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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Indiana will pick new attorney general this year: Elkhart Co prosecutor, former Lake Co judge on ballot"

That's the headline to this story today in the South Bend Tribune, reported by Kevin Allen.

Indiana's attorney general, as the last 12 years attest, is not only the criminal prosecutor in chief, but also generally determines the State of Indiana's legal position in all civil lawsuits (when to sue, when to appeal, when to settle, when to join national lawsuits, when to submit amicus briefs on behalf of the State of Indiana in other state and federal appeals, etc.). The AG is charged with advising and representing all the state's agencies, as well as elected officials. The Attorney General must approve any other attorneys acting on behalf of the State. The Attorney General (which is not a constitutional office) is separately elected and thus at times the AG and the Governor may be of different parties. On occasion, rare in the past 12 years, their positions may diverge even when of the same party.

The AG's office also has a consumer affairs division, created by statute.

From today's SBT story:

The open race gives voters a choice between two candidates with extensive legal backgrounds, compelling family stories and different visions for the attorney general’s office.

Lorenzo Arredondo, the Democratic candidate, is a former Lake County Circuit Court judge. He served on the bench for more than 30 years before retiring in 2010.

Curtis Hill, the Republican candidate, is currently the Elkhart County prosecutor, having first been elected to that position in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Arredondo said one of his top priorities will be protecting Hoosiers from consumer fraud. “The attorney general is the people’s lawyer,” he said.

Arredondo also is a former teacher and has given lessons to kindergartners as well as judges — and all ages in between. He wants to continue efforts to teach Hoosiers about the attorney general’s office and the services it provides to help the public. “It’s the teacher in me,” he said. “I always try to make everything an educational experience.”

Hill lists preventing consumer fraud among his priorities as well, and both candidates talk about addressing the growing problems associated with prescription painkillers, heroin and methamphetamine.

Hill also said the attorney general’s position provides an opportunity to address “many of the challenges that are not being met at the national level” and assert states’ rights on issues such as health care and firearms.

“Congress certainly should be the first line of defense,” Hill said, “but the states are the last line of defense when it comes to issues of federalism and making sure we don’t have mandates from Congress that are unfunded or executive agencies operating around Congress in order to dictate to the state and people what they want. That’s not the purpose of the Constitution.”

That’s one area where the two candidates differ. Arredondo said lawsuits the state has filed regarding the Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act have not been good uses of the public’s money.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 13, 2016 02:04 PM
Posted to Indiana Government