Longest serving Rhode Island House Republican won’t seek reelection

Rep. Joe Trillo (R-Warwick) participates in his final House floor session.

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — After 16 years at the State House, Rep. Joe Trillo (R-Warwick) is not running for reelection in November.

Trillo, who would have faced a challenge from Democratic newcomer Evan Shanley, said he had been considering ending his tenure for at least four years.

“It all came together this week,” Trillo said in a phone interview with Eyewitness News. “I was running for the wrong reasons.”

Trillo said he wasn’t planning to run again this year until he heard about Shanley’s intent to challenge him.

“I never walk away from a fight,” Trillo said. “I wasn’t going to run but then I heard this guy was running against me.”

His last night in the legislature was a memorable one, as House lawmakers debated bills until adjournment past 5:30 a.m. Saturday. On the floor, he shared an embrace with a tearful fellow Republican Rep. Doreen Costa.

“It was a very emotional night,” he said. “I didn’t know I had so many friends.”

Trillo said his proudest moment as a state lawmaker was when he was chairman of the House Oversight Commission on Fire Safety. He said the commission helped reform fire codes that were enacted after the Station Nightclub fire.

Trillo said he’ll continue to be heavily involved with the Donald Trump campaign in the coming months.

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