William Irons Resigns from R.I. Senate; Agent Refused to Reveal Clients

January 5, 2004

President William Irons, a 20-year veteran of politics and long time insurance agent, is resigning from the Rhode Island State Senate rather than disclose his insurance clients.

Irons announced that he has resigned as Senate president on New Year’s Day and said he will leave the Senate on Feb. 6. The East Providence Democrat was first elected to the Senate in 1983 and was chosen Senate president last January.

Irons, who owns Irons & Associates Insurance Agency in Warwick, and has been active in local agent associations, said, “Questions have been raised about me, my clients and my livelihood,” but he didn’t identify who made the allegations. He maintained that he had “received assurance from the state Ethics Commission that my activities were appropriate and proper.”

Irons had been under pressure to release the names of his insurance clients, but refused to do so. Senator Michael Lenihan told the Associated Press that Irons had acknowledged selling policies for the health insurer Blue Cross/Blue Shield. He has not disclosed any other clients.

His decision to step down comes at a time when the state attorney general is probing payments to Rhode Island lawmakers in return for consulting services.

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