ALAN POGUE the state of Texas. That you’re slamming the jailhouse door, you’re putting people in jail. To me, that is, I want to say, intellectually dishonest. I don’t want to create the false impression that John Odam, as attorney general, has responsibilities that are not there. The other aspect of it, that you have to recognize, is that the attorney general handled the Ruiz case on prison overcrowding. Now we have jail overcrowding. I think the attorney general should play a leadership role on seeing what can be done to solve the county jail overcrowding. So another thing I proposed is that we look into use of existing facilities, such as hospitals or schools that are not being used, particularly in the rural areas. Rather than building a lot pf new prisons, to see what existing facilities that have been shut down because of the rural-health-care crisis could be converted so that you could ease the county-jail overcrowding by having the prisoners go to these, probably, more minimum-security facilities. So, that leadership role on the state prison and county jail system, and the crime strike force, are some of the ideas that I proposed. Would you be in favor of alternative sentencing to keep non-violent prisoners out of maximum-security prisons by using things like electronic monitoring Yes. There are political decisions as to what cases will be litigated and what cases settled. How about cases like the Ruiz case, the Edgewood v. Kirby case? Did they need to be litigated all the way through? Or could there have been a settlement on say, Edgewood v. Kirby? Would you have chosen to defend the state in those cases, or would you have considered settling those cases? and responsibility in the AG’s office. So you need to free up some of that, so that you can devote more time and attention in the AG’s office to do some of these other things that I’m talking about. Are there matching federal funds that have not been taken advantage of Not that I’m aware. No. You mentioned drug enforcement, which is also part of your campaign. What do you see as the role that the AG’s office could play in solving the drug problem? Well, first of all, you have to take the proposition that I know from my experience that the AG’s office is basically an enforcer of civil laws, environmental, consumer-protection, and child support [laws]. I recognize that. Second of all, I think that the role of the attorney general is to provide assistance to local prosecutors, local investigators, local police, through what I propose to see us set up: a drug-enforcement strike 8 JANUARY 26, 1990 force. So that in the attorney general’s office there would be an increased number of investigators, an increased number of prosecutors, that could work with the local DAs and county sheriffs on their responsibilities to investigate cases and to make the cases. That’s the number one thing. The second thing that I propose is that the taxes that have been assessed on illegal drugs that was recently passed in the last Legislaturebe allocated to the attorney general’s office for the purpose of a grant program. So the monies that are confiscated from illegal drugs could then be distributed as grants to local law enforcement. Another thing I proposed was that there be set up what I call a Drug Free ,Texas Foundation, so that the attorney general’s office would seek money from the private sector to be set up in a foundation with the attorney general, the lieutenant governor, the governor, appointing people to the board. And then those monies be made available to the private sector. Sometimes, as we all know, in attorney general races, there is the improper perception that you’re the chief district attorney for The number-one responsibility of the attorney general and the office is the responsibility that no one else can undertake. That is, whether you agree with the laws or disagree with them, you don’t make the laws. The Legislature does. You’re the only one there who has to take the hit for defending the laws. So I start with the basic proposition that whether I agree with them personally or philosophically, or disagree, that to maintain the integrity of the office, you’ve got to defend the laws. Secondly, I’ve tried enough lawsuits over the last 20 years that I don’t like to prosecute cases that I’m going to lose. I don’t like to lose anything in politics or in lawsuits. And I don’t like to tlefend cases that I keep getting bounced on. I don’t care if it’s a workers’ compensation case or I’m representing some individual it’s just not right to decline to keep beating a dead horse to pursue it. So I guess what I’m saying is that I start with the philosophy that you gotta defend it. But at the same time, the attorney general’s role comes back to what I said before. You’re elected by the people to protect the public interest and you’ve got to take
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