Andrew McCullough's Blog

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Salt Lake Times Article on my Candidacy.

This is the rough draft of an article to appear on the Salt Lake Times legal newspaper in the next week or so.

Utah Libertarian Makes His Case To Be Attorney General of Utah

By Alicia Knight Cunningham, Esq.

The Intermountain Commercial Record asked Libertarian Candidate W. Andrew McCullough to respond to questions regarding his party’s platform, why he’s running, his priorities if elected and his views on his chances of winning. His responses are highlighted below.

Why are you a member of the Libertarian Party? What part of the party’s platform resonates with you?

I am a freedom lover. I do not like the government telling me what to do. The Libertarian Party works for me. I was the Treasurer of the Young Republican Federation when I was young -- and naïve -- and I was active in Barry Goldwater’s campaign. I am a disaffected Republican because the Republican Party has become the party of the religious right. Republicans are on a moral crusade, and I do not agree with that. I am still a conservative on economic matters. I just want a more free society.

Why are you running?

I have been practicing law since 1973. I have seen over and over again attitudes in the Attorney General’s office that I think are unreasonable. For example, I had a beautiful young friend that had a slight speech impediment. She spoke a little slowly. She was stopped for a minor traffic violation and the officer wrote in her report: “The lights are on but no one is home.” The officer charged her with using drugs and took her down to the police station. He suspected marijuana test and inflicted her with a blood test. It took two weeks to get the result so he put her in jail. He tore her car apart looking for drugs. He demanded that they do a full body cavity search looking for drugs. I screamed bloody murder and the Attorney General’s office said: “To hell with you.” In the end, we got a small settlement, but it was not enough. I became a windmill tilting politician that day.

Again, four or five years ago I was sitting in my office. A man came into my office. He had just been released days before from prison where he was serving time for a crime he did not commit. He wanted compensation, and there was a new Utah law that allowed him to seek compensation. I talked to the Attorney General’s office and said, “You know and I know that he did not do it. He has an alibi. He has witnesses.” They said, “We do not care. We can block this on a technicality.” The District Court did rule against us, but the Court of Appeals granted the compensation. When I got the call that they were writing the check, I cried.

In both cases the Attorney General’s office should have represented the interest of the people. I do not think that the Attorney Generals we have had understand the proper role of their job.

What are your priorities if you win? Will you follow the platform of your party?

I do not deny that on a given day the majority of the people may disagree with what I might do. Last week the majority of the people in Utah wanted same sex marriage to be illegal. The majority lost. What won was individual freedom. It is in the interest of personal freedom for the state to stand aside and say ‘We do not care who you marry.’

We incarcerate more people than any other country in the world. Iran, China – those countries we think of as being oppressive -- we put more people in prison than they do. It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. We should not spend millions of dollars putting people in jail because of a moral judgment.

Last weekend I spent a few hours at the rally against police violence. The police have become militarized. They have machine guns to use against their own citizens. Too many people have died. It must stop.

What do you think of your chances?

When I was in high school Social Studies was my thing. I remember studying class was Eugene Debs. He ran repeatedly for President of the United States as a Socialist. Obviously, he did not win. Someone asked him, why do you keep doing this? You never win. You’ll never win. He answered: “But I am winning. I am the one who suggested the 40 hour work week. My ideas are winning.” And if you look at same sex marriage and marijuana – we’re winning. They cannot stop us. I hope that I am part of the group that changes the future.

When my friend was strip searched, I realized that I was not doing enough. So I took out the soap box and stood on it. I will not win. But perhaps I can change some minds and help people realize that things can be changed.

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