Rep. O’Neill: I’m running again
State Rep. J. Patrick O’Neill says he plans to defend his House District 59 seat this fall. He said his decision to put his Pawtucket home on the market this month has no bearing on his plan to run again.
O’Neill listed his 35 Sterling St. at $279,900 on June 9. He said Thursday that he’ll be filing his declaration papers to run again at the start of the declaration period “first thing Monday morning.”
Listing the Sterling Street home for sale should be seen only as “trying to keep the monthly costs down” and nothing else, said O’Neill, who was first elected in 2004.
The Pawtucket attorney said if he and his wife are able to sell the Sterling Street home, they’ll move to their condo on Marbury Avenue, which is also in District 59. The lease with the current tenants at the condo is set to expire next month, he said.
Others said to be considering runs for House 59 include John Arcaro, who scored more than 44 percent of the vote against O'Neill in the 2012 primary, and Pawtucket City Councilor Jean Philippe Barros.
O’Neill isn’t seen today as the General Assembly insider he once was. The former House majority whip protested loudly last year after former House Speaker Gordon Fox removed him from the House Judiciary Committee after he pushed a vote to give the Rhode Island Ethics Commission greater power in overseeing the actions of lawmakers. O’Neill had stepped out of Fox’s inner circle in the fall of 2012 after feuding with the former speaker over a number of issues.
O’Neill was one of the House members who made a play this spring to be the top lawmaker in the House after Fox resigned the speakership following a raid of his offices by state and federal authorities. O’Neill ended up bowing out and backing Rep. Michael Marcello in his dramatic showdown with Rep. Nicholas Mattiello, who was eventually elected speaker.