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PowerPlayer: Attorney General Peter Kilmartin

Monday, March 19, 2012


This week’s PowerPlayer is Peter Kilmartin. The Attorney General was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about why he wanted to get involved in public service and explain his day-to-day life.

1) You came up through the ranks as an officer and made it all the way to Attorney General. Were there any specific experiences in your early days that made you want to pursue an elected office?

When I was about 10 years old, a friend and I decided to go visit the Mayor of Pawtucket, who at the time was Mayor Robert Burns. We walked right into Pawtucket City Hall, asked the see Mayor Burns, and, to our surprise, he invited us in to meet with him. He explained to us the role of local government, and how it existed to assist people and keep them safe. He must have spent at least an hour with my friend and me. His taking the time to let two young kids into his office and making them feel like they were the most important people he was meeting with that day left a lifelong impression on me. That meeting ignited my interest in public service.

2) Tell us about your top 3 priorities as Attorney General.

My top three priorities as Attorney General are to 1) protect Rhode Island families and keep our communities safe from crime and violence; 2) maintain and enhance public pride and confidence in the Office of Attorney General, as well as restore trust in government through enacting strict public corruption legislation; and 3) upgrade the technology and information systems within the office to allow personnel to make better, more efficient use of their valuable time, thereby enhancing our service to the public.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

There are only a few constants in my day. I often start my day walking our dog Molly, a Yorkshire terrier, followed by checking email while enjoying breakfast with my wife Kristine. Checking email is also the last thing I do before going to bed. The job itself really is 24/7. Events affecting the office do not adhere to the 9-to-5 work schedule.

During “traditional” office hours, there is a great deal of reading, be it case updates from attorneys, national attorneys general initiatives, or legislation and policy initiatives. I meet with the criminal, civil, BCI and administration chiefs once per week, and conduct senior staff meetings regularly to ensure the Office is moving forward to meet its goals and mission. In addition, specific issues, like the sale of Landmark hospital, require their own attention. The diversity of issues the office deals with ensures that no two days are alike and that there is no room for boredom.

This is an abbreviated version of my day and does not include appointments that occur both within and outside the office, as well as the numerous public appearances I am requested to make.

4) We hear so many horror stories about the state's economy. Where does Rhode Island stand when it comes to crime?

Crime will always exist regardless of where one lives. Needless to say, there are daily headlines regarding all types of crimes. It is a mission of mine to ensure that the AG’s office has the tools to deal with these various crimes as they occur. The success of the Office is a credit to the more than 200 hard working, talented employees. Each day, the staff works tirelessly to bring justice for victims, advocates on behalf of Rhode Island citizens and upholds the laws of this state. We have a dedicated staff that works extremely hard serving the citizens of this state, but we could use more resources.

Also, long term, I believe that the more opportunities we provide our youth with positive after-school programming, there is less likelihood they will enter the justice system in a negative way. Educating the public on how to avoid those who will prey on them and educating our youth are two important tools to prevent crime.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I have a passion for art. I appreciate art for both its personal and societal impact. That is one reason why I co-founded the Pawtucket Arts Festival, along with my wife, Kristine. I would like to discover and develop the artistic talent within me, if it exists.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: My father and mother, Frank and Dot Kilmartin

Favorite Restaurant: Bella Pasta, The Heritage, and Capriccio

Best Beach: I have yet to find a beach in Rhode Island that I don’t like.

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: “A Long Way Gone-Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ismael Beah. This book is a testament to overcoming the worst of adversities. It is the true story of a boy in Sierra Leone during the civil war who not only was a witness to, but also a victim of, man’s inhumanity toward man. It chronicles how that situation can lead an innocent person to commit atrocious acts in the name of survival. Despite this, it also demonstrates that one can overcome adversity, restore their moral being in deed and spirit, and utilize this experience for the good of society.

Advice for the Next Peter Kilmartin: It’s the advice my mother gave me: “when looking in the mirror, always be able to look yourself in the eye and know you tried to do the right thing.”

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