Republican Incumbent Bill Schuette currently serves as Michigan’s 53rd attorney general and graduated from Georgetown University and obtained his law degree from the University of San Francisco.
Democratic challenger MARK TOTTEN is a professor at MSU College of Law and a former Federal Prosecutor, U.S. Appeals Court clerk, and Justice Department attorney. He received both his law degree from Yale Law School and PhD in Ethics from Yale University.
Describe your qualifications and experience for the office of Attorney General and explain your reasons for running.
Schutte: No candidate for attorney general has had a greater breadth of experience. Following service as a congressman, state senator, director of the Department of Agriculture and judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals, I have served with honor as Michigan’s 53rd Attorney General for nearly four years. I feel now, as I did four years ago, that public safety in Michigan must be improved for Michigan to move forward and that is why I am running for reelection as your Attorney General.
Totten: I’m running because Michigan families deserve an Attorney General who will protect them from crime – street crime as well as economic crimes – and never let partisan interests get in the way. For the past four years we’ve lost our way, as the office has waged one extreme partisan crusade after another leaving every family less safe. As a prosecutor I protected the public from armed criminals, women from domestic abusers, children from sexual predators, and seniors from predatory lenders. As Attorney General I’ll focus on what matters most: taking on the criminals and powerful interests that threaten our families.
Which advisory and enforcement responsibilities of the Attorney General’s office will need the most attention and resources in the next four years, and how would you address them?
Schuette: As Michigan’s chief law enforcement officer, my priority is public safety and serving as a voice for the victims of crime, and the constitution. We must increase the number of police by at least 1,000, keep violent criminals behind bars, stop the scourge of human trafficking and ensure the testing and prosecution of abandoned rape DNA evidence kits in Michigan. Defending our constitution is part of the oath I took and I have fought to do so, including protecting the Natural Resources Trust Fund, the equal admission clause and the pensions of public safety officers, and
will do so in the future.
Totten: As a prosecutor I helped strengthen the law against child predators and I’ll work to make sure kids are safe. I will go after sex offenders who fail to register and aggressively prosecute crimes against kids. I’ll take on corporations that profit while harming Michigan families. When corporations pay women less than men they’ll answer to me. I’ll fight to overturn the law – passed by my opponent – that leaves victims powerless if they are harmed or killed by defective medicine. I’ll lead the charge to strengthen consumer protection laws. I’ll protect our Great Lakes, holding corporate polluters accountable.
What recommendations would you make to the State Legislature for improving the administration of justice in Michigan?
Schuette: Being careful about any revisit of sentencing guidelines. The safety of our streets and schools is key to our recovery. And, we must continue to secure justice for victims and their families. Victims were made a promise by the criminal justice system that those who were convicted of crimes would kept behind bars.
Second, the legislature should increase the number of police. We remain thousands of officers short compared to a few years ago and this has repercussions for public safety, longer 911 response times, a feeling that criminals can act with impunity, but also in fewer crimes being discovered or reported.
Totten: As AG I will work with the legislature to protect families. I will prioritize repealing the law, passed by my opponent, which leaves victims helpless when they are harmed or killed by defective prescription drugs. This law was a handout to pharmaceutical companies and
has left every family less safe. I will also lead the fight to restore the MI Consumer Protection Act, This once strong law signed by Governor Milliken was gutted by the courts and my opponent has refused to defend it, leaving every family less safe. I will partner with the legislature to strengthen laws that protect kids against internet crimes.