PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Pawtucket Senator James E. Doyle announced his resignation on Tuesday.
Doyle, who was first elected in November of 2004, resigned on Tuesday, after thirteen years, issuing a statement saying:
“It is for personal reasons – caused by my struggle with alcohol – that I am resigning. 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.”
“I thank God for His grace and mercy, and for my family, friends, and neighbors. At this time, please allow for privacy as I move forward with the assistance of my family.”
Doyle's colleagues in the Senate applauded his decision to come forward.
"I think it takes an awful lot of courage to say that," said Sen. William Conley, who represents Pawtucket and East Providence. "I have confidence in Senator Doyle that he will get through this, and he's in my prayers"
Doyle's announcement hit home for his fellow senator from Pawtucket, Donna Nesselbush.
"My own brother died from alcoholism last December, just one year ago, so it's a very personal issue for me. It's a difficult illness," said Nesselbush.
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio released the following statement upon hearing the news:
“All of us in the Senate are thinking of Jamie and his family during this difficult time. We are grateful for his service to our state, and proud of him for taking the necessary steps to face his addiction. We wish him all the best in his recovery and in all of his future endeavors.”
Sen. Doyle is the son of longtime Pawtucket Mayor James Doyle, who passed away in 2016.
Doyle's resignation will trigger a special election to fill his seat, which must happen in the next 90 days.
Democrat Matthew Fecteau, who ran against Doyle in 2016, had already announced plans to run again this fall.