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GOP challenges eligibility of utility commission nominee

July 19, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Republican Party is challenging the eligibility of Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s appointee to lead the state Public Utilities Commission nominee.

The party said in a statement Thursday that commission chair nominee Laura Olton is a Massachusetts resident who registered to vote at her cousin’s Barrington home last month after The Providence Journal reported she wasn’t a qualified elector.

The Providence Journal reports the party filed a legal challenge Thursday with the Barrington Board of Canvassers.

Commissioners must be eligible to vote in Rhode Island.

A Raimondo spokeswoman says the filing is politically motivated and Olton took steps to become an elector prior to a confirmation hearing and has committed to buying a home in the state.

She added it’s common for states to hire utility rate-setters from out of state.

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