Democratic AG Candidates Meet For Final Debate

08/23/12 5:50PM By Patti Daniels
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The Democratic candidates for Attorney General met in their final debate of the campaign season Thursday on VPR's Vermont Edition. Incumbent Bill Sorrell faces challenger T.J. Donovan in Tuesday's primary election.

The two sat face-to-face for their final chance to persuade Democratic voters -- 31 percent of whom are still undecided according to the Castleton Polling Institute.

T.J. Donovan said the role of Attorney General doesn't have to be confined to its statutory definition of defending Vermont laws. He thinks the AG's office needs a new approach.

"I think after the greatest economic recession, people want more. People in the public sector, people in the private sector are being more creative, they're being more collaborative, they're being more innovative," Donovan said. "So should the attorney general. Listen, I'll stand up to anybody, I've done it my entire life. I'm not afraid of a fight. I'm not afraid of any corporate interest, I'm not taking any big corporate money in this race," he said.

Donovan cited pursing a GMO labeling law and controlling the Corrections budget as two of his goals.

Sorrell said this isn't a campaign for governor, and the focus should stay on the duties of the Attorney General's office.

"What I've been talking about is not these sort of plans for the future so much as a solid 15-year record of standing up to corporate interests, of being responsible for our having a cleaner environment, Vermonters safer through my criminal prosecutions, seniors protected from scams, suing the tobacco industry and bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars into the state," Sorrell said.

One surprising area of agreement: Sorrell and Donovan say they don't think their primary campaign has been negative, despite the opinion of many observers. They say they're just treating each other like prosecutors.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday. The winner of the race will face Republican Jack McMullen in the November general election.



vermont_attorney_general campaign_2012 politics
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