Bob McWhirter, candidate for Arizona Attorney General and an attorney with more than 30 years of experience, said he will end the death penalty, private prisons, and over-incarceration as Arizona Attorney General. He spoke about his campaign and the issues he’ll focus on at the November 29, 2021 meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson.
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“We need to fight for what matters and not waver on what is right and what is wrong and what is a democracy and what is not a democracy,” he said. “It’s time that we fought for teachers, students, mothers, fathers, families who have been penalized and poorly resourced. It’s about justice, it’s about the rule of law, and that’s what I’ve committed my life to.”
McWhirter also took aim at Republican attacks on our elections, saying: “I want to be across from the Republican at the first debate, look them straight in the eye and say: you need to say Joe Biden won the last election fair and square. And if you’re not willing to say that, then you have no business being on the stage, and you have no business being Attorney General of Arizona.”
Guard the right to vote
“It’s time we have an Attorney General that centers on people’s rights…we shouldn’t be wasting our time like the current Attorney General does, prosecuting people for supposed voter fraud,” he explained. “This is just an absurd waste of resources. Those are resources that should be spent making sure people have the right to vote, not restricting the right to vote. You know your oath is to the Constitution, and the Constitution says everybody has the right to vote. This is America.”
He drew a clear contrast between himself and the current attorney general. “We must guard the right to vote. We must expand the right to vote, that’s what’s important. That’s what the Attorney General should be doing. And that’s what I’m committed to doing. It’s time to facilitate better relationships with businesses and communities, foster healthy environments, and help support families. All of these things are what the Attorney General should be doing. And if you look at what the Attorney General is doing and what it says on his own website, it’s nothing of the sort.”
If the Court overturns abortion rights He discussed some of his beliefs on critical issues, beginning with reproductive rights. “I will not ever prosecute a woman or her doctor for exercising her right to reproductive freedom,” he said. “I will not do it. I don’t care what passes in the legislature because I have no intention of being on the wrong side of history on this question. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, it will be the first time the court has ever pulled back from recognizing rights instead of expanding the recognition of rights. And as you know from the talks I’ve given you in the past, that’s fundamentally not American.”
When asked about his views on the death penalty, he stated: “I am ardently against the death penalty, personally. I’m the only candidate on any party that ever fought against the death penalty. However, the legislature needs to pass the law to repeal the death penalty. The Attorney General’s office cannot unilaterally do this. I will look for every way that I can to give people their full due process and also start to look into issues of racial disparity and economic disparity and their relationship to the death penalty.”
This is not the only change he would like to see to the criminal justice system. “I am against private prisons,” he stated. “There are certain things the government needs to do, and making a for-profit industry out of incarceration is just a dangerous road to go down.”
“I spent 30 years in the criminal justice system, fighting for racial issues and against economic disparity. So first of all, you’ve got to look for all kinds of alternatives to incarceration, and the Attorney General of Arizona can lead in those initiatives throughout the state,” he explained. “We spend $1.3 billion a year on our incarceration. That is $1.3 billion that does not go to our schools, does not go to our universities, does not go to social services. So let’s start dealing with that, and we can create systems that keep people out of prison who should be out of prison at a fraction of the cost.”
“I’m running for Arizona Attorney General because Arizona, it is time for somebody to take a fresh look at this and focus on what the interests are for real people who are just trying to make a living,” he concluded.