Life often brings the realization that something must be done just because it is the right thing to do. Such a time arose for my wife Karen and me this past spring when I concluded that I should enter the race for Attorney General.
For nearly 150 years, Mississippi has waited for the opportunity to elect a conservative Republican to the office of Attorney General to man the post of the toughest job in state government. This year, we have that opportunity and we must get it right.
Mississippi’s Attorney General should be a genuine conservative
When I served as Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel to Governor Kirk Fordice, I watched firsthand as Democrat Attorney General Mike Moore actively worked to oppose the business-friendly policies Governor Fordice was pushing, and I frequently was called upon to stand in Mike Moore’s place when he refused to carry out the responsibility of the office of Attorney General to defend the Governor’s decisions.
My opponent, instead, chose to work as Mike Moore’s assistant.
Over the past sixteen years, I have watched Jim Hood turn the office of Attorney General into a plaintiffs’ law firm, handing out lawsuits to his campaign supporters to make millions of dollars by suing businesses in the name of the State of Mississippi.
Our state has a perfectly effective civil legal system in place where plaintiffs may bring their personal claims on their own behalf without the unfair benefit of using the weight of the entire State of Mississippi as a hammer for Mr. Hood’s plaintiffs’ lawyer friends. I do not believe the Office of the Attorney General should be used as a battering ram against our state’s businesses.
My opponent, on the other hand, has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign support from the very plaintiffs’ lawyers who give to Jim Hood and kept him in office for the past sixteen years.
Mississippi’s Attorney General should be an experienced, actively practicing lawyer
I have actively practiced law for the past 34 years. In the past two years alone, I have argued before the state’s highest appellate courts—the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals—as well as the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. I have tried many jury trials to verdict. I argued in favor of Voter ID before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—the federal appellate court where constitutional challenges of Mississippi’s statutes are supposed to be argued by the Mississippi Attorney General.
For too long, our Attorney General has outsourced his cases, choosing to “manage” rather than actively protect the interests of Mississippi taxpayers. As Mississippi’s Attorney General, I will show up in the courtroom on your behalf, myself. And I have the experience to do it well.
My opponent, on the other hand, has not litigated a single case in over twenty years.
The last brief I filed with the Mississippi Supreme Court was five weeks ago. The last one my opponent filed was nearly 25 years ago.
Mississippi’s Attorney General should be a wise steward of our state’s law enforcement resources
For the past six months, I have traveled our state telling Mississippians of the loss of our son to suicide and drugs, and presenting my plan for pushing the resources of the office of Attorney General—the state’s top law enforcement official—to local law enforcement officers battling the scourge of drugs on the streets.
My wife Karen and I have learned over the past seven years since losing Brad that there is a difference between victims and predators. I have a plan for nailing the drug predators by ensuring that our law enforcement officers have every resource they need. And I also understand the need to redeem and restore victims, through tools like the drug courts that we need to put in place statewide.
My opponent, on the other hand, offers a vague promise to be “strong on crime.”
Mississippi will elect its first Republican Attorney General this year. We have to get it right.
I knew when I stepped into this race last March that it would not be easy. People told me I started too late, that I couldn’t raise enough money, that my opponents were too strong, that people would disagree with my positions.
And yet, here we are, days away from the runoff for the Republican nomination for Attorney General.
I knew that I would have to fight and claw with every ounce of strength the Lord would give me to finish this race. But I knew that it was time to do what needed to be done because it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.
I am ready to be the business-minded conservative, the practicing lawyer, and the wise steward of the state’s law enforcement resources that our state needs. I need your help on August 27 to do it.
» ANDY TAGGART is a candidate for Attorney General for the State of Mississippi.
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