John Kroger leaves after one term
Oregon will have a new attorney general in 2012. Citing personal reasons, John Kroger will vacate the current position and, so far, only three democratic candidates have emerged.
On Jan. 4, Ellen Rosenblum announced her intent to run for the state position, which supervises all legal matters in which the state plays a role. In 1993, then-Governor Barbara Roberts appointed Rosenblum to serve as an appellate court judge for Multnomah County.
Rosenblum is excited about the prospect being Oregon’s next attorney general.
“In the past seven years, I have served in a unique opportunity to see the cases that were viewed from the AG office as an appellate court judge,” said Rosenblum.
Outside the court Rosenblum established programs aimed at helping children in the state. One particular program unites children with parents who are imprisoned. The Girl Scouts Behind Bars program allows children—in a heavily supervised environment—to visit with their parents, as a way to avoid the cycle of violence.
“I’ve had many opportunities to see the devastation from a distance: child neglect, parental neglect…that’s what makes me feel qualified to have this position,” Rosenblum said.
In addition to a focus on families and children, Rosenblum also concerned herself with public safety and consumer protection. “I started out as a consumer-oriented lawyer, even as far back as law school when I worked with consumer investigations. In the legislature I had help getting modest bills passed; landlord and tenants, generic drug substitution and health spas which had bad practice,” Rosenblum said.
Rosenblum has taken specific interest in how the economy is affecting students, families and children.
“I was thinking about the issues from the perspectives of students, what’s important to students today—that’s an area that I think is challenging for all of us. We’ve seen predatory loans, and we can try to avoid that. If you’re saddled with debt and you’re in a situation where that is the focus of your life in terms of your decision making, that seems really unfair to me. The AG protects our citizens, which include students, families and kids. I want to be there because I think I can do the best job serving all of us in this really critical time,” Rosenblum said.
Dwight Holton, former U.S. attorney for the state of Oregon, was the second to announce his candidacy for attorney general. According to The Oregonian, while Holton was U.S. attorney for the state of Oregon from February 2010 to October 2011, he brought greater public awareness to the position of the attorney’s office.
During his time as U.S. attorney, Holton was noted for reducing prescription drug abuse, enacting an environmental initiative at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder, and working with community leaders on a joint terrorism task force.
In a statement on his campaign website, Holton said, “In 15 years as a prosecutor, I fought hard for what I believed in: safety and security for our communities, and the highest level of ethics and accountability from our public officials.”
Katherine Heekin is the latest to announce her candidacy. Heekin graduated from Princeton University and received her law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law. She began her legal career as a clerk for Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene. She worked in three different law firms before forming her own firm in 2005.
Heeken has extensive experience with electronic fraud and “the cyber war,” having been a certified fraud examiner.
“Coming forward we’re at the dawn of a new age that I don’t think has been adequately flushed out. We’re seeing data thefts, as we’ve become and online society, there is a new frontier for crime. Credit card companies and banks have their own risk. What I see necessary in the AG role is to protect people from online crimes,” Heekin said.
Fraud, however, is just one of the pillars of her platform.
“The focus on my campaign is to help people stay in their homes. What we have right now are people who want to be in their homes but are victims of predatory lending…on one hand people are told to stop paying their mortgage thinking they’ll restructure, but at the same time they are put on a foreclosure path. It’s that kind of thing as AG that I can help,” said Heekin.
In addition to her years practicing as a lawyer, Heekin has been involved with community activities. She is a founding board member of the Children’s Relief Nursery. She worked with professors involved in early child development and together they decided to direct resources to children who are at risk of abuse and neglect.
“[We provided] respite care, clothing, the things that make life easier and the stress go away. The likelihood of those children who are at risk ending up in juvenile court and adult court and repeating the cycle drops dramatically,” Heekin said.
At the time of publication there have been no other candidate announcements.