Insurance agent Bob Bolton said Wednesday he plans to run as a Republican for the House District 30 seat now held by fellow Republican Bob Watson, which will prompt a primary if Watson seeks re-election.
“I think we need strong, viable Republican representation at the State House,” said Bolton. “I’m the sort of person who can work with both sides of the aisle, not just be an island by myself, for the betterment of the Town of East Greenwich and the State of Rhode Island.”
Bolton, who has served on the Zoning Board for eight years, ran for the same seat two years ago, as an independent. Before that, he ran as a Republican in a primary against Watson and lost. He was a registered Democrat at one time. He doesn’t see a conflict in running now as a Republican after his run as an independent two years ago.
“Even when I ran as an independent I was still a registered Republican,” said Bolton. “The Republican banner suits me.”
Bob Watson said Wednesday while he’s not yet decided whether or not he’ll run for re-election, he’s beaten Bolton before and that challengers will not be the deciding factor for him.
“Whoever chooses to run is irrelevant to my process of deciding,” he said. “I know Mr. Bolton has been a Republican, a Democrat, an independent. The only thing he hasn’t been is a woman.”
Watson has held the District 30 seat since 1992. He served as a state senator from 1989 to 1991.
Twice in the past 14 months, Watson was arrested after traffic stops. In April 2011, he was charged with DUI and possession of marijuana after being stopped at a police checkpoint in New Haven, Conn. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and the case is still pending.
In January, he was charged with possessing marijuana after he drove into a snowbank off Tower Hill Road in South Kingstown. He pleaded no contest to those charges. Following the arrest, Watson entered a residential treatment program in Florida, where he stayed for several weeks.
Chuck Newton, chair of the Republican Town Committee said, “I think primaries are a good thing. It’s part of the process.”
Democrat Mark Schwager, who is running for the House District 30 seat, also commented on Bolton’s entrance into the race. “I’ve known Bob [Bolton] for a long time. He’s a good candidate,” said Schwager. “It should be interesting.”
Bolton said Wednesday the state should rely more on tourism, noting the appeal of Rhode Island’s beaches, fall foliage, fine restaurants, and the arts. “The Ocean State – the theme is tourism,” he said.
“We’ve got to cut back on spending and promote tourism,” said Bolton. When asked about what could be cut, he suggested regionalizing school districts, or cutting down on the number of school administrators.
“Why can’t the vice principal at E.G. High also cover Cole,” he said. That’s relatively small savings, he conceded but, he said, “You know what? It’s a start.”
He’s against beach parking fees.
“It’s ridiculous that residents of Rhode Island have to pay to use Rhode Island beaches when we pay taxes already,” he said.
Declaration of candidacy must be made between June 25 and June 27.