for allegedly driving under the influence. East Greenwich resident Steve Villari says it's not for him to judge Watson.
"I think it's his own conviction," Villari says. "I think he's going to have to make those decisions himself. I don't object to him staying in office. I really don't."
R.J. Fournier sees things differently.
"He should step aside," Fournier insists. "I just think it sets a bad example for the kids. These guys are really role models for our kids, or they should be."
Craig Butzbach admitted to mixed feelings on the matter of lawmakers who wind up on the wrong side of the law.
"We had Patrick Kennedy for years who had substance abuse problems and he was allowed to stay there forever," Butzbach says. "So I think until Bob Watson is convicted of a crime then he should be able to stay, but they all should step down because it is a problem and it's taking away from the job they're doing."
Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. email@example.com.