Q. What, if anything, can the attorney general do to strengthen the state's drug enforcement effort?
A. As attorney general, I have proposed and seen passed into law an anti-drug battle plan, that included creation of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's 18-member drug strike force. This strike force is intended to target upper-level distributors and illegal drug manufacturers. Other elements of the battle plan passed into law include an attack on the increase in manufacture, distribution and possession of methamphetamines through increased penalties.
I understand that while law enforcement initiatives are important in fighting the war on drugs, education among our youth is a critical weapon. That is why I work with drug education programs in our schools.
Q. Does the state need stricter sentencing for convicted felons? What specific changes, if any, do you favor in Kansas sentencing guidelines.
A. As chairman of the Kansas Sentencing Commission, I am in favor of implementing a grid system that sets the same sentence for every crime no matter who commits the crime. My objective and the objective of the sentencing commission is to put some order and uniformity into criminal sentencing and to make certain that the same crime under similar circumstances draws essentially the same sentence, no matter who the judge is, who the criminal is or where the criminal lives.
Q. Do you support the death penalty? If so, what crimes should be subject to the death penalty?
Q. I am a strong advocate of capital punishment and believe that those who commit first-degree murder and premeditated felony murder should be subject to the death penalty.
I believe the most violent of criminals should never return to our society and disagreement over capital punishment should not deter this goal. To that end I supported the adoption of a hard 40-year life sentence, without possiblity of parole, for the most violent of offenders which was passed by the Legislature in the 1990 session.
Q. Do you think the state's consumer protection efforts are adequate? If not, what should be done to better protect the state's consumers?
A. I believe the consumer protection division of my office is very effective in resolving consumer complaints and mediating disputes between businesses and consumers. In my 12 years in office, more than $22 million has been recovered for 50,000 consumers. In addition to resolving complaints, my staff and I travel all over the state educating Kansans about how to be good consumers.
During my next term in office I would like to see legislation passed that would increase the penalty for violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act against senior citizens. The penalty is now $2,000 and I would like to see that raised to $10,000.
Q. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as attorney general?
Q. First, I would like to see the role of the office of attorney general in environmental issues enlarged. I would appoint a citizens task force to look into environmental matters concerning the state and to suggest legislation of benefit to the environment.
Second, I would continue the good working relationship and assistance to local law enforcement officers and county and district attorneys in enforcement of drug statutes.
Third, I would continue fighting for the rights of victims of crime to make certain that victims are not left out of any part of the criminal justice process.