Summarized by Mike Nielsen
Former LDS Bishop Running For Utah AG
Salt Lake Tribune 30Apr00 D2
By John Heilprin: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Despite low-profile nature of the Utah attorney
general's race, the position carries significant power in the state.
Democrat Jan Graham, Utah AG for the past eight years, used that power to
work toward a settlement in the case against tobacco companies, and to ward
off Gov. Mike Leavitt's efforts to limit the power of the attorney general.
Graham has declined to seek re-election, and is instead supporting fellow
democrat Reed Richards' bid for the office. Richards, who has been an LDS
bishop, opposes two republicans vying for the office: attorney Frank Mylar
and Salt Lake County Commissioner Mark Shurtleff.
The race features competing ideologies.
Richards has assisted Graham in the Attorney General's office since 1993.
He sees the office as being critical to the state's functioning. "If the
office is not well-run and it doesn't address the pressing problems we see,
the state suffers tremendously.... And if your focus becomes off-the-edge
issues, whether it's on the right or the left, you won't get the job
done," Richards said.
Mylar, a 38-year-old attorney, complains that "closet liberals" now run the
A.G. office, and that both Richards and Shurtleff are guilty of favoritism.
Mylar is running on a platform that would add restrictions to current
abortion laws, and would work seek to limit makers of firearms. He also
would work against same-sex marriage and curtail the availability of
pornography. Mylar also suggests that "more and more good parents are
afraid to spank their children because they're afraid the state's going to
take them away. "In the name of protecting children, we're really trampling
Mylar's professional credentials include experience as an assistant
attorney general for Utah, working on welfare fraud prosecutions, paternity
and child support cases, and civil-rights suits. He is a member of the
Evangelical Free Church. He left the A.G. office because, he states, he
"was getting more and more disgusted with the way they were playing
politics with the law. And only the people that were the insiders got the
bonuses. It was a good-old-boy network."
He also asserts that the office intentionally undermined abortion suits
because they did not support the abortion laws. Richards flatly denies the
Mark Shurtleff, also with experience as an assistant attorney general,
worked in the areas of Corrections and Public Safety. He also has
experience as a trial attorney, and was a Navy Judge Advocate General
prosecutor. While county commissioner, he worked on constitutional issues.
Shurtleff thinks that the A.G. office should provide leadership for the
state in matters such as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
He also sees advising state agencies and fighting crime as the office's
important duties, saying "I want to fight crime statewide, bottom line....
"People aren't feeling safe and there needs to be leadership in the AG's
office to fight crime across the board and not just pet projects. They were
good pet projects . . . but there's a lot of work to be done."