PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The full U.S. Senate has approved on a voice vote the nomination of Zachary Cunha to be the next U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island.
Cunha is currently chief of the civil division for the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.
The U.S. attorney is the top federal law enforcement official in the state responsible for overseeing an office that prosecutes federal cases in the state.
Cunha was nominated by President Joe Biden in September on the advice Democratic U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.
“Mr. Cunha already has an exemplary record of service in the U.S. Attorney’s office,” the senators said in a joint statement. “He steps into this new, elevated role ready to serve and protect the people of Rhode Island with integrity and distinction.”
Cunha has been a federal prosecutor since 2005 and joined the Rhode Island office in 2014.
In Massachusetts, Boston’s top prosecutor has been narrowly confirmed by the full U.S. Senate to be the state’s next U.S. attorney, making her the first Black woman to hold the position.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins was confirmed 51-50 Wednesday along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote.
“I have dedicated much of my career to public service and as I prepare to assume the role of Massachusetts’s chief federal law enforcement officer, I look forward to continuing to serve this great nation,” Rollins said. “Leading the U.S. Attorney’s office is a profound honor, and I pledge to serve with continued zeal and passion for justice.”
Some Republican senators had criticized her progressive approach to crime, most notably Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who said her approach leads to an increase in violent crime.
Rollins said her methods, including her decision to not prosecute low-level crimes and to back police reform, is working and violent crime is down in Boston.