“This guy (Attorney General Aaron Ford) should be hanging from a f------ crane.” Sigal Chattah, Republican candidate for Nevada Attorney General, April 2021.
In Nevada, the attorney general is the chief legal officer for the state. He or she represents the people of Nevada in civil and criminal matters and serves as legal counsel to state officers and agencies. The attorney general also works with law enforcement to enforce the laws and provide justice.
Our current attorney general, Aaron Ford was born to a working-class family in Dallas. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a B.A. from Texas A&M, an M.A. from George Washington University, and a law degree and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He had issues with the law as a young man, but he worked hard to overcome those problems and give back to society.
In his four-year term, Ford has achieved a great deal for the people of Nevada. He’s worked to protect the vote of every eligible Nevadan. He’s improved the criminal justice system, including providing treatment services instead of incarceration for those who have substance abuse issues.
A top priority for Ford has been protecting Nevadans from fraud and scams. The Bureau of Consumer Protection has recovered over $40 million for Nevada consumers and has achieved restitution and recovery from companies engaging in illegal behavior.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are serious issues in Nevada. Ford helped clear the backlog of rape kits and provide direct services to survivors. Included in this effort was a program for victims to track the status of their rape kits, so they could know what was happening with their case.
Ford developed and implemented a Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. He supported laws increasing penalties for domestic violence such as battery against pregnant victims. He also updated laws against stalking, including stalking against children, and increased penalties against those who traffic children for sex.
He worked to make the pharmaceutical industry more transparent and to implement laws protecting pregnant workers, co-sponsoring the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act. He also supported a law requiring financial advisers to put the interests of their clients ahead of their own.
In contrast, Ford’s opponent, Republican Chattah, supports the Big Lie that the 2020 election was rigged. She wants more voter restrictions, such as forbidding people to help disabled voters turn in their ballots.
She’s embraced the lie that teachers are trying to indoctrinate children in the classroom; she would restrict what teachers are allowed to talk about when they are teaching. She has made it clear she opposes reproductive rights, suggesting she would imprison women who seek an abortion, no matter the reason.
And most disgustingly, she texted the opening quote to a friend, invoking the image of lynching a black man. The friend, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, released the text “because I believe that she’s unfit from an emotional standpoint, to understand how to interact in a position of that magnitude of being attorney general.” (Las Vegas Review Journal, Feb. 11, 2022)
Because of Chattah’s attitude, fellow Republicans have described her as “unhinged,” “unprepared,” and “dangerous.” To oppose Chattah’s candidacy, Nevada Republicans formed the Republicans for Aaron Ford Committee. The group is headed by former State Senate Republican Majority Leader Michael Roberson and former Nevada State Republican Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian. There are at least 13 members of the group, with more joining, exploring ways to help re-elect Ford.
Tarkanian described why these Republicans are supporting Ford. “Attorney General Ford has a stellar track record of keeping Nevadans safe and protecting our rights. On the other hand, it is unacceptable that Sigal Chattah – an unprepared, dangerous candidate who lacks the experience, foresight, and temperament to be able to do right by Nevadans – is the Republican nominee for Attorney General.” (Reno Gazette Journal, July 27, 2022)
Roberson explained his reasoning. “I take no joy in saying that my own political party has nominated an unhinged election denier and charlatan to run against Mr. Ford. Now, more than ever, it is time to put duty to the state and country above partisan politics. If we care about the rule of law and the health of our democracy. If we care about Nevada. There really is only one choice for Nevada Attorney General. That person is Aaron Ford.”
These Republicans have joined those who know that we need the best qualified person as our Attorney General, not an unhinged charlatan. We need Aaron Ford.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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