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
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