The Attorney General’s race between incumbent Democratic Peter Kilmartin and Republican State Senator Dawson Hodgson has been overshadowed by most of the other races. Hodgson has been desperately trying to get headlines and traction, but it’s clearly an uphill battle. His argument is that Kilmartin doesn’t have much to show in at least three big cases, 38 Studios, Dan Doyle (URI Institution for International Sports) and public corruption (Gordon Fox).
The winner of the November election will serve as the chief legal advisor of the government and the state’s top law enforcement officer, overseeing a $36-million budget and a 230-person staff including 100 lawyers in new office space. Kilmartin decided to use money from the Google settlement to purchase the building next door that was vacated by Partridge Snow & Hahn. “We were desperately low on space and this was a perfect fit,” Kilmartin explains. Unfortunately this ‘perfect fit’ means that the City of Providence, which is already reeling, will take an annual six-figure hit as still another property is taken off the City’s tax rolls.
Common Cause ranked Dawson Hodgson #1 on good government issues when he was a legislator. He is running for Attorney General on a four point platform: non-violence training and intervention efforts, more police officers on the streets, zero tolerance for gun crimes and lastly job training, work release and apprenticeship programs for those reentering society.
“My opponent was a key player on Gordon Fox’s team and voted for the 38 Studios legislation, two major issues that have greatly affected RI and he has direct ties to both,” notes Hodgson. “How’s he supposed to represent the state when he’s part of the problem?”
In addition, people don’t feel safe,” he notes referring to the weekend violence in the capital city. “We need someone with prosecutorial experience as Attorney General.”
Hodgson began his legal career with a judicial clerkship in the RI courts before joining the Attorney General’s office in 2005. He was a courtroom trial attorney prosecuting hundreds of felony cases and enforcing law enforcement agencies. In 2010, he left the AG’s office to run for State Senate in District 35 (South County).
As a State Senator, Hodgson has sponsored bills to create a commission with subpoena powers to investigate 38 Studios as well as ones to require mandatory jail time for gun crimes, and mental health background checks for firearms. He was also the leading Republican advocate for marriage equality.
An early advocate for comprehensive pension reform, he helped pass the state’s landmark pension reform law. In his first term, he led Senate efforts to oppose binding arbitration legislation and has consistently opposed imposing new tolls, taxes and fees.
Hodgson is from North Kingston where he grew up working at Sodco, the family turf farm. He graduated from St. George’s, Bucknell and University of Connecticut School of Law. He and his wife have two sons and live in a house at the turf farm in North Kingston.
Peter Kilmartin was elected the 73rd Attorney General of Rhode Island on a platform to enhance economic security, protect the public safety of communities and families and restore the public trust in state government.
He graduated from Tolman High School and enrolled in the Pawtucket police academy. Over two decades, he rose from a patrolman to officer in charge of prosecutions, earning the rank of captain. In 1990, he was elected as a state representative where he served for 20 years.
As Attorney General, has created the Child Abuse Unit to prosecute individuals charged with physical and sexual abuse of minors, proposed stricter penalties for illegal firearms possession and indicted MS-13 gang members, including their leader, for various gun, drug and assault crimes. He also proposed and got passed legislation that enhances penalties for all gang members convicted of felonies.
He also explains how he has taken on Wall Street. “RI became part of the national mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage service providers over foreclosure and mortgage abuses, and mortgage bringing more than $150 million in benefits and relief to homeowners.”
And as for 38 Studios? “I was heavily involved in the investigation with the State Police,” he explains. “But it will take time and I am bound by court rules from commenting on an ongoing investigation.”
As AG, Kilmartin has been recognized by a wide array of groups, including: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the National Guard.
Kilmartin earned degrees from Roger Williams University and the Roger Williams School of Law. Peter and his wife Kristine live in Pawtucket and were founders of the Pawtucket Arts Festival.