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Contreras Says Attorney General Needs to Get Out More

Lou Gum
January Contreras says the state's top legal official should visit rural parts of the state more often.

Democrat January Contreras is a first time candidate for public office as she seeks to become the state’s next Attorney General.  Contreras faces incumbent Republican Mark Brnovich in the general election.

The fourth generation Arizonan says a family tradition of giving is what first led her to a legal career where she focused on women, children and the elderly as a prosecutor in Maricopa County, in private practice, and later as an advisor to Governor Janet Napolitano.

Contreras says the role of the State Attorney General has changed in recent years.  She says traditionally the position has been the least partisan position in state government.

“I think we need to get back to that,” Contreras says. “As I watch our current Attorney General sue to take away health care from Arizonans.  He’s suing to eliminate the only protections that exist for people with preexisting health conditions.”

"You should consider [the Attorney General] your local lawyer, because in fact that is what we should be." - January Contreras (D), Candidate for Arizona Attorney General

Contreras says a better approach for the state’s top lawyer is to take the position that is best for all residents of Arizona. She says if something harms Arizonans, like losing access to health care, then the Attorney General should be on the side of the people.

Citing his involvement in a case that challenged a California law that would require a Koch Brothers Network organization, Americans for Prosperity, to reveal its donors, Contreras says Brnovich is involved in all the wrong litigation.

“Where we need to be?  On issues where attorneys general around the country are taking the lead, like on the opioid epidemic,” she says.

Brnovich has made an effort on that front, Contreras admits, but only in the last year.  Contreras says the AG’s office could do a lot more, including getting out more to different parts of the state.

“We used to have a tradition of ‘Attorney General on Your Side.’ Not always the attorney general, but staff, would come out once a quarter and meet in a library or other public space where people could bring their concerns and their questions,” she says.

Contreras believes the Arizona Attorney General needs to be accessible to state residents.  She says the office needs to meet with people to know what issues are impacting their communities.

“You should consider it your local lawyer, because in fact that is what we should be,” she says.

The general election is November 6th.  Polls in early October showed Brnovich with a double digit lead over his Democratic rival.  The Contreras Campaign released the results of its own polling October 22.  The poll of 817 registered likely voters in the state showed Contreras just one point behind Republican Mark Brnovich.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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