Rhode Island House poised to elect new speaker

Rhode Island House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello, right.

Erika Niedowski/Associated Press

Rhode Island House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello, right.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island House of Representatives is poised to elect a new speaker after the abrupt resignation of one of the most powerful figures in state government after his home and Statehouse office were raided as part of a criminal probe.

Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello, a Democrat from Cranston, claims to have locked up enough support to succeed Gordon Fox in the top House post during an expected vote on Tuesday. Oversight Chairman Michael Marcello is challenging him.


The House has not convened since the dramatic series of developments that began Friday morning when state and federal authorities, including the FBI and IRS, raided Fox’s office and home.

Authorities still would not comment Monday on what the criminal probe involves, or whom it is targeting. Albin Moser, Fox’s lawyer, also declined to comment.

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Mattiello has proceeded in recent days as if he will be the next speaker, saying he plans a full review of how the House operates and is likely to make changes that could include new committee chairs. He has called himself pro-business and said his top priority is improving the economy. Another big concern ‘‘is uniting and unifying the House,’’ he said.

The chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Edith Ajello, said Tuesday morning that she didn’t expect to be kept on by Mattiello. Ajello is supporting Marcello.

‘‘I’m in my office as we speak packing up,’’ she said.


Marcello, a Democrat from Scituate, has said he wants to make the legislative process more transparent and would represent a ‘‘sea change’’ in the way the House is run.

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