Former deputy prosecutor Rainville jumps into state's attorney race

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Editor's note:  This story was revised at 9:20 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2018.

BENNINGTON — A former deputy prosecutor in the office of Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage, who left in 2016 after being placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons, is running for state's attorney as an independent.

Christina Rainville of Manchester Center announced Tuesday evening that she had obtained more than the required voter signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot as an independent.

At that time, she could be facing her former boss, if Marthage defeats challenger Arnold Gottlieb in Tuesday's Democratic primary. The incumbent is seeking a fourth term, having won election for the first time in 2006.

"It is clear that neither of the other candidates for State's Attorney has the necessary experience as a front-line prosecutor, or as someone who can get the laws changed to meet our community's changing needs," Rainville said in a release.

Reached Tuesday by phone, Rainville, 56, said she has worked in private practice since leaving the prosecutor's office in 2016, as a defense attorney and handling employment-related and discrimination civil litigation with Ellis, Boxer & Blake of Springfield.

Rainville, who worked in the prosecutor's office for more than eight years, was placed on administrative leave in late 2015. In January 2016, Marthage announced that Rainville was no longer with the office but did not provide further details, while Rainville also declined comment at the time.

Rainville declined further comment Tuesday, but said she intends to address those issues during her campaign for state's attorney.

In her release, Rainville said, "Bennington County is in crisis because of the opioid epidemic, and I am the most qualified person to move the county forward. I am running as an independent because politics has no place in the criminal justice system."

She called for action to deal with opioid addiction, including the establishment of a Drug Court in the county, which she said "the present State's Attorney for some inexplicable reason has failed to support." Rainville added, "Bennington County needs a state's attorney who has shown that she can take the initiative, and get things done."

Rainville said she is "a proven prosecutor who successfully fought crime on the front lines," and has a "history of working with the Legislature."

During her time as a prosecutor, she said she was "the person in the State's Attorney's office who handled the most important and difficult cases," citing success in arguing for the state in an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court, and trying more than 25 jury cases and obtaining "convictions of dangerous criminals who had committed sexual assaults, and other violent crimes."

"I am thrilled by the response my candidacy has already received," she stated. "I spoke to people in the community — at their businesses, in front of stores, on the sidewalks, in parking lots — and so many of us have been affected by the opioid crisis. The community clearly recognizes that change is needed."

More information about the candidate is available at https://christinarainville.com.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. Email: jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com. @BB_therrien on Twitter.


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