Christine Gregoire has given the state capable leadership as Washington’s attorney general. She deserves re-election.
It is a measure of the Democrat’s abilities that she received only token opposition from Republicans. She is opposed by Richard Pope, who also ran against her four years ago. He says that he tried to encourage others to run this time but felt that Gregoire should not be re-elected without major party opposition. Pope asserts he could bring greater professionalism to the office, but there is nothing in his record as an attorney practicing alone in Shoreline to suggest that he has the experience to manage an important state agency.
Although widely respected, Gregoire herself has faced challenges keeping the department on track. The biggest problem has been the notorious failure of the state’s attorneys to file a timely appeal on a $17 million judgment to three men who said they were abused at a licensed group home. Although Gregoire initially tried to cast a good share of the blame elsewhere, she now has plans for improvements that will provide better tracking of critical deadlines.
Despite that costly blunder by her office, Gregoire has done an excellent job over two terms in office. She was a key leader in the states’ efforts to hold tobacco companies accountable for health care costs. Virtually unique among the states, in fact, Washington has kept to its commitments to put its tobacco settlement toward health-related expenditures. That’s a credit to both Republican and Democratic legislators and to Gregoire’s work with them. She also worked hard on school safety issues and consumer protection, while negotiating forcefully with the federal government over the cleanup of Hanford. As a leader among attorneys general nationwide, she has helped push privacy protection issues back into the spotlight.
The administration of an office of more than 400 attorneys will always be a challenging job. Gregoire has proven that she can be counted upon to serve well. And she is the best choice for making further improvements.
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