The Attorney General directs the Department of Justice, which provides legal advice and representation, criminal investigation, and various law enforcement services for the state. The Attorney General represents the state in civil cases, handles criminal cases that reach the WI Court of Appeals or WI Supreme Court, and represents the state in criminal cases on appeal in federal courts. The Attorney General will earn an annual salary of $148,242 beginning January, 2019.
Brad Schimel (Republican), Incumbent
Josh Kaul (Democratic)
Terry Larson (Constitution)
Brad Schimel (Rep)
Waukesha, WI 53188
JOSH KAUL (Dem)
1. Please describe your priorities for your term in office and your specific qualifications to effectively address those issues. I served as a federal prosecutor in Baltimore, where I prosecuted murderers, gang members, and drug traffickers. I’ve also gone to court to challenge laws that make it harder to vote. As AG, I’ll prioritize addressing the opioid epidemic and our growing meth problem, reducing the delays in the testing of evidence at the crime labs, and doing more to address school safety. I’ll also seriously and even-handedly enforce our environmental, labor, and consumer-protection laws, and I’ll be an independ [CHARACTER LIMIT]
2. What criminal justice reforms would you support that would decrease recidivism and reduce the prison population? As AG, I’ll work to ensure that enforcement efforts are targeting the most serious offenders. I’m an advocate for community policing and prosecution. I support drug courts and veterans courts, and I believe we should expand access to substance-abuse and mental-health treatment. I also support job-training programs.
3. Would you support marijuana legalization or decriminalization, and how would that affect existing individuals with convictions for marijuana use or sales? I support legalizing medical marijuana. Doing so would help some people with serious pain and raise revenue for the state. I believe that any change we make to the laws relating to marijuana should be applied retroactively.
4. Wisconsin has a long tradition of open, transparent government. Do you believe that the tradition should be continued by every branch of government? What will you do to ensure the citizens' right to be informed about their government? I’m a strong supporter of government transparency and believe that we should work to build upon our tradition of open government. As AG, I’ll ensure that the Wisconsin Department of Justice continues providing guidance regarding Wisconsin’s public records and open meetings laws and work to identify ways in which the Wisconsin Department of Justice can be more transparent.
Terry Larson (Con)
Juneau, WI 53039
1. Please describe your priorities for your term in office and your specific qualifications to effectively address those issues. Priorities: I will stop the enforcement of judicial branch opinions as law in the state of Wisconsin, take action against anyone who damages or removes any veterans' or Civil War memorials, see federal immigration laws and/or similar state laws enforced, and take action against anyone infringing upon the freedom of speech or the right to bear arms we have under both our federal and state constitutions. Qualifications: I have a better understanding of both constitutions than our current AG does.
2. What criminal justice reforms would you support that would decrease recidivism and reduce the prison population? People sitting in our prisons should not sit idly. They should be cleaning roadways and parks, moving large piles of rocks, etc. They should be working at something and learning a trade if willing. If they learn a trade so they have some hope of finding a job after release, that would do more to reduce recidivism than anything else I'm aware of. I don't believe reducing prison populations is one of the functions of an attorney general unless he or she does so because of crime prevention.
3. Would you support marijuana legalization or decriminalization, and how would that affect existing individuals with convictions for marijuana use or sales? I reject the Libertarian arguments for legalizing prostitution and drugs which are currently illegal. If we legalize that gateway drug, we may as well legalize all narcotics because other drugs can also be "used responsibly" as proponents would have us believe. It makes no sense for legislators to promote legalizing marijuana while simultaneously taking actions to stop "epidemic opioid abuse". Nevertheless, as AG I would be duty-bound to enforce any state laws on the matter.
4. Wisconsin has a long tradition of open, transparent government. Do you believe that the tradition should be continued by every branch of government? What will you do to ensure the citizens' right to be informed about their government? Of course. One of my goals as AG is to confirm the best means of communicating with citizens about what my office is up to, and then do so regularly. I can ensure freedom of information by enforcing our Open Records and Meetings Laws; beyond those I think some governmental bodies should also be required to record and publish their meetings for viewing online. But the citizens of Wisconsin must also expect their representatives to keep them informed, and hold them accountable if they don't do so.