His standout political moment isn't one he's most proud of. Many Vermonters will remember Jack McMullen for losing the Republican Senate primary in 1998 to high school dropout Fred Tuttle. The Harvard grad famously failed to correctly answer how many teats a cow has and quickly came off as out of touch. Now he's back to shake it off and enter a new race. This time for Vermont's attorney general.
"My approach to this office would be open-minded, nonideological and businesslike," McMullen said.
McMullen currently works with the Cambridge Meridian Group, a management consulting firm in Burlington. He ran for Senate one other time and lost in 2004 against Patrick Leahy. He has an MBA and a law degree from Harvard, where he also taught for several years. He says he's been trying to enter Vermont politics for quite some time. As an attorney, he thinks he'll find success in the AG's race.
"I have a business background, as well as a law background. That distinguishes me from the other Democrats running in the race," McMullen said.
He's also the only candidate who's not a member of the Vermont Bar Association, which means he couldn't argue cases if elected. He's currently pursuing acceptance into the association.
"That application process is lengthy, but I'm in the process of doing it," he said.
McMullen says his priority as AG would be cracking down on prescription drug abuse. He wants to collaborate with all 14 state's attorneys to implement a treatment-based approach for first-time offenders, hoping to minimize the number of inmates and the cost of incarceration. He's critical of both Democrats, Bill Sorrell and T.J. Donovan, for their handling of one issue he hopes to bring to the forefront of his fall campaign.
"Both of these gentlemen have something to answer for Burlington Telecom," McMullen said. "What's the technical term residents here feel? Outrage."
He says Sorrell sidestepped the issue and Donovan failed to take action on it. He says he disagrees with Sorrell's policies more than Donovan's and hopes to face Sorrell in the upcoming election, giving him an opportunity to make himself known for something more than a political flop.
When it comes to Vermont Yankee, McMullen says he would advise against any future appeals. He says he wouldn't feel comfortable recommending the state spend money on outside counsel, especially because in his opinion this case is nearly impossible to win.
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