Attorney General Candidates Discuss Differing Priorities

10/07/10 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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(Host) Vermont's three major party candidates for attorney general met in a debate Thursday.

Democrat Bill Sorrell, Republican Aaron Toscano and Progressive Charlotte Dennett say they would have very different priorities if they won in November.

VPR's Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) For the past twelve years, Bill Sorrell has been Vermont's attorney general. He's asking voters to elect him to a seventh term in November.

During his tenure in office, Sorrell has made consumer protection one of his top priorities. Speaking on VPR's attorney general debate, Sorrell said that Vermont has a relatively low rate of serious crime, but...

(Sorrell) "Many Vermonters are victims of consumer fraud - whether it's home repair fraud, or fraudulent telemarketers, paid charitable fundraisers or scam artists. And as I go around the state I hear more positively about our work in consumer protection than virtually anything we did. So I'm going to continue to stand up, if re-elected, for the health and safety of all Vermonters and to enforce our laws."

(Kinzel) Republican Aaron Toscano is a prosecutor in the Washington County state's attorney's office. He thinks the attorney general of Vermont should focus more on law enforcement issues.

(Toscano) "My top priorities are to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law, to maintain people's faith in government as best I can, to fight corruption and fraud, to build a strong law enforcement team and as budgetary decisions become necessary to return to a traditional law enforcement focus."

(Kinzel) Progressive Party candidate Charlotte Dennett specializes in civil rights litigation and freedom of information cases. She ran in 2008 and received just under 6 percent of the vote.

She says the office of attorney general needs to hold other members of state government more accountable:

(Dennett) "I think that it's become very serious and it is a reflection of both what happened in the Bush administration and the culture of secrecy which has now trickled into state government through the Douglas administration. And for reasons that have many people puzzled, the attorney general seems to be going along with this culture of secrecy."

(Kinzel) Incumbent Bill Sorrell strongly denied these allegations and said his office has worked hard to make state government more transparent.

For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.




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