Hodgson Launches GOP Challenge Against AG Kilmartin

Jan 14, 2014

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Senator Dawson Hodgson (R-North Kingstown) launched a challenge Tuesday to Attorney General Peter Kilmartin by touting himself as a stronger advocate for the people of Rhode Island.

Hodgson, a former state prosecutor serving his second Senate term, says his record provides examples of his core beliefs, including his advocacy for an independent probe of failed video-game maker 38 Studios. He says he’s also boycotted the legislative grant program, rejected legislative pay raises, contributed to his state-provided healthcare, and supported strengthening the Ethics Commission’s oversight of the General Assembly.

“I believe the totality of my record as a pro-economic growth, pro-government reform legislator illustrates the type of problem-solving leadership traits that Rhode Island needs in public service if we are going to do things differently than we have before,” Hodgson said during a Statehouse news conference.

On other issues, the Republican lawmaker repeated his criticism that a state agreement to buy power from Deepwater Wind is too costly. Hodgson also faulted Kilmartin for not doing more to oppose the release last year of "thrill killer" Alfred Brissette, who served 14 years of a 35-year sentence for murdering a woman. When Brissette was released last year, Kilmartin's office criticized the vote by the state Parole Board to set him free.

Kilmartin emerged from a three-win Democratic primary to win election as AG in 2010. Kilmartin previously served as a state rep from Pawtucket for about 20 years and as a captain in the Pawtucket Police Department.

As one of five Senate Republicans, Hodgson has a profile as a social moderate and economic conservative.

Hodgson says he hopes to raise about $300,000 for his campaign and plans to participate in the state's matching funds program. His campaign is being managed by former state senator Frank Maher.

Rhode Island hasn't had a Republican attorney general since Jeffrey Pine, who served from 1993-1999, left office.