Traverse City Record-Eagle

Election 2010

October 12, 2010

Candidates for AG outline priorities

The Associated Press sought answers to questions from the four candidates running for Michigan attorney general. Their answers were limited to 100 words or less, and have been trimmed where necessary to meet the limit.

The ones who responded are Libertarian candidate and St. Joseph lawyer Daniel Grow, Genesee County prosecutor and Democratic candidate David Leyton, and former state Court of Appeals judge and Republican candidate Bill Schuette.

U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Gerald T. Van Sickle, of Wellston, didn't respond by the deadline.

Question: What would your priorities be as attorney general?

Libertarian Daniel Grow: Any matter involving political corruption, the waste of taxpayer funds, violations of property rights, or any other injustice, whether at the state, local, or federal level, must be aggressively pursued. I am free of the political debts career politicians incur to get them where they are. The promises and pledges that the others have made insures that the big-government status quo thrives and expands.

Democrat David Leyton: Michigan needs an attorney general who is tough, independent and fair. I'm the only candidate who's been a prosecutor, and I will bring that same toughness to the attorney general's office and work to put away criminals who prey on our children. I'll be an independent advocate for government reform. I'll be a fair advocate for regular citizens, not special interests. I will go after unscrupulous companies that hire illegal immigrants or ship jobs out of Michigan.

Republican Bill Schuette: Put public safety first. Stop the policies of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm of emptying out prisons, releasing thousands of dangerous prisoners and cutting cops. Be a voice for victims. Appoint a Crime Victims' Rights Advocate. Defend the Constitution. Vigorously enforce Michigan's Consumer Protection Act. Create Rapid Permits for Michigan to speed the state's decision-making process, to help create jobs and growth. Continue the attorney general's Child Support Division.

Question: What sets you apart from your challengers in the race for attorney general?

Libertarian Daniel Grow: Having represented employers and individuals in claims brought under state and federal law, including civil rights claims, wrongful discharge, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, contractual disputes, and retaliation, my many years in private practice (not government jobs) gives me the real world experience needed. I seek the office because of my commitment to property rights, justice, and the Constitution. I'll focus on the proper role of government, and not waste taxpayers' dollars. I offer leadership based on the moral foundations of our families, our faith, and our communities.

Democrat David Leyton: I am a prosecutor, not a career politician. I am the only candidate with experience as a criminal prosecutor. I have tried more than 20,000 cases with a conviction rate of 95 percent. My opponent (Schuette) has never been a prosecutor and never tried a case. I have a plan for reforming Michigan's government by cutting politicians' pay, eliminating free lifetime health benefits for lawmakers, closing the revolving door between public office and lobbying, and requiring elected officials to disclose income and assets. My opponent (Schuette) spent his career as part of the status quo in Washington and Lansing.

Republican Bill Schuette: I oppose Obamacare and will continue the lawsuit against this massive intrusion into our system of health care. I am a strong supporter of the 10th Amendment. I support the state of Arizona's efforts to secure its borders and safeguard its citizens, and will continue the lawsuit in support of Arizona's decision. The federal government should spend more time securing our borders and fighting terrorism, and less time fighting our states. And I will continue the award-winning Child Support Division in the attorney general's office. Children and single parents are among the most vulnerable among us. They deserve our support.

Question: Would you continue the efforts by Attorney General Mike Cox to sue in federal court over issues such as Asian carp, Arizona's immigration law and federal health care changes? Would you do so even if your views differed from the new governor's?

Libertarian Daniel Grow: Suits in federal court are one way to rein in the federal government. In addition I would cooperate with attorneys general of other states with the aim of getting back to a system where the federal government can't do anything it wants, spend whatever it wants, and intervene in whatever it wants. That the federal government was to have limited powers and powers were to be retained by the states has been largely ignored. The inevitable result has occurred. The candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties waffle on this issue.

Democrat David Leyton: I am an independent reformer who will not be beholden to the governor or any political party. I opposed my own party's governor when she wanted to take millions of dollars from a successful auto-theft prevention program. I oppose wasting Michigan taxpayers' dollars on crass political lawsuits, as the current attorney general has done. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars, we must focus on getting Michigan back on track, reforming Lansing and taking on big insurance companies, rather than letting them off the hook.

Republican Bill Schuette: I oppose Obamacare and would continue the lawsuit. I support Arizona's right to defend its citizens and would continue the lawsuit. I support efforts to protect the Great Lakes by keeping Asian carp out of the watershed, and would continue the lawsuit. I will work with the governor. But I work for the people.

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Question: Should the attorney general's office step in to help local law enforcement with cases that their limited resources make it difficult to prosecute and, if so, would you do that as attorney general and how?

-- Libertarian Daniel Grow: In general, each governing body that has authority over a more geographically limited governing body should intervene in the affairs of the more limited body as little as possible. The federal government should defer to the states, the states to the counties, and the counties to the cities and townships, and so on. Ultimately, individuals should have great discretion to pursue their lives as they deem fit. As such, while a local government might ask for assistance from a larger unit of government, they are simply burdening taxpayers elsewhere. Mismanagement should not be subsidized.

-- Democrat David Leyton: I have a proven track record of working with law enforcement agencies to track down, prosecute and convict child sex predators, murderers, rapists and other dangerous criminals. I played a leading role in finding and arresting the suspected "serial slasher," believed to have stabbed at least 18 men in three states. I broke up a gang that terrorized local neighborhoods and convicted a serial rapist who kidnapped women from shopping malls. As attorney general, I will work closely with local law enforcement agencies so they have the resources they need to protect Michigan families.

-- Republican Bill Schuette: Yes. The Criminal Division's Cold Case Unit has helped to ensure that justice delayed does not mean justice is denied. They have brought charges in more than a half dozen long-standing murder cases. The attorney general's office has also helped smaller prosecuting attorneys' offices deal with big cases, and that is a practice I pledge to continue.

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