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On Monday, we introduced a new feature here at Show Me Progress, a question and answer series with the Democratic candidates for Attorney General. The deadline has passed, and the answers are in. I want to thank the candidates for responding politely and in a timely fashion.

The question was, “What would be the first issue you would tackle as Attorney General? Why and how?”

The answers, in the order received, are below the fold.

As promised, I’m putting up a link to the ActBlue pages of the candidates who responded according to the rules. Only Jeff Harris has an ActBlue page at this point, so he’s the only one that gets the link. If you like what Rep. Harris had to say, consider dropping him a few bucks here. When the others have an ActBlue page up, we’ll link to them.

Representative Jeff Harris (D-Columbia):

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your survey.  I look forward to any feedback  your readers will give me.  As the House Democratic Leader, I have led the fight to stop the Blunt agenda, which has caused so much harm to so many Missourians.  I want to continue to fight for progressive values as your next Attorney General.  I have a detailed list of my policy positions at my website: http://www.electjeffharris.com/issues/.

I will make Internet safety and the protection of personal information a top priority, including establishing a statewide task force to fight Internet crimes against children.  As a soon-to-be parent, I am committed to protecting our youngest citizens from pedophiles who prowl the Internet.  Several Attorneys General have established these task forces to successfully coordinate and assist with investigations and provide training and assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors.  I will advocate for model legislation to protect our privacy and create a special unit in my office to combat cyber crimes and protect Missourians’ privacy.  For instance, at the University of Missouri, a number of student and employee Social Security numbers were compromised.  In addition, Missourians have a right to have their medical records protected from disclosure.

I welcome comment on any of my initiatives.  Please contact me at info@electjeffharris.com.  And, please support my progressive vision as we work to move our state forward.

Representative Margaret Donnelly (D-St. Louis):

I will strengthen the role of the attorney general’s office in protecting the public against the sale of unsafe products.

Almost every product we consume has materials produced in countries where oversight and regulatory controls fall far short of our expectations in this country. Clearly, the federal government has not effectively handled the problem. So the state must take a more active role.

Even before being elected as attorney general, I will sponsor legislation next session to enact the Missouri Children’s Product Safety Act.  The act would prohibit the sale of all unsafe children’s products, force companies to remove products from shelves, and empower the attorney general to enforce the law. Seven other states are effectively using similar laws to stop unsafe products from distribution and sale.

I will also offer a resolution that calls on Congress and the President to enact the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act.  This act would increase product safety inspections, toughen enforcement and increase penalties for violations.

As attorney general, I will increase the efforts of the Consumer Protection Division in identifying and stopping unsafe products being sold in our state.  I will actively enforce Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act to halt the sale of all unsafe products in Missouri.  This act currently empowers the attorney general to investigate and prosecute unlawful practices in trade and commerce.  I will introduce legislation next session to make clear that these unlawful practices include the sale of unsafe products.

Missouri must act because the federal government has failed.

The first response we received was actually a very polite reply from Chris Koster’s spokesperson, informing me that although he appreciates our website, he has not announced yet his intention to run for Attorney General, and as such, it would be inappropriate to participate in our Q & A series at this time.

What do you think? Who had the best answer, and why? Vote in our poll, and discuss in comments.

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