Neronha launches campaign for RI attorney general

Prosecutor Peter Neronha launches his campaign for Rhode Island attorney general at an event in Jamestown, Oct. 3, 2017. (WJAR)

Peter Neronha, a former U.S. attorney for Rhode Island, launched his campaign for state attorney general on Tuesday.

Neronha, a Democrat, said he wants to use the office to root out public corruption.

He becomes the first candidate to announce for the job that will be vacated by incumbent Peter Kilmartin, who has served the maximum of two terms.

Neronha was the state’s U.S. Attorney for seven and a half years. He was appointed by former President Barack Obama, and later dismissed by President Donald Trump.

“Rhode Island has a well-deserved, and well-earned reputation for political corruption,” Neronha told a crowd of about 100 people gathered at the town dock in his hometown of Jamestown.

Neronha pointed to his record of convicting crooked politicians, ranging from city councilors in North Providence, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He said the Attorney General can do the same kind of prosecutions he did as U.S. Attorney.

“There’s no reason that office can’t do that kind of work. It’s just a matter of having the will to do it, build a good team in the office, build a good team with the state police,” Neronha told reporters.

His focus will include working to stem the opioid crisis, and human trafficking. He promises to use the civil division of the office to “recover wasted taxpayer money, protect consumers, protect the environment, and enforce civil rights.”

He also promises to band together with other Attorneys General to “stand up to the Trump administration on national issues.”

His previous service included work at the Attorney General’s office, as well as service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He said his desire is to continue to serve the people of Rhode Island.

Democrat state representative Bob Craven told NBC 10 he is looking at the race, as well, and will make a decision before the end of October.

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