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Candidate's View: The right attorney general can make Minnesota fair and safe

I'm running for attorney general of Minnesota because I think ordinary Minnesotans deserve something better. If I win, I will be Minnesota's first Republican attorney general in nearly 50 years. Many of the Democrats who long ago held the office did a fine job, but lately, in the last decade, the office has turned into an entirely partisan outfit.

Big lawsuits have been launched and the pockets of special-interest groups and wealthy law firms have been lined. Minnesota has banded together with a few states like California to sue President Donald Trump on frivolous issues that have nothing to do with the lives of Minnesotans.

Meanwhile, even though the attorney general is Minnesota's chief law enforcement officer, the criminal law division within the office has been ignored and downsized. But Minnesota has statewide problems that need to be tackled, like the terrible sex trafficking that occurs in our state and the opioid epidemic.

Playing politics means fewer resources for law and order and has disastrous results. For example, we know the number of children being trafficked is astronomically high. According to a study, each month in Minnesota, hundreds of children — usually young girls — are trafficked multiple times a day. But the arrests of the human-traffickers behind this great evil are far too low, and the number of convictions of these criminals is even lower.

That's because county attorneys, on the front lines with local law enforcement, are starved of resources. When it comes to statewide criminal enterprises, our county attorneys need coordination, assistance, and leadership from the state attorney general. That's why, on day one, I will start rebuilding the office's criminal law division.

The same is true for the opioid epidemic. I promise to go after pharmaceutical companies that break our laws, but we also need to go after the criminal enterprises smuggling heroin from Mexico and synthetic opioids from China. Again, we need a restored criminal law division to take the lead.

My opponent in this race is Keith Ellison. Unfortunately, Ellison, I fear, would only politicize the office further. For one, Ellison has promised to double down on suing President Trump. That may get him headlines and please his friends in Washington, D.C., but it will distract from fighting sex trafficking and the opioid epidemic, hurting ordinary Minnesotans. In another example, Ellison explicitly promised to not look into welfare fraud that is costing Minnesota taxpayers tens of millions each year — even though doing so is in the attorney general's job description.

Worse, Ellison has a troubling record of associating with extremists, bashing police officers, and even voicing support for cop-killers. To top it off, Ellison has been accused of domestic violence by at least two women.

On the other hand, my record speaks for itself. I graduated from Georgetown Law School and then worked for Robert Lighthizer, currently President Trump's U.S. trade representative, at a private firm where we fought the illegal dumping of Chinese steel. Because of that, I understand how the real economy works.

I have a loving wife and three young children. I want them and all of our kids to be able to walk on safe Minnesota streets. I support our law enforcement, and I'm proud to say I've been endorsed by the Minneapolis police union.

So I respectfully ask for your vote this November. I promise to stand up for our jobs, be tough on crime, and depoliticize the office of attorney general. As your attorney general, I promise that every day I will fight for you, ordinary and everyday Minnesotans.

 

Doug Wardlow of Prior Lake, Minn., is the Republican candidate for Minnesota attorney general. He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page. A "Candidate's View" column by the DFL candidate, Keith Ellison, will be published Tuesday. Election Day is Nov. 6.