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Race for Vt. attorney general - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Race for Vt. attorney general

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Bill Sorrell is the state's longest tenured Attorney General. He first took office in 1997 and survived a tough primary against Chittenden County State's attorney T.J. Donovan in 2012.

"There's a lot of work to do for this next term for sure, and I hope the voters want me to stay in office," said Sorrell.

His priorities include defending the state's new GMO labeling law, working on the state's opiate epidemic, pursuing charges against those spreading child porn and consumer protection issues.

In the general election this year, Sorrell faces Shane McCormack, a political newcomer who secured a write-in nomination during the Republican primary.

"I'm running for attorney general because I think a better job can be done in the office," said McCormack

McCormack whose legal work centers on complex legal transactions accuses Sorrell of working on too many issues.

"I think it's all about the tone from the top," said McCormack. "Obviously there's no silver bullet, if there was a silver bullet it would have been fired."

He says the attorney general is distracted by consumer protection when he should be focused on opiates.

Sorrell says focusing on consumer protection means millions back in the pockets of Vermonters and 40 million for state coffers.

"I make no apologies for trying to standup and protect Vt. consumers," said Sorrell.

Sorrell says his office has three attorneys working on opiates, handling the state's largest trafficking cases that are not prosecuted by the federal government.

He touts a community-focused project in Rutland and says treatment will provide better results than prosecution.

Sorrell also denies McCormack's allegations that campaign donations from a Texas law firm led to that firm's selection as a consultant on a pending lawsuit.

Sorrell says that firm happened to be the most qualified for the job. He contends cigarettes are the number one preventable health risk facing Vermont with 1,200 deaths a year.

But McCormack says while opiates may not be killing as many people, the effects of addiction tear at the fabric of the green mountains.

The two do both agree that if the legislature pursues marijuana legalization that will not pose significant challenges for the state's top attorney.

Sorrell says the quarantine of a man who returned from West Africa is voluntary and says the state will consider the legal ramifications of a mandatory isolation if and when that becomes necessary.

McCormack said while he's sensitive to civil liberty issues, he says mandatory quarantines for those who could potentially pose health risks are an essential tool for government.

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