Intersection - Hawley and Hensley Differ Over AG Role, Qualifications

Nov 7, 2016

This week on Intersection, we're looking at the race for Missouri Attorney General. Josh Hawley is the Republican candidate, and Teresa Hensley is the Democratic candidate. Hawley and Hensley have different ideas of what an Attorney General’s primary role should be, and we spoke with both candidates about how they see the job they're campaigning for differently. We also talked with Missouri experts about what an attorney general actually does, and how people can have different ideas about the job.

Listen to the full story here: 


A selected transcript from our interview with Teresa Hensley on how she defines the role of the attorney general:

My first question for you is what is the role of the Attorney General in Missouri for you?

 

Well I think clearly my opponent and I differ on this. I think that we have seen for years that this is an office that assists prosecutors around the state and also does special prosecutor cases, as well as doing the appellate work for all the prosecutors around the state. As you know, I was an elected prosecutor for 10 years in Cass County where I had hundreds of convictions. Those convictions that all 115 elected prosecutors around the state gain, it is the attorney general’s job to uphold them when they go up on appeal. So I think that if you want to be the attorney general and you want to handle those appeals, you ought to at least at some point practiced law, [have] sat in a courtroom in Missouri, stood before a judge, represented a client and represented victims.  And so I’ve been practicing law for 24 years, the last 10 was the elected prosecutor, but I had been practicing law for 14 years before that doing appellate work. As a prosecutor I ousted an elected official that I had to take to the Missouri Supreme Court, where we won. And so this is a job that actually requires someone whose has practiced laws in an office of over 180 attorneys going to court day in and day out, and my opponent has never been in a courtroom in Missouri and has never practiced law in Missouri.

 

A selected transcript from our interview with Josh Hawley on how he defines the role of attorney general:

 

Can you tell me what the role of the Attorney General is in the state of Missouri?

 

It’s to protect and defend the people of Missouri. And that means, I think, protecting families, protecting our farmers, our small businesses and protecting the most vulnerable. And you know, that’s what my campaign is really about. It’s standing up to the significant threats that we are, that Missouri, is seeing today, beginning with the dysfunctional Washington, D.C. I think Washington has never been more dysfunctional. And it has never been more stifling to the state of Missouri and the families of Missouri. So we need somebody to stand up to the Washington bureaucracy. We need somebody to stand up to corruption in our politics here in the state. I don’t – I’ve never run for office before. I’m not from the political establishment of either party. In fact, I’ve been opposed by the establishment of both parties. I’m kind of proud of that. I think that gives me the independence that we need. And we need somebody who’s going to protect the most vulnerable from things like sex trafficking, human trafficking in our state. And I have a plan to do that.