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State senator steps down, citing his struggle with alcohol

January 10, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A state senator stepped down on Tuesday, saying the reason was his struggle with alcohol.

Democratic Sen. James Doyle II made the announcement in an email sent by Senate staff as Tuesday’s session was set to start, a week into the 2018 session.

Doyle, of Pawtucket, said his resignation was due to “personal reasons.”

“Many of my close friends and colleagues knew that I took some time off last year. My intent was to come back to the Senate, but now is the time to focus on my recovery and on being healthy, and dedicating myself to my family,” he wrote, concluding his statement by asking for privacy.

Doyle, 45, was first elected in 2004. He is the son of the late James Doyle, Pawtucket’s former longtime mayor.

Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said he was grateful for Doyle’s service and proud of him for taking the necessary steps to face his addiction.

In an interview Tuesday after the announcement, Ruggerio said he suspected there was an issue with Doyle because he had been trying to reach the senator since before the holidays and Doyle wasn’t returning his calls. He said Doyle didn’t consult with him about resigning.

Ruggerio said a special election would need to be held. He said he doesn’t think Doyle’s resignation will be detrimental to the effort to get legislation passed for public subsidies for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

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This story has been corrected to show Doyle’s title is Sen., not Rep.

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