Holton will be a strong leader and fierce and compassionate advocate for Oregonians

By Katherine Heekin of Portland, Oregon. Katherine is an attorney and advocate for those who have been victimized by fraud. Earlier this year, Katherine was a candidate for Attorney General.

People go into politics because they either want to be somebody or do something. I want people in elected office who want to do something. At the beginning of the year, I was the third candidate for Oregon’s Attorney General. Now there are two: Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum. I’m endorsing Dwight because he believes, as I do, that lawyers and politicians should serve others, not self-interest or special interests.

I want an Attorney General who has the courage of his convictions as Holton has shown in bringing civil rights lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate excessive force by the Portland Police and in taking action against human trafficking and in speaking out against bullying of gays while he was U.S. Attorney.

I’ve spent much of my 17 years as a lawyer in Oregon fighting for and protecting small businesses and individuals when they have been victims of fraud. Dwight has been a champion for consumers, successfully going after mortgage and securities fraud to protect people’s homes and life savings. He has held corporate polluters accountable – including jailing a CEO – and ensured that the fines collected went to restoring Oregon’s environment. Right now, when the deck seems to be stacked against the middle class and those who struggle to get by, Dwight consistently holds liars and cheaters accountable.

As a woman and a mother, I appreciate Holton’s strong advocacy for some of the most vulnerable Oregonians. He has targeted sex offenders who use the Internet to prey on children and protected the victims of domestic violence by working to get guns out of the hands of their abusers. He understands that we have to invest in “drug reentry” programs so that we have fewer repeat offenders in our prisons and more dollars for educating our children.

Like many women in this state, I long for the day when a woman will serve as Oregon’s first female Attorney General, and I have tremendous respect for retired judge Ellen Rosenblum. I’ve appeared in her courtroom, where she consistently showed that she is smart and fair, and I have watched her mentor many women in the law over the years.

The difference maker is leadership. Dwight has run a complex legal organization in Oregon as former U.S. Attorney, supervising 4 offices and 115 professionals throughout the state, with a budget of over $11 million a year, and increased the number of women in leadership roles. Rosenblum does not have the same kind of experience.

Moreover, in politics and the law, it is commonplace to sink your teeth into your opponent, but Dwight killed me with kindness during the campaign, which turned out to be disarmingly effective. In the legal community and within the Department of Justice, there are a lot of ruffled feathers because of perceived mismanagement by the current Attorney General.

Holton has the temperament and political savvy to smooth those feathers and transform the department into a well-run group of fierce and compassionate advocates for the people of Oregon. That is why, now that I am not a candidate, I have decided to add my voice to the many who believe Dwight Holton is the clear choice for Attorney General.

Comments

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    He's gonna be real fierce in going after those marijuana growers and users.

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    He's going to be a good manager of the largest law firm in the State, enforcing all of the laws. The idea that he's going to have any kind of particular focus on marijuana growers/users is ridiculous.

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        Yes, you make a ridiculous assumption, that a specific response to a specific, narrow question, is the equivalent of the candidate stating his priorities. If you look at his website, I think you'll find no mention of prosecuting marijuana growers and users. He does talk about dealing with substance abuse, particularly of prescription medications, "by supporting treatment and prevention efforts," but nothing that could give anyone the belief that he's got any kind of particular focus on marijuana. http://www.holtonfororegon.com/about/

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          Oregon's medical marijuana policy is relatively progressive. Your man was asked a very simple question and gave a clear response. He called it a "train wreck." It's in no way "ridiculous" to conclude that Holton may place some "focus" on a policy that he labeled a "train-wreck." And judging by other comments, I'm not the only one connecting the dots. Instead of acting like an attorney and constructing any argument you can to protect your guy, try to act like a citizen and take a more honest approach to your analysis.

          People who understand the stupidity of marjuana prohibition also understand that our MM policy is a good step in the right direction...not a train wreck. His comments on MM do not reflect the judgment or priorities Oregon deserves.

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        And Joshua, I think you'll find that as a judge, Judge Rosenblum also enforced the laws -- here's one affirming convictions of a medical marijuana user! http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A123462.htm

        All of which is why this isn't about singling out any particular law you do or don't like; the Attorney General is the head of the largest law firm in the State, and needs to be experienced in that sort of practice. Which is why, despite having great respect for Judge Rosenblum, I'll be voting for Dwight Holton.

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          Apples and Oranges.

          Of course as a judge you have to enforce the law of the land with whatever cases are brought before you. An AG sets priorities, chooses what roads to go down and what roads not to go down. The two candidates where asked a very clear question and gave very different answers which reflect different world views.

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        Dwight Holton has my vote. Why? Because as soon as he was appointed Acting U.S. Attorney Holton announced he,the governor and the Oregon Attorney General John Kroger would summon the CEO's of major drug companies to a Summit on Prescription Drug abuse.

        A column in the WWeek stated, "Oregon has the fifth highest rate of prescription painkiller abuse in the country and is the state with the highest rate of presciption drug abuse among 18 to 25 year-olds.

        According to the Oregonian, "a 2009 survey of drug abuse, precription drugs outpaced marijuana in 2008 and 2009 as the first drug used by people 12 years old and older."

        I attended one of the Prescription Drug Summits Holton held throughout the state because I felt as the school board chair of the 10th largest district in the state I needed to understand the presciption drug ssues to inform possible future board policies.

        I learned that Oregon was one of only 10 states that lacked a precription monitoring program until Dwight Holton became the acting U. S. attorney. Bravo Holton.

        Katherine Heekin nailed it in her column. She's had the advantage of observing both candidates in their professional capacities. Management experience of a large organization is the deal breaker.

        On a more personal level, my chats with Dwight Holton reveal an awesome sense of humor, humilty, and clear smart thinking. He is the person we need for Oregon in the Attorney General's office.

        Oregon's medical marijuana policy is a train wreck. Holton will address the issue in a smart fair way. Vote for Holton!

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          "Oregon's medical marijuana policy is a train wreck."

          Mind providing some explanation for this claim?

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            What a bizarre litmus test, to pick one of the least-enforced laws, and suggest that it should be the determining issue for the Attorney General race.

            And sorry to be such a lawyer about it but, well, logic, reason, analysis, forest-for-the-trees, etc.

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              There you go again, making stuff up, changing the argument, and misleading.

              Nobody said anything about a litmus test except you. Drug policy is a very important issue which means that the candidates views on drug policy are important as well. That said, I will be voting for EB based on a variety of factors, many listed here by other commenters. Just because our discussion has focused on drug policy doesn't mean that it's the only factor that matters. That's your tortured "logic."

              My lawyer analogy wasn't about simply using the skills any attorney would use, i.e.,"logic, reason, analysis," it was how you are blindly using them to defend your candidate of choice. But why let the facts get n the way of your arguments now?

              As you continue to make comments inferring your intellectual superiority, your arrogance and petulance is shining through.

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                It's not intellect, it's really simplicity. Drug policy is important, and policymakers definitely should continue to address the big picture of drug policy. An AG should not. It's not arrogant, but perhaps it is petulant, to refer you to the three branches of government for guidance on this.

                As for the argument, you're the one who keeps citing Holton saying that the state's marijuana policy is a train wreck. My point was simply that it's unduly myopic to suggest that his comment is his platform.

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                  But he draws a line in the sand with the 60,000 medical marijuana patients in this State as well as with their caregivers and providers. He has already attacked the program as US Attorney when he clearly had bigger fish to fry: those mega-grows in the National forests are not run by medical marijuana patients, they are run by the folks Mr. Holton was SUPPOSED to be focusing his energy on.

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              Drug policy touches on every other aspect of policy and marijuana policy is one of the top drivers of our budget problems. I don't plan to vote for President specifically because President Obama has allowed his subordinates to continue in Bush policies that he officially reversed, and has not brought those dogs to heel. I didn't vote for Gov Kitzhaber or for Chris Dudley because as a marijuana user it would have been a choice between Dumb and Dumber. I will not allow my vote to be taken for granted, and marijuana law reform is my deal-breaker issue.

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      Didn't he have a particular focus on it as the US Attorney for the Oregon? Doesn't sound so ridiculous to me.

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        No he did not have a focus on marijuana as the US Attorney. He did what was required by law, but it was definitely not a priority.

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      I personally got three threatening letters from Mr. Holton last year in regards to medical marijuana and helping people get Safe Access under Oregon's medical marijuana laws. And I don't understand how the US Attorney has time to harass disabled people when the heroin problem has been so out of control in Oregon that we have had overdose spikes 4 out of the last 5 years - it isn't like heroin is made here in Oregon, after all. Way to kill at least a 100 jobs, Dwight.

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      I'm totally open to both candidates at this stage, btw.

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      Perhaps legislators, across party lines, should convene a session (or debate a bill), about the State's law and policy toward marijuana. Because we're talking about making good public policy. Almost by definition, looking to the AG, to create policy by selective enforcement, is a bad public policy idea.

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        I agree that selective enforcement would be bad, Jonathan. I suspect Holton will not say he has plans to do this.

        I do think however that if he has plans to emphasize medical marijuana enforcement over other things, he should say so.

        Frankly, they both ought to tell us their priorities.

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        Although there were no bills relating to medical marijuana in the Short Session we just had, there were 35 bills in the previous Session - all of them attacks against the program and all of them voiciferously opposed by throngs on patients. The War on Drugs is a major failure in policy and people are sick of it. This election is going to be about marijuana policy more than anyone wants it to be. But the issue is too hot to sit on anymore.

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        And what if the legalization measure(s) pass in November? They will only have 6 months to reconcile all of the laws relating to marijuana: that should make them debate some marijuana policy!

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        It's not about selective enforcement as much as it is about priorities in a time of limited resources. There are REAL criminals in Oregon, and Dwight has attacked the disabled community instead of going after them: it makes it look like his priorities are not right.

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      If you really believe that "the primary role of the Attorney General is to manage a full-service law firm" then you perhaps you should support Ellen Rosenblum. If you want an Attorney General who views his primary role as seeking justice for the citizens of the state (It is the Department of Justice by the way.)then you should support Dwight Holton.

      The Oregon constitution made the Attorney General an elected office. I must presume the intent was that there would be an independent legal voice. If all we needed was the manager of the state law firm then the job should be appointed by the Governor like the other department managers. I want an Attorney General who sees his clients as the citizens of the state, not just the administrative department managers. I suspect that most of the citizens of Oregon want an activist Attorney General, not a passive one.

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        Actually, the office of attorney general isn't in the constitution. It is a statutory statewide office like the labor commissioner.

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          Thanks. I didn't know that. The press doesn't seem to know either. My impression is that they always refer to the statewide offices as constitutional.

          I don't think my point about the role is changed however.

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        Mr. Calhoun is, of course, correct: The Attorney General is not just another government manager. The Attorney General must both manage the state's legal affairs and, as an elected official, make policy decisions that represent and are in the best interest of Oregonians. The two points I wanted to emphasize in my comment are (1) The Attorney General is not simply a "super DA" -- her responsibilities are much broader than just enforcing criminal laws and, in fact, that responsibility is primarily that of the county district attorneys; and (2) Because the AG must represent the interests of Oregonians, it is crucial that she understand those interests and be committed to them.

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    I'm skeptical of Holton because his current office is associated with the national security apparatus. I don't think "government of the people, by the people, for the people" flies very far there.

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    People tend to focus their energy on things they are familiar with, and utilize the tools and structures they believe have been successful in the past.

    Mr. Holton is a career prosecutor, so I think it's fair to believe he may be more likely to focus his office, and personal energy, on crime and punishment, and the types of remedies that he believes have been successful in resolving the problems he's faced in the past.

    Judge Rosenblum has a much broader range of experience and professional expertise, so maybe she sees more angles to issues and problems. And more ways to manage and solve those problems.

    I also look at ORESTAR and check out who is financially supporting which candidate. Judge Rosenblum appears to have broader and deeper support among the local bar members.

    I'm still undecided. But leaning Judge Rosenblum for these reasons. FWIW

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      Rob, if you are judging Dwight based upon the stereotypical prosecutor you need to meet him and hear his views. Dwight's mode is to try to prevent crime and open lines of communication with communities, not to focus on throwing people in jail. So using your thought process, he will focus his office and personal energy to try to find remedies to bring people together and increase treatment for drug addicts rather than extend prison sentences. He tries to go to the root of the problem, not just use punishment.

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        I actually understand the culture of prosecutors pretty well. I was one and I know many. Almost all believe to some extent in treatment and social services as well as punishment. There just happens to be a range. So I'm not surprised by what you say about Mr. Holtons views.

        Some prosecutors I respect and know endorse Mr. Holton enthusiastically. So there's that.

        But...I haven't made up my mind because I don't know enough about the candidates specific views and will wait for more information.

        However I can't ignore the breadth of experiences of these candidates. I happen to believe that the culture surrounding your professional maturation does influence your thinking and how you view people, problems, and solutions. Judge Rosenblum has the breadth of experience that I believe is important for the AG office. So she has a head start on my ballot.

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          In the past 25 years, how many lawyers has Judge Rosenblum hired and managed? I think the answer, during her judicial tenure, is one at a time. (And that's not a knock, because that's what a good judge does in this state, but it's not a qualification for AG.)

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            Well, I hope that most times she managed at least two lawyers at a time...

            Even the AG doesn't manage a hundred attorneys. S/he manages maybe six. Who in turn manage 10, etc. And, how many people did Barak Obama manage before he was elected President?

            But, I would agree that Mr. Holtons management experience, as brief as it was, is superior to Judge. Rosenblum's. Managing attorneys is like herding cats, so, it's an important skill for an AG. I don't know it that outweighs the other advantages I believe Judge Rosenbum has in this matchup. Maybe.

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