Peter Kilmartin

Peter Kilmartin packs heat, rocks out to the Stones, argues like a Republican, and other details we nail down about Rhode Island’s new attorney general.

Photography by Dana Smith


It was another of those perennial all-nighters toward the end of the General Assembly session in 1991, where horse-trading on the budget is an art form, and the boiling tempers of tired, frustrated legislators were producing steamy hallways at the State House on Smith Hill. As the lawmakers finished their work, the first rays of an early summer sun pierced the tall windows of the stately marble building, reminding those held captive inside that a new day had arrived.

Scott MacKay, then a political reporter for the Providence Journal, recalls one of the state reps suggesting they celebrate the end of the long hours of doing the people’s business. “Someone said, ‘Let’s go to Legs and Eggs at the Foxy.’ ”

At the time, the legendary Foxy Lady strip club was under state and federal scrutiny for money laundering. The legislator invited MacKay to come along, but told the reporter he couldn’t write about it. 

So, I couldn’t go,” MacKay says. 

And one of the newest lawmakers on the scene that night, Representative Peter Kilmartin, a Democrat from Pawtucket, said he couldn’t go either. 

“I was a police officer, and yes, I told my friends I couldn’t go, because I knew of the ongoing investigation,” Kilmartin says in his no-nonsense, just-the-facts-ma’am voice. “So there we were, just me and MacKay, the only two left in the State House.”

Sitting out the trip to the strip club speaks volumes about Peter Kilmartin, his right-of-center political philosophy and his view of being the state’s top cop.

Rhode Island’s new attorney general is a straight-laced, down-to-earth, self-described moderate Democrat who swears, absolutely swears, he’s no DINO, although some aren’t so sure. He’s dismayed a number of reliable Democratic supporters with his right-of-center positions but remains unswayed by their reaction. 

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