Election of new Attorney General deserves our close attention

By Ruth McKay for the Republican Party of Sheboygan County

What happens in the office of the State Attorney General doesn’t get noticed much by the general public. So, with little fanfare, Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced that he will not be running for re-election in November. His announcement will result in a partisan contest to fill that powerful position. At this writing, several Democrats and one Republican have entered the race. The Republican candidate is Brad Schimel of Waukesha.

The jobs of District Attorney, State Attorney General, and Attorney General of the United States were meant to be held by persons who understand and uphold the law without bias or political malice. Unlike Attorney General Eric Holder, who refuses to prosecute those involved in the IRS scandal, and the District Attorneys participating in the recent John Doe investigation targeting conservative groups, J. B. Van Hollen has maintained a non-partisan balance, at times to the dismay of Republicans and conservatives. He is now involved in the challenges to the Act 10 law limiting collective bargaining, and the photo ID law that protects the integrity of the vote. To turn the office of the Attorney General over to an anti-Walker zealot could throw into disarray the finances of our state government and many municipalities and school districts that rely on Act 10.

Thus, it is important to get to know Brad Schimel. According to his web site, “Brad Schimel is a career, frontline prosecutor first elected Waukesha County District Attorney in 2006, and he has been re-elected ever since. Brad has conducted more than 150 Jury trials ranging from First Degree Intentional Homicide to traffic offenses. In fact, Brad was awarded the 2006 Wisconsin Association of Victim and Witness Professionals “Wisconsin Professional of the Year” for his work on behalf of victims of sexual assault.”

“As Waukesha District Attorney, Brad is the chief law enforcement officer in the county and supervises 16 attorneys and 3-dozen support staff. His office is responsible for the prosecution of all crimes occurring in Waukesha County.”

“In 2011, Brad was appointed to serve on the Wisconsin Judicial Council, and in that same year he was appointed to serve on the Wisconsin Crime Victim Council. He currently serves in a leadership capacity as the Secretary of Council with the Crime Victim Council. He is a Founding Member of the Waukesha County Victim Impact Panel for intoxicated drivers, and President of the Preventing Alcohol-Related Crashes (PARC) Task Force, 2004-2011.”

“Brad serves as an Instructor in the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Department at Waukesha County Technical College, and is a former Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University. He is a regular presenter at conferences throughout Wisconsin for prosecutors, attorneys, law enforcement officers, teachers, child protection workers and medical professionals. Sought after for his knowledge and experience as a successful prosecutor, Brad has also presented at conferences for the Colorado Association of District Attorneys Conference and the Oklahoma Association of District Attorneys Conference.”

“Brad earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1990), and is a graduate of Mukwonago High School and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1987). He began his career as a prosecutor in 1990 when he joined the Waukesha County District Attorney’s office.”

This is not an endorsement of Mr. Schimel. There are many questions that he needs to answer and there may be other candidates to consider. As voters, we need to make sure that the duties of Attorney General are not entrusted to someone who would be unwilling to cooperate with Governor Walker, who would overlook obvious voting irregularities, or who would sanction the abuse of legal authority to intimidate political opponents, as in the latest John Doe investigation in Wisconsin and the IRS scandal.

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