Ayotte becomes AG
State prosecutor Kelly Ayotte of Nashua became the state’s first female attorney general in July, but even she would have preferred history had been made another way.
Ayotte, 36, became Gov. Craig Benson’s choice after AG Peter Heed resigned following reports of his off-hours behavior on the dance floor after a domestic violence conference at a North Country hotel.
A county prosecutor concluded Heed didn’t break any criminal laws, but had acted inappropriately by touching a 23-year-old female state worker on the hips while, as one witness recalls, Heed was “dirty dancing.’’
Heed later asked for his resignation to be withdrawn, but the Executive Council voted 3-2 to accept it and unanimously embraced Ayotte as his replacement.
Ayotte had become deputy AG only after Heed promoted her following several years as a criminal prosecutor who attracted national attention with success in celebrated homicide trials such as the 2001 slaying of two Dartmouth College professors.
Three months after taking the new assignment, Ayotte and her husband, Joseph Dailey, a former fighter pilot in Iraq, had their first child, Katherine Grace.
“We couldn’t be happier. It puts everything into perspective,’’ Ayotte said.
Ayotte may not remain in the job too much longer, as Benson named her to finish Heed’s term, which ends in March. Gov.-Elect John Lynch has yet to comment on whether he would rename Ayotte to the job or if he wants his own person as the state’s top prosecutor.