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YCQM - T.J. Donovan - April 8, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - T.J. Donovan - April 8, 2012

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

April 8, 2012 -- T.J. Donovan joins Jennifer Reading and Darren Perron to discuss his run for Vermont attorney general.

TRANSCRIPT:

>> THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME".

>> GOOD MORNING, AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. I'M DARREN PERRON. OUR NEWSMAKER THIS MORNING IS T.J. DONOVAN, WHO WANTS TO BE OUR NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL.

>> JOINING IN THE QUESTIONING THIS MORNING IS JENNIFER READING.

>> YOU HAVE ANNOUNCED YOU ARE SEEKING THE STATE'S TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT JOB.

>> FIRST OF ALL, JENNIFER, HAPPY EASTER, AND THANKS FOR ASKING ME. BILL SOR CELL A GOOD PERSON, AND HE HAS DONE -- BILL SORRELL IS A GOOD PERSON, AND HE HAS DONE SOME GOOD THINGS, BUT VERMONT HAS CHANGED SINCE 1997, PARTICULARLY IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, AND WE ARE FACING ENORMOUS CHALLENGES IN THIS STATE, WHETHER REGARDING ENERGY, CHALLENGES REGARDING HEALTHCARE, OR WHETHER IT'S CHALLENGES REGARDING PUBLIC SAFETY, I THINK IT'S TIME FOR NEW IDEAS, NEW ENERGY, NEW ENGAGEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL.

>> TELL US THIS: YOU TALK ABOUT CHANGE HERE, AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE CURRENT IDEAS? WHAT'S WRONG WITH HOW THINGS ARE GOING AT THIS POINT?

>> WELL, I'M RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE BECAUSE I WANT TO BRING A NEW APPROACH. I'M NOT GOING TO RUN AGAINST BILL BUT FOR THE OFFICE, AND I'M GOING TO ADVOCATE AND TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES I CARE ABOUT. VERMONT YANKEE OBVIOUSLY IS A BIG ISSUE. I HOPE VERMONT WINS IN THE SECOND CIRCUIT. I THINK VERMONT YANKEE SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN. THE OLDEST NUCLEAR POWER FACILITY, I THINK, IN THE WORLD IS 44 YEARS OLD. VERMONT YANKEE JUST TURNED 40. I THINK THIS FACILITY IS GOING TO SHUT DOWN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, WHETHER IT'S THROUGH LEGAL ACTION THROUGH THE COURTS OR POSSIBLY BECAUSE OF AN ECONOMIC DECISION BY THEIR OWN OWNERS, ENTERGY, LOUISIANA. I WOULD BE FOCUSED ON THE DECOMMISSIONING FUND. THIS PLANT WILL SHUT DOWN. IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF WHEN OR IF BUT, IT'S A QUESTION OF WHEN. I'VE HEARD THAT THE DECOMMISSIONING FUNDS IS GOING TO COST US UPWARDS OF A BILLION DOLLARS. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE VERMONT TAXPAYER IS PROTECTED. ENTERGY LOUISIANA SHOULD PAY FOR THE DECOMMISSIONING OF VERMONT YANKEE, PERIOD. AS THE ROLE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL ON THAT ISSUE, THAT WOULD BE MY FOCUS. CERTAINLY IS THE SECOND CIRCUIT, I THINK WE ALL CAN CONCEDE, EVEN IF WE ARE SUCCESSFUL THERE, ALL ROADS LEAD TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND IT'S A VERY CONSERVATIVE COURT RIGHT NOW. ON THE ISSUE OF HEALTHCARE, WE NEED TO BE ENGAGED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE WITH THE LEGISLATURE AS THEY CRAFT THIS BILL. WE HAVE TO WATCH WHAT HAPPENS, OF COURSE, FROM THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, ON THEIR DECISION ON THE FEDERAL HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL THAT'S UNDER REVIEW RIGHT NOW BY THE COURT. THAT'S GOING TO IMPACT WHAT WE DO HERE IN VERMONT. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE HAVE TO BE INVOLVED, WE'VE GOT TO DO THE ANALYSIS UP FRONT, WE'VE GOT TO DO THE SCRUTINY UP FRONT, WE HAVE TO ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS, AND WHAT I'M PROPOSING, I THINK WE HAVE THE BEST LEGISLATURE IN THE NATION. THEY'RE PROGRESSIVE, INNOVATIVE, THEY'RE PROTECTING VERMONTERS EVERY DAY. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD BE WITH THEM, WORKING ON THAT BILL, CRAFTING, ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS, TRULY ACTING AS AN ATTORNEY, COUNSELOR, ADVISER. WHEN THAT BILL IS PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW, WHEN WE GET SUED -- WE'LL GET SUED WHEN WE PASS HEALTHCARE REFORM. WHEN WE GET SUED, WE WIN. WE HAVE TO WORK ON THE BIG CASES.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT VERMONT YANKEE. A BIG LOSS FOR THE STATE. DO YOU THINK MISTAKES WERE MADE IN THE A.G. OFFICE AND THAT'S WHY WE LOST THAT IN COURT?

>> LET ME SAY THIS, I DON'T THINK ANY LAWYER BATS A THOUSAND, SO I DON'T THINK IT'S FAIR TO CRITICIZE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE LOSS OF THAT CASE. I THINK GOING FORWARD, THIS CASE IS GOING TO GO ON FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS IN THE COURTS, ZBEN, WHETHER IN THE SIRKD -- AGAIN, WHETHER IN THE SECOND CIRCUIT, IT'S GOING TO GO ON FOR YEARS, SO I DON'T THINK IT MAKES ANY SENSE TO LOOK BACK AND SAY WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED DIFFERENTLY. I THINK IT MAKES SENSE TO LOOK FORWARD AND SAY WHAT CAN WE DO TO PROTECT VERMONTERS AND THE VERMONT TAXPAYER. I COME FROM A VERY COMMON-SENSE PERSPECTIVE ON THIS, SAYING THE OLDEST NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN THE WORLD IS 44 YEARS OLD, WE'RE AT 40, IT'S NOT LONG BEFORE THIS THINGS CLOSES, WHETHER IT'S AN ECONOMIC DECISION BY ITS OWN OWNERS, OR AN ECONOMIC DECISION, LET'S PROTECT THE VERMONT TAXPAYERS.

>> THERE WAS ALSO CAMPAIGN FINANCE DATA MINING. WHY WERE THESE CASES INDEFENSIBLE?

>> AS WE GO FORWARD, REALLY, THE ROLE OF AN ATTORNEY, AS ANYBODY WILL TELL YOU, IS TO ACT AS THAT COUNSELOR, THAT ADVISER. THE CLIENT IN THIS CONTEXT IS THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE. CERTAINLY THERE IS LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL. WHAT I AM ADVOCATING IS THAT WE COMPLEMENT LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS THE LAWYER FOR THE STATE OF VERMONT. WHEN THE LEGISLATURE IS ENGAGED IN CRAFTING THESE BILLS, WE SHOULD BE INVOLVED. WE SHOULD BE ENGAGED. AND THE RULE OF -- THE ROLE OF COUNSELOR AND ADVISER SOMETIMES IS TO SAY "NO." TO DO THAT ANALYSIS, TO ENGAGE IN THAT TOUGH SCRUTINY OF THE BILL, SO WHEN IT IS SIGNED, IT BECOMES LAW. YOU WIN BY PREPARATION AND DOING THE WORK UP FRONT. GOING FORWARD -- THE WORLD HAS CHANGED. I THINK EVERYBODY WILL ADMIT THAT, AND I THINK, AGAIN, WE HAVE A GREAT LEGISLATURE WHO IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT TO PROTECT VERMONTERS, AND THESE ARE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES, AND NOT MANY LAWYERS PRACTICE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. IT'S REALLY A UNIQUE AND SELECT PRACTICE OF LAW. SO I THINK WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS DEVELOP THE EXPERTISE, BRING IN THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, AND GET THEM WORKING WITH THE LEGISLATURE IN THE COMMITTEE ROOMS WHEN WE'RE CRAFTING THIS BILL. LET'S GO FORWARD, LET'S PASS LAW THAT PROTECTS VERMONTERS, AND WHEN WE GET SUED, WE'RE GOING TO WIN.

>> THAT INVOLVEMENT BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, IS THAT NOT HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

>> I CAN'T SPEAK TO THAT. AS I SAID AT THE OUTSET, IT'S WHAT I WANT TO DO AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, IT'S MY VISION. AS WE GO FORWARD, NOT ONLY ON THESE ISSUES BUT GREAT ISSUES OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN OUR COMMUNITY. THE NO. 1 ISSUE IN MY OPINION IS PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN THIS STATE. NO MORE PEOPLE ARE DYING AS A RESULT OF OPIATE OVERDOSE THAN AS A RESULT OF HIGHWAY FATALITIES, AND WE'RE A RURAL STATE. IT'S DRIVING THE CRIME IN OUR STATE. EVERY BURGLARY, EVERY CAR BREAK-IN IS A RESULT OF OPIATE ADDICTION. WE'RE NOT GOING TO ARREST OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. I THINK GOVERNOR SHUMLIN HAS BEEN A GREAT LEADER ON THIS. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE STATE. WE NEED TO BE INVOLVED. I PROPOSE, NO. 1, A GOOD SAMARITAN LAW, VERY SIMPLE. IT SAYS YOUR FRIEND IS IN THE MIDDLE OF OVERDOSING AND IS IN TROUBLE, CALL 911, GET HIM TO THE E.R., WE'RE NOT GOING TO PROSECUTE YOU. WE PROSECUTE FOR DISPENSING WITH DEATH RESULTING NOW. WE NEED OUTREACH. WE NEED TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WE WANT TO SAVE LIFE. WE NEED BETTER ACCESS OF MAINTENANCE MEDICATION. IN BURLINGTON ALONE WE HAVE 500 PEOPLE ON THE WAITING LIST, NOT ONLY FOR THE METHADONE CLINIC, WHICH IS A GREAT CLINIC, HIGHLY REGULATED, BUT ALSO OVER AT THE TWIN OAKS CLINIC, WHICH PROVIDES MAINTENANCE MEDICATION. THOSE 500 PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH A VERY SERIOUS ADDICTION THAT IS KILLING PEOPLE AND ALSO DRIVING PEOPLE TO DO DANGEROUS THINGS AND COMMIT CRIMES IN ORDER TO FEED THEIR HABIT, AND MAINTENANCE MEDICATION IS BEING TRADED ON THE STREET. IT'S A PERFECT STORM THAT'S GOING ON OUT THERE, AND WE NEED LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE. THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS THAT STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP BECAUSE HE IS THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE STATE. THIRD, I THINK WE NEED TO ADVOCATE FOR BETTER AND MORE TREATMENT FACILITIES IN THIS STATE. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH BEDS IN THIS STATE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM ADDICTION. PERIOD. AGAIN, THIS IS NOT JUST A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE; IT'S A PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE. IT'S ALSO A FINANCIAL ISSUE. PUT SOMEBODY IN JAIL FOR A DAY, IT'S 180 BUCKS. PUT THEM IN TREATMENT FOR A DAY, IT'S 97 BUCKS. WE NEED LEADERSHIP.

>> ANOTHER ISSUE IS THIS DATABASE. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THIS?

>> I THINK THE POLICE SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO IT. I THINK IT'S A TOOL. I THINK IT'S NOT THE ANSWER TO THE OPIATE ADDICTION PROBLEM, BUT IT'S A TOOL. YOU KNOW, THE -- THESE PILLS ARE COMING IN FROM EVERYWHERE. THEY'RE COMING IN FROM OUT OF STATE, THEY'RE COMING IN FROM DOCTORS WHO ARE PRESCRIBING THEM, THEY'RE COMING IN, OR THEY'RE BEING DIVERTED FROM PEOPLE'S HOMES, SO ANY TIME I THINK WE CAN HAVE A TOOL TO FIGURE OUT WHERE THESE ARE COMING IN, WE SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION. BUT LET ME SAY THIS: THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY IS A PARTNER IN THIS FIGHT, AND I THINK WE NEED TO BEGIN TO COLLABORATE WITH THEM. I THINK THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY SHOULD START SCREENING FOR ADDICTION. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME -- LET ME ALSO SAY THIS. THERE IS A LEGITIMATE MEDICAL PURPOSE FOR THESE MEDICATIONS. RIGHT? THEY TREAT PAIN. BUT THEY'RE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE, AND ONCE YOU GET ADDICTED, YOU KNOW, IT'S GAME OVER. SO I THINK WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO -- AND IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BLAME GAME, IT'S ABOUT BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS, IT'S ABOUT COLLABORATING, WORKING WITH THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY, AND TRYING TO BUILD CONSENSUS ABOUT CAN WE SCREEN FOR ADDICTION. SOMEONE WHO IS A HEROIN ADDICT WHO GOES TO THE HOSPITAL FOR BACK PAIN SHOULDN'T BE PRESCRIBED ANY OPIATES. DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. THERE IS THAT LEGITIMATE MEDICAL PURPOSE, AND WE'RE TREADING ON ADDICTION, CRIME, AND DEATH. WE NEED TO BE PARTNERS IN THIS FIGHT.

>> YOUR PRIMARY OPPONENT, BILL SORRELL, HAS SAID THAT HIS PRIORITY, OR ONE OF HIS TOP PRIORITIES, IS REALLY TACKLING CHILD PREDATORS ON-LINE, YOU KNOW, PEDOPHILES, FOLKS SEEKING, YOU KNOW, KIDS OUT THERE ON THE INTERNET, AND THERE HAS BEEN A HUGE, YOU KNOW, EMPHASIS PUT ON A RECENT SWEEP THAT WAS DONE, AND HUNDREDS OF COMPUTERS IDENTIFIED IN THE STATE AS SHARING IMAGES OF CHILD PORN. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THAT? IS THAT NOT ONE OF THE TOP PRIORITIES? BILL SORRELL SAYS IT IS.

>> I STAND ON THAT ISSUE LIKE EVERY VERMONTER, I'M AGAINST CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND ANY TYPE OF PEDOPHILE.

>> WHERE DO YOU STAND ON OPIATE ADDICTION VERSUS CHILD PORN?

>> IT'S HARD TO RATE. IT'S A SERIOUS ISSUE EVERYBODY IS AGAINST. I COMMEND ATTORNEY GENERAL SORRELL FOR BEING INVOLVED ON THIS ISSUE. IT IS IMPORTANT, AND I'M NOT GOING TO BEGIN TO SAY IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. I THINK THE CURRENT DEBATE IN THE STATEHOUSE RIGHT NOW AS TO THE FUNDING WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE AND THE STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE IS SIMPLY THIS: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS SEEKING MONEY FOR LAWYERS, THE STATE'S ATTORNEY, ALL 14 OF US ACROSS THE STATE SAY WE WANT MORE INVESTIGATORS, MORE POLICE TO INVESTIGATE THESE TYPES OF CRIMES. SO WE'RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM IN TERMS OF GOING AGAINST THESE GUYS, BUT WE JUST THINK THERE SHOULD BE MORE INVESTIGATORS.

>> AND ALSO EXPANDING THE CRIME LAB, RIGHT? THAT WAS A BIG --

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> -- DEBATE THAT WAS GOING ON AT THE STATE HOUSE.

>> WE WANT FORENSIC ANALYSIS. WE WANT PEOPLE SEARCHING COMPUTERS. WE WANT MORE POLICE. I SAY THIS AS A STATE'S ATTORNEY. STATES ATTORNEYS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE THE SKILL TO DO THESE TYPES OF CASES. LET THEM DO IT.

>> IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE WAS LOOKING FOR $200,000 TO BE SPLIT BETWEEN A FULL-TIME INVESTIGATOR DEDICATED TO THESE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASES AND A FULL-TIME PROSECUTOR, AND WHEN I WAS AT THAT HEARING, THE DISCUSSION WAS THAT THE STATE'S ATTORNEYS FROM AROUND THE STATE HAVE COME TOGETHER IN A UNIFIED EFFORT SAYING IF THEY'RE GETTING $200,000, THEIR PRIMARY PRIORITY WAS EXPANDING THE CRIME LABS, AND I DIDN'T HEAR ABOUT WANTING MORE INVESTIGATORS. THEY WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE BACKLOG AND THE TRICKLE DOWN IN COURT.

>> THE STATE'S ATTORNEYS' POSITION WAS WE WANT MORE INVESTIGATORS. I WASN'T IN THE ROOM WHEN THE TESTIMONY WAS GIVEN, BUT CERTAINLY FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE, WE WANT INVESTIGATORS, WE WANT THE MONEY TO GO TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS RACE. I MEAN, A LOT OF FOLKS, I THINK, WERE A BIT SURPRISED. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT BILL HAS FACED A PRIMARY CHALLENGER. IT SEEMS TO A LOT OF FOLKS THAT THIS LOOKS AS THOUGH THE DEMOCRATS ARE KIND OF DIVIDING HERE, WHEN YOU HAVE A PRIMARY CHALLENGER COME IN AND WANT TO FACE OFF WITH AN INCUMBENT WHO HAS HAD SIGNIFICANT SUCCESS IN VERMONT, WHY DO THIS?

>> SURE. DARREN, WITHOUT A DEBATE, WE DON'T HAVE DEMOCRACY. AGAIN, BILL HAS BEEN IN THIS POSITION FOR 15 YEARS. FRANKLY, WITHOUT MUCH OF A CHALLENGE. THIS OFFICE IS AN IMPORTANT OFFICE. THIS RACE IS NOT ABOUT PERSONALITIES. IT IS NOT ABOUT MYSELF. IT'S NOT ABOUT BILL. THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT BELONG TO ANY PARTICULAR PERSON; IT BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE OF VERMONT. THEY DESERVE A DEBATE, THEY DESERVE A CHOICE. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A DEBATE ON THE ISSUES. THIS IS NOT A RACE AGAINST BILL SORRELL. RATHER, I'M RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, ABOUT THE ISSUES I CARE ABOUT AND WANT TO TALK ABOUT. GOVERNOR SHUMLIN HAS DONE A GREAT JOB TALKING ABOUT THE WAR ON RECIDIVISM AND BRINGING RESOURCES TO BEAR ON THAT, BUT THAT WAR ON RECIDIVISM IS A WAR ON POVERTY, ON MENTAL ILLNESS, ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE, A WAR ON HOMELESSNESS. ALL THOSE ISSUES ARE CLOGGING UP OUR COURTS AT A GREAT COST TO THOSE PEOPLE, AT A GREAT COST TO THE TAXPAYERS OF VERMONT. THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS BUDGET IS $140 MILLION, JUST BEHIND HEALTHCARE. THE RECIDIVISM RACE IS 52%. FIVE OUT OF TEN PEOPLE WE PUT IN JAIL IN THE STATE ARE BACK IN JAIL. $104 MILLION DOLLARS IS SPENT ON LOCKING PEOPLE UP. 80% OF THE WOMEN INCARCERATED IN VERMONT SUFFER FROM MENTAL ILLNESS. WE CAN DO BETTER. IT'S A SYSTEM THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR THEM OR FOR THE TAXPAYER. I'M NOT ADVOCATING. WE PUT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN JAIL THAT I'M PROUD ARE OF. IT'S AN APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. BUT THE ISSUES OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE DO NOT DISCRIMINATE, IT TOUCHES ALL OF US, BUT POVERTY DOES, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE IN JAIL ARE POOR PEOPLE WHO LACK EDUCATION, WHO LACK JOBS, WHO ARE BEING DIAGNOSED WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE, AND THEY'RE BEING DIAGNOSED BY THE CRIMINAL COURT. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD BE BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER AND BRINGING CONSENSUS ON BEST PRACTICES, AND WE IMPLEMENT THOSE BEST PRACTICES STATEWIDE. I'VE BEEN IN TOO MANY MEETINGS WHERE IT'S COUNTY AGAINST COUNTY. WE NEED LEADERSHIP.

>> IS THERE A DIVIDE AMONG THE DEMOCRATS, THOUGH?

>> IN WHICH WAY?

>> WELL, HERE WE HAVE TWO DEMOCRATS GOING AGAINST EACH OTHER. IS THERE -- WERE YOU URGED BY OTHER DEMOCRATS TO RUN AGAINST BILL SORRELL?

>> I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THE ISSUES, AND THE CAMPAIGN IS GOING TO BE ON THE ISSUES. AS I SAID, I THINK BILL'S A GOOD PERSON. I THINK VERMONTERS DESERVE A DEBATE ON THIS OFFICE, AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ONE, AND, AGAIN, IT'S GOING TO BE A POSITIVE CAMPAIGN, IT'S GOING TO BE A CAMPAIGN ABOUT THE ISSUES. I SEE THE ROLE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE PERHAPS DIFFERENTLY THAN BILL, AND THAT'S OKAY. WE SHOULD HAVE THAT DEBATE, AND WHETHER I WIN OR LOSE, I'M GOING TO BRING TO THE PEOPLE OF VERMONT THE ISSUES I CARE ABOUT, AND THAT'S ISSUES OF NOT ONLY THE RECIDIVISM RACE, THE ISSUES OF MENTAL ILLNESS, POVERTY, SUBSTANCE ABUSE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS -- THESE ISSUES ARE DRIVING OUR BUDGET TO A CERTAIN DEGREE IN THE STATE, AND THE POPULATION WE'RE DEALING WITH IS ACROSS SYSTEMS, NOT ONLY IN THE CORRECTIONS SYSTEMS, IT'S IN HEALTHCARE, IN OUR EDUCATION, IT'S IN OUR JOB-TRAINING PROGRAMS. WE NEED TO COLLABORATE, BUILD PARTNERSHIPS, AND REALLY IMPLEMENT A SYSTEM OF CARE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACROSS SYSTEMS. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAN DO IT. WE'VE DONE IT TO A SMALL DEGREE IN CHITTENDEN COUNTY THROUGH THE RAPID INTERVENTION COMMUNITY PORT. BUT IT CAN'T BE A CHITTENDEN COUNTY SOLUTION TO A STATEWIDE PROGRAM.

>> HAVE YOU HAD A CONVERSATION WITH BILL SORRELL SINCE YOU ANNOUNCED?

>> I SAW HIM AT THE OBAMA EVENT.

>> DID YOU TALK TO HIM?

>> I HUGGED HIM. THERE'S A PHOTO OF IT. HE'S A GOOD GUY.

>> IF YOU LOSE THIS PRIMARY, COULD IT DAMAGE YOUR REPUTATION WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY GOING FORWARD?

>> IT COULD. I CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THE ISSUES. THESE ARE ISSUES I CARE ABOUT, THESE ARE ISSUES THAT, AGAIN, MANY PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT PLACES IN THIS STATE IN THEIR OWN RESPECTIVE FIELDS AND SILOS ARE TALKING ABOUT. WE NEED STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP ON THESE ISSUES, WHETHER IT'S PEOPLE IN A HOMELESS SHELTER, WHETHER IT'S PEOPLE FROM A COMMUNITY HEALTH CLINIC, WHETHER IT'S A SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY. OUR MISSION IS THE SAME. IT'S SO ENHANCE AND BRING ABOUT A STRONG, SAFE, VIBRANT COMMUNITY FOR ALL OUR CITIZENS, AND WE CAN DO A BETTER JOB IF WE CLAB RAILT -- COLLABORATE, IF WE COME TOGETHER, IF WE COORDINATE SERVICES, BUT WE'RE MISSING A PIECE, AND THAT'S SOMEONE AT A STATEWIDE LEVEL TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. THIS IS ACROSS SYSTEMS. WE'VE DONE IT TO A DEGREE THAT I'M PROUD OF IN CHITTENDEN COMMUNITY. THE RAPID INTERVENTION COMMUNITY COURT, WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE SYSTEM THREE, FOUR, FIVE TIMES. WE'RE SAYING, BY VIRTUE OF COMING BACK, WE'VE FAILED, THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED. THE MISSION STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS IS TO CORRECT PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOR F. THEY'RE COMING BACK, WE HAVEN'T CORRECTED THEIR BEHAVIOR, AND SO WE CAN'T DO ANY WORSE, LET'S TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. AS THE CASES ARE COMING IN, WE'RE SCREENING THEM, CONDUCTING A RISK ASSESSMENT, SAYING WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING ISSUE THAT'S CAUSING THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. OFTEN TIMSZ IT'S MENTAL ILLNESS, OFTENTIMES IT'S ALCOHOL AND DRUG. WE'RE TRYING TO THEN LINK THE BEHAVIOR WITH THE APPROPRIATE SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY TO ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE. IT'S TRULY BRINGING THE COMMUNITY INTO THE SYSTEM. WE HAVE 80% COMPLIANCE RATE, A 19% RECIDIVISM RATE. THIS IS ONLY OVER THREE MONTHS. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO DO BETTER THAN THE TRADITIONAL METHOD, AND BY DOING BETTER, WE'RE ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY, AND SAVING MONEY FOR THE TAXPAYERS OF VERMONT. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, THE BEST FORM OF PUBLIC SAFETY IS THIS: WHEN WE HAVE SOMEONE WHO IS SOBER, HEALTHY, GAINFULLY EMPLOYED, AND PAYING TAXES. THAT'S WHAT WE WANT. WE'RE NOT WINNING ANY FIGHTS WHEN WE HAVE A YOUNG WOMAN WHO IS 26 YEARS OLD WHO'S GOT AN OPIATE ADDICTION, A SINGLE MOTHER, COMING IN ON HER FOURTH RETAIL THEFT. WE CAN PUT HER INTO JAIL FOR 10, 0 DAYS. SHE'S GOING TO GET OUT. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO THEN? PUT HER ON PROBATION AND SAY YOU NEED TO SATISFY ALL THESE CONDITIONS OF PROBATION, AND IF YOU DON'T, WE'RE GOING TO VIOLATE YOU, AND WHEN YOU COME BACK ON A VIOLATION, YOU MAY GO TO JAIL. WE DON'T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT SHE'S A SINGLE MOTHER, MAYBE FIGHTING TO GET FOOD ON THE TABLE EVERY NIGHT, FIGHTING TO GET HER KIDS TO SCHOOL. IT'S A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHERE THESE PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM. THEY'RE FACING ENORMOUS CHALLENGES IN THEIR LIFE, AND WE'RE IN A SYSTEM THAT, FRANKLY, KEEPS THEM MARGINALIZED. WE CAN DO BETTER BY HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE, GIVING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

>> WE NEED TO TAKE A

>> WE ARE BACK WITH T.J. DONOVAN. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR JOINING US.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> SHEP SMITH ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK HE IS NOT GOING TO RUN FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. DID THAT SURPRISE YOU, THIS ANNOUNCEMENT?

>> YOU KNOW, SPEAKER SMITH IS A TREMENDOUS LEADER. HE'S DOING A GREAT JOB AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, HE'S A GREAT LAWYER, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN A VERY DIFFICULT CANDIDATE. I'M HAPPY HE'S NOT IN THE RACE. [ LAUGHS ] BUT HE'S GOT JUST A GREAT SKILL SET, NOT ONLY AS AN ATTORNEY AND AS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL, I HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT FOR HIM, AND I'M SURE WHATEVER HE CHOOSES TO DO IN THE FUTURE, HE'S GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

>> IN SPEAKING OF POSSIBLE CANDIDATES WHO ARE GOING TO RUN AGAINST YOU, SENATOR ZELUZI, WHAT KIND OF OPPONENT WOULD HE BE?

>> HE HAS A LOT OF -- HE'S DONE GREAT THINGS, HE'S A FRIEND OF LABOR, WHICH I REALLY RESPECT. HE IS A REAL POPULIST. I WANT TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL PROBABLY THE SAME WAY OTHERS WOULD BE. I'M A MIDDLE-CLASS GUY. I THINK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD STAND UP FOR WORKING-CLASS PEOPLE. LIFE IS HARD, AND PEOPLE WHO GET UP EVERY DAY IN THE MORNING, DESPITE WHATEVER CHANGES ARE FACING THEM IN THEIR LIVES, THEY GO OUT, GO TO WORK, PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILY, AND DO WHAT'S RIGHT. GOVERNMENT SHOULD WORK FOR THOSE PEOPLE, AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL REALLY SHOULD BE LEADING THAT FIGHT, PROTECTING VERMONTERS EVERY SINGLE DAY TO MAKE SURE GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR THEM AND EVERYONE IS GETTING A FAIR SHAKE.

>> IT'S NO SECRET, YOUR ATTORNEY AND BILL SORRELL'S FAMILY ARE BOTH VERY CLOSE. WAS THIS A TOUGH DECISION FOR YOU TO RUN AGAINST MR. SORRELL?

>> IT WAS. I STRUGGLED WITH ISSUES OF LOYALTY, NOT ONLY THE LOYALTY OF A FELLOW DEMOCRAT BUT ALSO SOME ISSUES, SOME MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY ARE FRIENDLY WITH NOT ONLY BILL BUT OTHER MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY, BUT AS I SAID EARLIER, YOU KNOW, THIS ISN'T ABOUT PERSONALITIES. IT REALLY IS ABOUT AN OFFICE AND ISSUES THAT I CARE ABOUT, AND THESE ISSUES SHOULD BE DEBATED, AND, YOU KNOW, IF I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT FUTURE CREDIBILITY WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, I WOULDN'T DO IT. BUT THE ISSUES THAT WE DEAL WITH EVERY SINGLE DAY, IN COURT, EVERY SINGLE DAY, YOU KNOW WHEN YOU COME TO COURT, WE'RE DEALING WITH THESE ISSUES EVERY SINGLE DAY, AND WE'RE MAKING SOME PROGRESS, BUT WE'RE NOT MAKING ENOUGH, AND THESE ISSUES THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT, YOU KNOW, REALLY JENNIFER, AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE HAVE 14 DIFFERENT CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS IN 14 DIFFERENT COUNTIES IN THIS STATE. YOU CAN BE TREATED ONE WAY IN ANOTHER COUNTY AND BE TREATED ANOTHER WAY IN CHITTENDEN, AND WE WANT LEADERSHIP. WE WANT PEOPLE -- WE WANT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO BE SOMEBODY WHO BUILDS COALITIONS, TO BUILD CONSENSUS, AND IMPLEMENT BEST PRACTICES. I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THE ALTERNATIVE JUSTICE PROGRAMS WE HAVE CREATED. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS THE RESOURCES TO DEPLOY STATE WIDE. I COULD BUILD THOSE COALITIONS AND PARTNERSHIP.

>> NOW THAT YOU ARE INTO YOUR SECOND TERM, IS THERE A SPECIFIC CASE THAT YOU CAN SPEAK TO? YOU JUST MENTIONED PROGRESS IN COURT. IS THERE A SPECIFIC CASE THAT YOU CAN POINT TO THAT YOU WERE INVOLVED WITH THAT REALLY CHANGED VERMONT'S LAW?

>> SURE. I THINK WHAT COMES TO MIND FOR ME IS THE PROSECUTION OF TIMOTHY DOWD, WHO WAS A DRUNK DRIVER WHO KILLED KAY BORNMAN, THE FRS TIME IN THE HISTORY OF VERMONT IN WHICH WE CHARGED A DRUNK DRIVER NOT ONLY WITH MURDER BUT WE OBTAINED A CONVICTION OF MURDER, FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF VERMONT. I THINK IT'S A GOOD THING. I THINK IT'S A MESSAGE THAT WENT OUT TO EVERYBODY IN THIS STATE THAT WE TAKE DRUNK DRIVING VERY SERIOUSLY, AND WE'RE GOING TO GIVE NO -- SHOW NO MERCY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE HABITUAL DRUNK DRIVERS, BECAUSE THAT PUTS EVERYBODY AT RISK IN THIS STATE. WE ALL DRIVE. IN THAT CASE IN PARTICULAR, I THINK TOUCHED A LOT OF PEOPLE, NOT ONLY BECAUSE MISS BORNMAN WAS SUCH A WONDERFUL PERSON, BUT IT WAS DECEMBER 26TH, THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS, COMING HOME FROM A MOVIE. EVERYBODY CAN RELATE TO THAT, AND THAT'S WHY THESE CASES, MATTER, AND THAT'S WHY I THINK IT WAS IMPORTANT TO TRY TO BLAZE NEW GROUND IN THAT AREA OF THE LAW AND TO CHARGE MR. DOWD WITH MURDER AND OBTAIN A CONVICTION.

>> WE'LL HAVE TO DEAVE -- LEAVE IT AT THAT, T.J. DONOVAN. HAPPY EASTER.

>> LIKEWISE.

>> THANKS FOR JOINING US, EVERYONE. WE'LL SEE YOU SOON. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC

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