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Before I give you the answers to this week’s question, I want to tip my hat to Representatives Jeff Harris and Margaret Donnelly, not only because they are participating in this forum, but because they have agreed to return all contributions over the reinstated fundraising limits. (From what I understand, Chris Koster has also now agreed to return all excess contributions, so he gets a tip of the hat, too. A source tells me that this is not quite correct – Koster is still waiting for more guidance from the MEC.)

And without further adieu, in the order received, the answers to this week’s question: “What job that you’ve held in the past has best prepared you for the job of Attorney General? Why?”

If you like either answer, or if you like both, please show some support to the candidate(s) with some cash. Representative Harris’ ActBlue page is here, and Representative Donnelly’s is here

Rep. Jeff Harris’ answer:

Thanks again for allowing me to participate in this question and answer forum. 

The experience I’ve had that best prepares me for the position I seek, Missouri Attorney General, was my last job – as Democratic Leader in the Missouri House of Representatives.  When I made the decision to pursue a leadership position, I knew that building a broad coalition was key to success.  My tenure as Minority Leader taught me how to reach out and bring together people with diverse backgrounds – urban, rural, minorities, gays and lesbians, trade unionists, and white collar professionals – and to speak with one voice against the Blunt agenda. 

In the 2006 elections, under my leadership, the Democratic caucus articulated a unified message that resulted in the first Democratic gain in the Missouri House in 20 years and the largest gain since 1978.  As Missouri Attorney General, and as a former Missouri Assistant A.G., I’ll tap that experience to build the best team in state government.  My staff will be diverse and representative of the entire state.  I’ll reach out to every community to understand their concerns as well as their hopes and dreams.  My office will defend the defenseless, fight for the underdog, and most importantly, enforce the law – with integrity, fairness and humility.  I humbly ask for your support in the Democratic primary election next August for Missouri Attorney General and in November 2008.  Visit my website at www.electjeffharris.com to learn more about me and how you can help.

Rep. Margaret Donnelly’s answer:

I have practiced law for twenty years and spent thousands of hours in the courtroom and worked with average Missourians on tough legal problems. I believe this is a key part of my experience that has prepared me to be an effective attorney general. The attorney general is frequently called the “people’s lawyer”. It is the office’s job to take the problems of individual Missourians and fight for their rights collectively.

We hear daily jokes about lawyers, but it was in my law practice where I saw how lawyers can protect and even save a person’s life. I was regularly appointed as the attorney to represent children in child abuse cases and custody disputes. Many of the children I represented were horribly abused by their parents. I was able to use my role as an advocate to protect these children from further harm.

Keeping families safe and secure has been the focus of my law practice. I intend to take that same spirit with me to the attorney general’s office. I pledge to vigorously enforce our sexual predator laws, prosecute Medicaid fraud and abuse and those who steal health care from the neediest Missourians, and keep unsafe products out of our stores. I will be the people’s lawyer.

Chris Koster informed me that unfortunately he again could not participate, as he has not declared his intention to run for the Attorney General’s office.

As always, you can discuss their answers in comments and vote in our poll. Please try to focus on the answers, rather than rah-rah for the candidates.

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