- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Tuesday there has been no movement by the Trump administration to fill key federal appointments in Rhode Island, including vacant posts for a federal judge and U.S. attorney.

Whitehouse told reporters he and fellow Democratic Sen. Jack Reed’s first choice for the U.S. District Court in Providence continues to be Rhode Island Public Defender Mary McElroy. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in September 2015, but her nomination languished in the Senate, then expired. He said appointing McElroy “would be a sign of considerable good faith” from the Republican president’s administration.

He praised both acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Dambruch and U.S. Marshal Jamie Hainsworth. Dambruch was named to the post in March, after Peter Neronha and other U.S. attorneys across the country appointed by Obama were asked to resign.

“At the moment, Steve Dambruch is as qualified an acting U.S. attorney as one could expect. The marshal is equally qualified. He hasn’t even left, he’s still in place,” Whitehouse said. “Both Sen. Reed and I feel very comfortable that those office are well-run and well-managed.”

“To be really blunt, there’s not a ton of qualified people who want to come in and be this president’s nominee,” Whitehouse added.

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