Sunday, October 24, 2010

Artur for A.G.

It's probably not a surprise for you to learn that I'm a big believer in voting.  I vote every election and I always go to the poll on election day.  None of this advanced mail-in voting for me!  There are two particular races that always pose problems for me: District Attorney and Attorney General.  Two years ago when our District Attorney was running unopposed for reelection, I just couldn't bring myself to vote for him.  On behalf of my clients in this county, I just couldn't vote for the man who had prosecuted their cases.  So I organized a write-in campaign of sorts.  I got about 10 of my friends to write-in my suggestion. 

This November brings a vote for Attorney General.  In 2006, I had no difficulty whatsoever voting for the guy who was running against Phill Kline, but that was the only A.G. election where I wasn't conflicted.  When Kline first ran in 2002, I was no fan of his crazed anti-abortion agenda, but I didn't think he was the worst choice for my clients.  Kline's opponent in that year was a prosecutor whose work I knew, and disrespected, well.  After 4 years of A.G. Kline, though, I had no difficulty voting for his opponent.  I might have voted for Satan himself.  Happily, Mr. Kline lost, though the state is still dealing with the fall-out of his tenure.  The man who replaced Kline was forced to resign about a year later.  He was replaced by the current Democratic nominee for A.G., Steve Six.  I was excited by this because Six has seemed like a nice good, sensible man when I've met him, and because he went to my college. I was thrilled at the prospect of getting to vote for a fellow Carl.

But over the course of Six's tenure as A.G., reality has set in.  Much as it pains me to say it, I have come to the conclusion that I simply can't vote for him, Carleton connection notwithstanding.  He has disappointed me too profoundly on too many occasions.  First, when the state legislature was considering repealing the death penalty on the basis of cost, the A.G. opposed that.  I recall him making a disingenuous statement to the legislature that there was no real added cost to his office, but I can't find the testimony I'm recalling.  At any rate, I wasn't pleased with his repeated public statements that we should keep the death penalty so we can execute my clients.  As noted with the D.A. election mentioned above, I tend to take those things personally.

Then Six very much upset me this May when he filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the Maryland father who has sued the Westboro Baptist Church over their funeral protests.  He is simply on the wrong side of that issue and I am appalled to have the lawyer for my state (and a Carleton grad!) leading the charge to use a court of law to silence unpopular speech.  Other Kansans should stop trying to get me to "Stand with Steve" on that one because I most definitely do not.  In fact, I'm fairly certain he lost my vote the moment he stated that the Phelps family should not be allowed to "hide behind the Constitution."

The campaign he has run this fall hasn't done anything to change my mind about not voting for him.  He has run ads criticizing his opponent for taking contributions from payday loan companies and then supporting legislation that allows high interest rates on those loans.  I liked that point until I realized that Six has accepted twice as much money from payday loans.  So should I worry that he would go soft on pursuing consumer protection claims against payday lenders?  He's also touting the fact that he has tried two murder cases since he's been A.G., but in my view, those cases would have been better left to experienced trial prosecutors rather than by a former civil lawyer looking to score political points.

The bottom line is I simply cannot, will not, vote for Six.  But his opponent isn't someone I would ever consider voting for, either.  (Supports the death penalty, wrote the Kansas Jessica's Law bill, etc.)  Once again, I am in a no-win position when it comes to voting for an elected prosecutor.  Since May, I have been casting about for a proper write-in choice.  Obviously, my chosen candidate will not win and the two major candidates won't stew about this one voter's choice, but I am making a point.  To myself if to no one else.

So since we are coming up on election day, it is time for me to announce the lucky recipient of my write-in vote for Attorney General.  I considered many candidates, but in the end I selected the one best-suited to my needs (and by that I mean we were drinking shots at The Burger Stand one night and he asked me to write him in).  My vote for Attorney General will go to Artur Bagyants.  (Sorry, Meryl, but it's been a while since you've done a shot with me.)


Unknown said...

Hooray! I was going to write myself in but now will go with Artur.

S said...

Oh, Erin, you would be a great choice! But Artur really needs a job so he can pay for the shots once in a while.

Meryl said...

HA! No offense taken. Although I maintain that I would make an awesome AG!

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