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Letter: Where was Stenehjem as Attorney General?

By Staff | May 27, 2016

Normally, I would applaud a candidate for coming out in favor of criminal justice reform-our state is in dire need of it. We have skyrocketing incarceration rates, enormous drug problems, and have a system where a 20-year old college student caught selling $80 of marijuana can be threatened with 40 years in prison unless he serves as a confidential informant.

I will not applaud Wayne Stenehjem for his newfound support of criminal justice reform.

Why? Because he’s spent the last 16 years as Attorney General and this topic wasn’t worthy of his attention until he needed to pander for votes. Maybe this makes me a cynic, but my perception is that if this was an issue Stenehjem truly cared about, he would have been its champion during his career as Attorney General. I think that’s a fair interpretation.

Criminal justice reform-and the related issues of mental health and addiction-deserve to be made a priority. Stenehjem has not made it one in the past, and we shouldn’t let his campaign talking points fool us into believing that he will make it one in the future.

Susan McGaffigan


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