Democratic Attorney General nominee Jesse Gibson says his courtroom experience makes him more qualified for the office than his GOP opponent, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.
“I think that one of the important things in this race is not, ‘Why do you want to be attorney general,’ but, ‘Do you really want to be attorney general, and do you have the requisite experience in Arkansas courtrooms to be that chief law enforcement officer, to be the state’s attorney?’ And my opponent – you can go on CourtConnect, you can do the research, it’s on my website – has never had a case or tried a case in an Arkansas court,” Gibson said.
Griffin, a former Congressman, served as U.S. Attorney from 2006-2007 in the Eastern District of Arkansas, but Gibson said that experience was short-lived and long ago.
“In that time, I’ve tried over a hundred cases to jury verdict, my cases,” said Gibson, who appeared on Sunday’s edition of Capitol View. “He has a dearth of experience and has handled no cases in Arkansas courts. That’s a decision that the voters need to ponder. That’s something that the voters need to look at and say, ‘Who’s got the best experience? Who’s got the most experience?’ And I really do have to ask the question, ‘Do you really want to be attorney general,’ to my opponent. He wanted to run for governor until he came to a conclusion that may not happen. We need someone in this post who’s committed to justice, that their track record over the last 10, 15, 20 years proves that, and I don’t think he has it. I do.”
If elected to the AG’s post, Gibson said he would “return the office to being one of the best law firms in the state.” He said current officeholder, AG Leslie Rutledge, has “overly politicized” the office, citing her legal involvement of challenging the results of the 2020 Presidential election in several swing states and her use of office resources to run her Rutledge Report ads.
Gibson said he supports Issue 4, the recreational marijuana amendment proposal saying “the good outweighs the bad.” He cites money for law enforcement stipends and tax revenue as the primary positives in the measure.
On the issue of crime, he said a “multifaceted” approach is needed to control the current situation. Gibson supports building a new state prison to deal with overcrowding issues and he says long-term solutions are needed to address recidivism rates. He also wants action to reform the state’s parole system, which he blames on Republicans in control of state government, including Lt. Gov. Griffin.
“I get this a lot on the campaign trail, and this is another differentiation between myself and my opponent: the parole board is appointed by the executive branch, which my opponent has been ostensibly second in command, or second in line in that branch, and all the parole board is appointed by the executive branch and approved and confirmed by the [state] Senate. To complain about any kind of issue with the parole board in his position is an amazing self-own,” Gibson said.
On the issue of abortion, Gibson said the Arkansas General Assembly needs to allow for more exemptions beyond the current trigger law that only allows for exceptions for the life of the mother.
“When we’re on the campaign trail, it doesn’t matter if we’re in Searcy, if we’re in Bentonville, Texarkana or the Delta, our trigger law is front-of-mind to voters all across the state, and they’re mad. They do not like our trigger law that’s now become law in Arkansas, with no rape exception, no incest exception, and really this painful issue about the life of the mother as opposed to just the health of the mother,” he said.
“I think it does need to be changed, it needs to be revisited. And it’s something that, again, our leaders in Arkansas have been missing on this issue, including my opponent. This trigger law sailed through the Senate that he presides over so fast, it left a vapor trail, and no one said anything until now they realize there’s bad politics that may affect them. When the policy was before them, they chose to do nothing,” Gibson added.
You can watch his full interview in the video below. Griffin will be a guest on this week’s edition of Capitol View.