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Democratic Attorney General Debate in Kansas City, part 1

Democratic Attorney General Debate in Kansas City, part 2

Democratic Attorney General Debate in Kansas City, part 3

The panel and the candidates at the end of the debate

A transcript of the panel questions and candidate answers follows (from approximately the 45 minute mark in the 90 minute debate to the end).

The transcript:

Moderator: Mr. Wesson the next question is for Representative Donnelly.

Eric Wesson: The difficult part about this is all three of you are lawyers and all three of you sound very compelling. But I think we need to kind of get down to the nitty gritty ’cause I think we kind of side swiped some things. I’m gonna go back to something that you sais earlier. You said that you supported the death penalty and as Attorney General that you would make sure that there is sufficient resources. So in other words, I’m takin’ that to mean that right now you don’t think that there is sufficient resources. And I ask you, do you think that some innocent people have been killed, executed in Missouri?

Margaret Donnelly: I think for any of us the thought that there would be an innocent person who lost his or her life is very chilling. When I made that statement about not having sufficient resources, I think you just look at the appeals as they’re handled, and many of them are thrown back for retrials, errors. And what I’m saying, that we’ve got to start back and look, and I’ve heard it time and again, in the budget process, wee need to beef up the resources that are available to handle those capital cases, so that, repeat what I said, the juries have confidence. We need to beef up those resources sp that we are doing everything in our power to have the right evidence and the right tools.

Moderator: Mr. Kraske, I’m sorry, Mr. Arce the next question is for Senator Koster.

Joe Arce: I wanted [garbled] to get your opinion of Margaret’s, or should I say your response to Margaret’s comments in regards to you switching parties.

Chris Koster: Can you be more specific in terms of what you wanted me to discuss [crosstalk]?

Joe Arce: She pointed out several things earlier and her concerns about you. And I kind of wanted to give, give you an opportunity to respond to that.

Chris Koster: Well, let me take an opportunity, then to respond to the Medicaid issue. I entered the legislature in January of two thousand and five. And the state was in a six hundred million dollar budget sit…deficit situation. Senate Bill 539 came to the floor, and as I’ve said on a number of occasions, including my speech in October to the Democratic Central Committee in St. Louis, my vote for Senate Bill 539 was something that I consider to be a mistake. 539 over reached, even in the face of a six hundred million dollar deficit, I think that time has proven that bottom line costs were elevated above human costs. And had I to do it over again, I wouldn’t. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I would be surprised if each of us didn’t have some vote that they regretted during the course of their career. The question is not do you regret a vote exclusively, the question is what do you do after you have realized that, to change, to grow, or to make it right. In two thousand and six I was chairman of the Senate select committee to investigate Medicaid provider fraud in the state. Five hundred million dollars that is being stolen by the twenty, no, thirty five thousand contracting agents to the Medicaid, the six billion dollar Medicaid system. We produced legislation in two thousand and six, it passed in 2007. And utilizing that tool within the Attorney general’s office to crack down on Medicaid provider fraud will be job one. In two thousand and seven I voted to return ninety thousand women to the Medicaid rolls for women’s health care issues. In 2007 I voted to add back four thousand handicapped individuals through the ticket to work program that gave them day attendants to help put them back, put these individuals back into the workforce. 2007 I added, voted to add back seven thousand youngsters into the children’s health insurance program. I voted for nine million dollars for eye and dental care. This year, in 2008, I voted to add in fifty two thousand of the individuals who lost their health care in two thousand and five, back into the system. And also in two thousand and seven voted to return the durable medical equipment, the wheel chair battery example, back into the budget. We need to rebuild the Medicaid system. We need to do it responsibly, because one of the real unfortunate things is that the preliminary prognosis for two thousand and ten is another six hundred million dollar budget deficit. But over the course of whatever time I have in public service rebuilding it responsibly will be a priority.

Moderator: Mr. Kraske the next question is for Representative Harris.

Steve Kraske: Jeff I wanted to ask you about Attorney General Nixon, a couple of years ago was under very intense scrutiny for not only accepting, but having had a campaign aide actually seek out campaign donations from Amren while he was, while, while Nixon was overseeing a criminal probe of the Tam Sauk [sp] reservoir collapse. Amren, of course, operates the reservoir. So my question is was it appropriate for the Attorney general to accept those donations? Was it appropriate for him to even solicit them through his aides? And what’s your policy going to be when it comes to campaign donations from the people you’re out there investigating?

Jeff Harris: Steve my policy is going to be not to solicit, personally solicit, and nor would anyone on my staff at my direction solicit contributions from entities or persons who have litigation or matters that are pending before the office, or that could be reasonably foreseen to be pending. The key there is reasonable foreseeability because theoretically anyone could have a case. There must be a reasonableness standard similar to the standard that I have advocated for Public Service Commission commissioners in discussions that they should have with utilities that would reasonably, foreseeably have matters pending before them. That would be my policy in the office. To address the predicate of the first part of your question, I don’t know that it has been established that Attorney general Nixon directed anyone to solicit those contributions at the time that the matter was pending. Campaigns are big operations, you have a lot of people who are acting on your behalf, you don’t always know what people are doing. I will tell you though, that is what my policy will be.

Moderator: Mr. quest…Mr. Mahoney the next question is for Representative Donnelly.

Mike Mahoney: Representative Donnelly Attorney General Jay Nixon has tried a couple of times now, and failed to ban those automated robocalls that campaigns use. Senator Koster said that there’s been [garbled] the dinner hour. Will you continue that pursuit of, of banning those and banning them for, not only home phone, but the cell, cell phones and faxes?

Margaret Donnelly: When you get a robocall for yourself at home you know that things have probably gone to far when they’re saying, “Call Representative Donnelly and tell her today to do this.” So I think we can all agree it’s probably gone too far. The simple answer is yes, I do believe that there can be regulation on political robocalls that meets the free speech political requirements. I have actually, have attempted to offer an amendment several different times on campaign finance legislation. Unfortunately since we only spent twenty five minutes on this year’s bill, and they only allo
wed one amendment to be offered, my amendment which I had drafted this year to do…the, the first step, I think, is to be sure that anyone who’s making a phone call to you has to identify who is making the call because that’s a great danger. Right now you have no one identifying who is making the call, so I think if even a live person is making the call we need to say who’s paying for it. If we need to have “paid for by” on all our media and mail we absolutely need it on telephone call, it’s required by Federal law, and it should be, and that was my this year’s amendment and I have signed on and helped offer amendments, signed on to bills and offered the amendments to actually to stop the robocalls for political purposes as well.

Moderator: Mr. Wesson the next question is for Senator Koster.

Eric Wesson: Senator in your opening you said that you had established relationships with minority communities throughout the state, and I didn’t understand if that was as a Republican or a Democrat. [laughter] But my question was, what are you gonna do as Attorney general to increase diversity in the Attorney General’s office in Kansas City and other [garbled] cities?

Chris Koster: Several things. The first thing is, I think the time has come when the size of the Jefferson City office can be reduced, and the size of the St. Louis and Kansas City office can be expanded. One of the big issues with regard to recruiting a diverse pool of young lawyers into the office has been the reality that Jefferson City just doesn’t look like the rest of the State of Missouri, everybody knows it. And when young, intelligent African American and minority attorneys come out of law schools in St. Louis and Kansas City a lot of times, for social structure reasons, they don’t want to move to Jefferson City and take up a new life there. So out of the things I want to do is, right now I think we have fifty four attorneys in St. Louis and twenty one in Kansas City, and I would like to see within two years those built up by about fifty per cent, I think it could probably be accomplished in the first two years, commensurate shrinking of the Jefferson City office. And what that is gonna do is make more jobs available in, in the places, first of all, where the case load is increasing. And in the places where social network exists where I hope we could recruit more aggressively in, from the minority communities [crosstalk].

Eric Wesson: When you said twenty one, is that twenty one minorities or is that twenty one total?

Chris Koster: That’s twenty one attorneys in Kansas City.

Eric Wesson: Okay.

Chris Koster: There are twenty one attorneys in Kansas City today and I’d like to see that get to thirty five, thirty, thirty five. I’d like to see St. Louis go from fifty four to seventy five. And so we need to bring the jobs to where the people are and bring the jobs to the communities rather than ask the communities to come to the jobs.

Moderator: Mr. Arce the next question is for Representative Harris.

Joe Arce: I’m gonna go ahead and follow up with that question in regards to the diversity within the office. Because I hear, Chris, your comments constantly but it seem to me there has to be a change, you know, we hear the same rhetoric time after time after time we cannot find these people because of the budgets or what have you. But, it’s a predominantly white organization. So again, how would you change that?

Jeff Harris: I’d do a number of things, Joe, and I’m glad you followed up on Eric’s question. And by the way, my comments are not a knock on my former boss Jay Nixon, I think he’s done a great job as Attorney General and I know that he has tried to make this office look like the State of Missouri. It’s a challenge. Right now in the office, speaking from the attorney side, about nine per cent of the attorneys in the office are persons of color. The statewide average for law, large law firms is about six per cent. So it’s a little better than large law firms. But we can do better. And we can do it in a number of different ways. I will tell you that I intend to visit with the director of human resources of the office to increase the diversity of the office, both on the staff side, because you remember we have nearly as many staff people, both legal assistant investigators and secretaries, was we do lawyers. And I want to just, let’s say it, there’s no quota system in place, but it is important that the people’s law firm look like the people of the State of Missouri. And if you look at the Blue Book, right now, and this isn’t a knock against Jay at all, if you look at the Blue Book, the state’s manual, that shows the photos of people who are in the administrative part of the office, all of them look like me. Okay. It’s all white people. I think I can do better than that. And I intend to do better than that. And it’s a challenge with resources. But you know people go into government service, I left my job here to go into government service as an Assistant Attorney General under Jay Nixon because I want to make the world a better place. And there are all kinds of young lawyers out there who want to be inspired by the same vision, who want to work for a Democratic Attorney general who’s gonna embody their values, who’s gonna be a person of integrity, who’s gonna make them believe that they’re making the world a better place every single day. And that’s, that’s how we can improve the diversity of the office.

Moderator: Mr. Kraske the next question is for Representative Donnelly.

Steve Kraske: Margaret I have a question about, I’m gonna go back to the open records law which is of course very important to reporters here and everywhere across the state. Should the Attorney General have a role in handling rejections of open records requests as Attorneys general do in many other states? And should the AG be the place to go for appeals of denials of open records requests?

Margaret Donnelly: I think transparency in government has to be a number one goal for all of us. And so to strengthen the ability of the Attorney General to actually take action when the requests are rejected does seem to me to be a good first step. Because I know frequently the rejection happen and individuals don’t have the resources to go out and actually sue, and so it just kind of languishes and local prosecutors who have other responsibilities are not always willing to take up that cause. So I think we have to look to the Attorney general’s office to provide more coordinated response to be able to open up government. People are sick and tired of closed government. And, I, you all may know, on my own I filed a lawsuit this year against the Ethics Commission to open up hearings on the over limit contributions. Because I felt so strongly that the action they were taking to close those hearings, so no one knew what was happening with who was claiming hardship as to why they did not have to turn over their campaign contributions was, it was wrong. So I think that the Attorney General is the office for people who would find it burdensome and expensive to file a lawsuit on their own should be able to have that [garbled].

Moderator: Mr. Mahoney the next question is for Senator Koster.

Mike Mahoney: Senator, I think it was a week ago tonight, you participated in a filibuster on the repeal of the village bill that lasted until well in the morning, four a.m., something like that. You told reporters later that you did that ’cause you feared that they might be able to bring up the photo ID bill and get that passed. That’s how I, how I understand it. What is wrong with having a Missourian prove who they are at the polls?

Chris Koster: The, so the question is… [crosstalk]

Mike Mahoney: Right, it’s more important, the ID question. You were, you were part of that filibuster ’cause you feared that bill. The basic question is, what was wrong with making voters prove who they are?

Chris Koster: Okay, there, I kind of hear two questions in there. [crossta
lk] The first question is about the filibuster and Senator Callahan’s in here somewhere, he’s over there. When we walked in at two o’clock on Monday afternoon last week I was standing with Senator Callahan against the back wall of the Senate and said to him, “The biggest problem we have right now is we’ve got too much time left on the clock.”  In all the preceding years we would have a lot of issues that were still going through the legislature and this year there were a relatively few in comparison to previous years. And the situation for majority mischief and shoving ideological bills through the system in the last days was dangerous. The first three days of the week went relatively smoothly and then on Thursday Senator Callahan and I had an opportunity to gobble up seventeen hours of the last twenty four hours of the session, in which, rather than waiting for the Republicans to launch on us, we essential took a small group of guys that included Senator Graham and Senator Smith and launched on them. They didn’t expect it, it threw off the rest of the session, but when we left at four a.m. on Friday morning we had an understanding that voter ID would not come up on Friday. With regard to why is it, what is the appropriateness of showing IDs? The, the Jim Baker Jimmy Carter report from several years ago was a bipartisan attempt to address this issue. What occurred in two thousand and six was an attempt to do it too fast. If some type of a Baker Carter solution is pushed through it needed to be done over a long extended period of time, such as four to six years, so that people had time to digest it. And really, as I have spent a lot of time in the communities in St, Louis and in Kansas City, have listened to the pain that this legislation, the threat was felt in the community as a result of the 2006 vote which is why Senator Callahan and I did what we did this week to try and stop it from returning.

Moderator: Mr. Wesson the next question is for Representative Harris.

Eric Wesson: Representative Harris, protector of consumers, that’s what you said in your opening statement. I watched on TV the past couple of days, I watched oil executives talk about making forty billion dollars in profits in the first three months of this year, the first quarter of this year rather. What would you do, or what will you do, if elected Attorney General, to address the gas prices in the State of Missouri? There has to be some gouging. I paid three dollars and eighty six cents for a gallon of gas today.

Jeff Harris: Sure.

Eric Wesson: What would you do to regulate that industry?

Jeff Harris: Let me address that. I want to briefly follow up though on Senator Koster’s response to the prior question. I have to tell ya, I’m not sure I agree with the predicate of Mike’s question or with Senator Koster’s response…

Eric Wesson: Okay, you’re on my time. [laughter]

Jeff Harris: Okay.

Eric Wesson: You need to answer my question.

Jeff Harris: Let me answer your question first and then I’ll follow up.

Eric Wesson: Okay.

Jeff Harris: I do think we need to strengthen our price gouging law in the State of Missouri. Right now, you know, it’s appalling. I travel all over the state, it’s appalling that we’re paying, you know, of we see a sign that says three fifty nine a gallon and we think that that’s some sort of break. And it’s appalling to me that at the very same time that we’re paying those prices at the pump that executives are making millions and millions and millions dollars. As Attorney General I want a stronger price gouging law that, that increases penalties for price gouging, for monopolistic anti-competitive behavior. I’d also like to explore the hot fuel issue. Now, having said all that, I want to follow up. I believe that Senator Koster, well, let me just say this. In troubles me that he selectively filibustered, didn’t continuously filibuster on the day before session ended. He filibustered only that village law repeal which the Speaker of the House wanted. It was his pet project, a sweetheart deal that he did it for a developer and, as a matter of fact, it’s been reported that Senator Koster met with Speaker Jetton that week. So, I have some, I have some serious concerns about Senator Koster’s repeated votes to put a photo ID law in place in 2006 and I was concerned, I have to tell you, very concerned when he was filibustering the village law repeal.

Moderator: Mr. Arce the next question is for Representative Donnelly. And I think we’ll have time for one more question for each of the three candidates.

Joe Arce: Representative Donnelly you were very concerned about the toys, in some of your information you have out there regards to toys that are coming from China, toys that are not healthy for children. Can you elaborate a little bit about that, you’re very protective of that.

Margaret Donnelly: The question leads to the over all observation that we have to have a strong Federal response to the issue of the flood of unsafe products from China and other countries. The, at the Federal level there’s been just a total dereliction of duty to provide that oversight. So states are going to have to step up to the plate and do something about it. It’s not the best response, but it is a response. And that would be to model, to have a model law based on what’s been done in eight other states. That would be the first step. And that is a children’s products safety bill. What this would do would mandate that recalls. It would mandate, would…It would have mandatory recalls because right now many of us aren’t aware that recalls at the Federal level actually do not require a retailer or manufacturer to take them out of the stream of commerce. It is a voluntary process. And so my bill would mandate that when there is a Federal recall they get off the shelves within a certain period of time. And it would give fines to the retailers for failure to do that or to properly post the notices. I had the opportunity to visit with the Attorney General in Illinois right after the flood of the recalls of toys last summer and she indicated that because they have that children’s products safety code that when they send investigators out forty per cent of the retailers still had either not removed the items or had improperly posted the recall notices. So a parent who bought it the week before wouldn’t know necessarily that that was a recalled product. So it is a response to the failure of the Federal government and I think it is an absolutely appropriate response because parents, you know feel like they’re going in and playing Russian roulette when they’re buying toys. I’ve had many parents with young kids say they just were appalled when they went through their kid’s toy boxes and found out what was in there.

Moderator: Mr. Kraske the next question is for Senator Koster.

Steve Kraske: Senator I’m not sure I quite understood Representative Harris’ statement about the filibuster at the end of the session, but it sounded kind of nefarious, what he was saying about you, selective filibuster [laughter] and that kind of thing. I want to give you a chance to respond to that. And would you also answer the same question I asked before about the differences between the three of you? You’ve already given us your resume, your job application process, tell us, but tell us why you, and not the other two, in this primary campaign.

Chris Koster: Well, well I appreciate my colleague’s insight into the inner workings of the Senate, it is, there are strategies and opportunities that are available in the Senate that are simply different that are available in the House. And at the end of the day the proof is in the pudding. The voter ID bill came through the House of Representatives and was not stopped there. But with the help of intelligent and wily colleagues of mine we were able to use creative solutions to stop the bill from coming to the floor in the Missouri Senate. And the reality is when, when we walked off the floor, and it’
s a give and take, you know, there was extraordinary anger in the building that night, and without, I hope I’m not breeching confidences, the reality is that at three in the morning I’m looking at one of my colleagues going “you know, we take this too far and it, the thing could back fire.” So, there’s a give and take in terms of how much pressure you let build up in either chamber. And I think both of us believed that somewhere around four o’clock in the morning we had run this thing as far as we were gonna go without it back firing. We walked out of the building that night with a very good solution and one that gave us confidence that actually neither abortion legislation nor voter ID would come to the Senate floor the next day.

Differences. Is that what you want [crosstalk]?

Steve Kraske: Tell us why you and not the other two.

Chris Koster: But I burned a lot of time on the first question. But let me just say, you know, I think at the end of the day it’s about experience. The office of Attorney General will either be, will either, the next occupant of that office will either steer that office or be steered by it. And the experience that comes from trying cases year in and year out throughout rural Missouri and the, in the Supreme Court, adds a depth of oversight that I think is unique to this candidacy. You can’t train someone to do that which you are not experienced in doing yourself. I’m the only candidate in this entire race, on either side of the political aisle, that has a depth of trial experience that we, that is being brought to this candidacy. Be…adding a hands on approach to the management of the attorney system, as well as being able to go into court and do it yourself, is a quality of leadership that I think that the office will benefit from.

Moderator: Mr. Mahoney the last question for Representative Harris.

Mike Mahoney: Mr. Harris, actually and we haven’t touched on this very much, Representative Harris, and that is probably the biggest thing that, that the AG’s office does and that is consumer protection. A specific reform that you would offer in consumer protection.

Jeff Harris: You bet. Well there are a lot of things that we want to do. I will push for changes in the law regarding sub prime mortgages that would give the [crosstalk], that would, that would give the Attorney General a private right of action and create a fiduciary duty on the part of lenders to act, not in their own best self interest, but in the interest of borrowers. In the Attorney General’s office, in addition, Mike, I intend to have a special counsel that will address child exploitation, that is to make sure that we have preventative measures in place and that we also have someone who can be dedicated to going after those who would take advantage of our most vulnerable kids. I also want to see us, it’s important that we preserve and protect our quality of life in the State of Missouri, and that means protecting and preserving family farms and clean water and clean air. And, which means going after confined or concentrated animal feeding operations. That will certainly be a priority of this office. In addition, it is important that the consumers of this state have a real voice in rate making and utility rate proceedings. What I want to see is the Office of Public Counsel, which is the voice of consumers, moved from the Department of Economic Development to the Attorney General’s office. There, there are fifteen other states, Mike, that, that do this. And this is consistent with the functions and the role of the office, it is, you are the people’s lawyer. The primary responsibility of the Attorney General’s office, you’re not the Jackson County or Boone County prosecutor, you are the number one consumer champion, consumer advocate, for the people of this state. And that’s why the public counsel should be in the office of the Attorney General. And on day two there’s a lot more we do, too. [laughter]

Moderator: Now we come time for closing so we can keep everybody on schedule. We will reverse the order we started with. So we will start with Representative Harris.

Jeff Harris: Well, thank you all. And thank all the panelists here and thank everyone in attendance here this evening for not just coming here, but for all of the great work that all of you do that is members of the CCP, the campaign team members here for all the candidates, and UMKC Young Democrats. Thank you for all you do for our Democratic Party. I think you’ve seen that there are clear differences between the candidates in this race and there are clear reasons to support our candidacy, my candidacy. I served. I’m the only candidate in this race to serve as an Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Jay Nixon, under a Democratic Attorney General. And as Jay Nixon, as an Assistant Attorney General under Jay, I defended the rights of public employees to collectively bargain in state government when Governor Holden’s executive order was under attack from then Senator Peter Kinder and the Chamber of Commerce and others. I was also the Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives at a very critical juncture in our state’s history. When we needed leadership, when we needed someone to fight and stand up against the hateful and immoral Medicaid cuts. And I have consistently, throughout my career in public service, fought for a level playing field. That’s what this job is all about. You know, the world these days is a little more uncertain, it’s a little more insecure, our people are a little more insecure, than we used to be. What we need in the Attorney General’s office, having had an AG that we can count on to stand up for us for the last sixteen years, what we need in the AG’s office is someone that we know, who we know will be there for us. Someone who has never wavered in his or her convictions, someone who has never wavered in his or her principles, someone who has always been there, who has been consistent in his beliefs and has a consistent and reliable record. I would be honored, I would be honored, I’ve lived in Kansas City, I understand the role the CCP plays, I would be honored to have the endorsement of the support of the CCP. As I said earlier, I’m not gonna make any promises other than to be the very same person that I’ve already been and always been as a legislator. Someone who stood up and fought the good fights, someone who responded when our party called. And I answered the call for leadership. I promise you this, I am gonna work as hard as I possibly can every single day on your behalf. Not on behalf of special interests, but on your behalf. Because I’m in public service for one very simple reason. And that’s to make this world a better place. Thank you all so much for having us here this evening. [applause]

Moderator: Senator Koster.

Chris Koster: Last year at the Attorney General’s office there were eight hundred original jurisdiction cases that were referred or brought to that office. Eight hundred cases. Four hundred of them were serious felonies. Twenty five of them were homicides. To pretend that it doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve ever argued in front of a jury, stood in the well of a court room and made a closing argument, it’s just not true. It does matter. And it matters that you can do it yourself. The next Attorney General will either steer that office or be steered by it. I’m the only candidate in this race that has walked the homicide crime scenes, overseen the forensic investigations, interrogated the killers, trained the young lawyers, made the closing arguments from rural court rooms in this state all the way to our Supreme Court, cared for the victims of brutal crimes that I’ve cared for. On June 2nd two thousand we discovered the bodies of the women that John Robinson had brutally beaten and murdered in this community, eleven women in all, in all. Forty five detectives in that case. Twelve jurisdictions came together for a period of two years to prosecute the, that case in two jurisdictions. It’s been a long time since any candidate has come f
orward with that type of experience to manage this office. I’ve managed attorneys over a ten year period in the Cass County Prosecutor’s office. And bring, hopefully, an attitude to the job and to our party of bringing people together, making sure that everyone’s issues are heard and understood, and people are, know that they can come to this table, and that they can work towards solutions that make sense and move the ball forward here in the State of Missouri. Nobody gets left out, nobody gets left behind. An Attorney General is the voice that stands in the court rooms of this state and makes the closing arguments on behalf of our people. All I have to offer the people in this room, people of our party, is the experience of someone who’s been there. And so I ask you, respectfully, to consider this candidacy, to come aboard this candidacy, and believe in the values that it has to share. [applause]

Moderator: Representative Donnelly.

Margaret Donnelly: Once again thank you to CCP, and UMKC and Young Democrats and our moderators for making this debate possible. As I said earlier in response to a question, the Attorney General’s office is the place where policy and law intersect. And the most important part of the job, as Attorney General, is to establish the direction of the office and to manage the resources. Having looked at the state budget at least half a dozen times I know those agencies that frequently interact with that office. Corrections, mental health, social services. And I can use that knowledge to take those resources to support our efforts to better protect Missouri’s families. And I will stack up my court room experience against anyone. Day in and day out I was fighting for Missouri’s families, trying cases in some of the most difficult and sometimes life threatening situations. And all of this has lead me to the point where I bring experience and judgment so that we can put Democratic values in to action. Because there will be no question that I ever had to justify a vote, or hide the fact that I supposedly did not know what I was voting for, and yet two years later, three years later, when I had a chance to reverse that, did not. And so you won’t doubt where I stand on putting those Democratic values into action. We’ve been lucky to have Jay Nixon as our Attorney General for sixteen years. I don’t know about you, but it scares me to think about turning that important office over to Republican Mike Gibbons, who for the last four years has championed the Medicaid cuts, helped to put a photo ID law into effect, and has undercut public education. We can’t have someone with that record as our Attorney General. The fate of many elections, from Harry Truman to Claire McCaskill, has hung on those late night returns from Jackson County. I need your votes to win, and I promise to represent you with the same tenacity, and integrity, and compassion that I’ve represented clients in the court room and my constituents in the capitol. I ask for your vote on August 5th. Thank you very much. [applause]

Moderator: That concludes our debate for tonight…