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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 24, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Sep00

Summarized by Michael Nielsen

Utah Attorney General Candidates Both LDS, And Similar Otherwise Also

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- As Utah Attorney General Jan Graham prepares to leave office, the two candidates seeking that office may appear more alike than different. Reed Richards and Mark Shurtleff have many similarities. Both candidates have similar backgrounds: LDS, Boy Scouts of America leadership experience, fathers of large families, and graduates of the University of Utah Law School.

Both candidates also have tough-on-crime agendas, and seem to agree on other social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and Initiative A, an English-only proposal.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Richards and Shurtleff is in the role they see the attorney general taking. Shurtleff would emphasize advising the governor and representing the various state agencies. He sees the AG having limited authority in civil litigation. Richards, who has worked with Graham, would see a more active role in civil matters. Richards says that he would not use the position as a soapbox, but that he would be a vigorous attorney general.

Richards says, "I firmly believe we are an independent state agency and as an elected state official I have to have some autonomy. We also advise other state agencies and 99.9 percent of the time that works fine. But you do have some conflicts. They'll always be differences but that's part of the system of checks and balances."

Shurtleff's crime-fighting initiative includes placing "a cop in every school", freeing jail space by decriminalizing traffic violations, using alternative sentencing, and creating after-school programs to help families with high-risk children. These actions are needed, according to Shurtleff, because current crime statistics aren't improving quickly enough.

Richards counters that crime figures are declining precisely because of the initiatives Graham and her office instituted. While working with Graham, Richards headed special sections devoted to internet crimes against children. He also developed tougher gang crime laws.


Attorney General Candidates Notable in Their Similarity
Salt Lake Tribune 18Sep00 T2
By Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune


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