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Rhode Island speaker to step down after FBI raids

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox is resigning from his leadership post and will not run for re-election, he said Saturday, a day after federal and state authorities raided his Statehouse office and home as part of a criminal investigation that they would not detail.

"Because of the respect I have for all members of the House of Representatives, I am resigning as Speaker," Fox said in a written statement emailed Saturday evening to reporters. "The process of governing must continue and the transition of leadership must be conducted in an orderly manner."

The 52-year-old Providence Democrat said he planned to serve out the remainder of his term, but that "my personal focus going forward will be on my family and dealing with the investigation."

The Friday raids were carried out by the U.S. attorney's office, FBI, IRS and state police. Boxes of evidence were carried off, but officials have not said whom or what they are investigating.

Fox has represented Rhode Island's capital in the General Assembly for more than 20 years, and became the nation's first openly gay House speaker when he assumed the post in 2010. He came out in 2004, in an unplanned announcement, while addressing a gay marriage rally at the Statehouse.

The raids almost immediately set off jockeying Friday among members of the House vying to become the next speaker. On Saturday, shortly after Fox's announcement, his top deputy said he intends to run for speaker in an election expected to be held on Tuesday and that he believes he has enough votes.



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