RI Lawmaker to Keep Top GOP Job Despite Pot Charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The top Republican in the Rhode Island House will keep his leadership position despite an arrest for driving under the influence and pot possession in Connecticut.

Rep. Robert Watson, an East Greenwich Republican, met with Republican House members Tuesday afternoon. The members voted unanimously to keep Watson as their leader.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Watson apologized to Rhode Islanders for distracting state lawmakers from what he said are more important state issues including the state budget and economy.

Watson said he would address the charges against him during a speech on the House floor planned for later Tuesday.

Watson was charged with driving under the influence and possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia after he was stopped Friday at a police checkpoint in East Haven, Conn.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)