Next January Oregon will swear in a new Attorney General for the first time in a dozen years. Hardy Myers has served the state as Attorney General with great skill and integrity since 1997.
Because no Republican filed by the deadline in March, the winner of the Democratic primary this month will become Oregon's next Attorney General.
I'm honored to have Hardy Myers' endorsement in the race to succeed him. But the next Attorney General should not just continue the current work of the Department of Justice he leads. The Attorney General should respond to the changing threats faced by Oregonians and bring the fresh perspective any organization needs after years under the same leadership.
Some of the new threats to Oregonians come over the Internet. A dozen years ago the Internet was in its infancy. It's now in a rambunctious adolescence.
Adult sex predators prowl chat rooms in search of underage teens. Identity thieves and other scammers find victims among Oregon consumers connected to the Internet. As seniors and lower income people get computers, these vulnerable citizens are exposed to greater risk.
Last year I sponsored a new law making it a specific crime to solicit an underage teen for sex over the Internet. I also passed a law toughening the penalty for high volume identity thieves.
As Attorney General, I will make sure these new laws are enforced. To do so, I will expand the Internet forensics capability of the Department of Justice, a function performed now by just one investigator. We must be able to find those who prey on our kids and vulnerable consumers. I also will introduce legislation requiring that sex offender registration include the offender's e-mail address so we can trace attempts to contact victims.
Threats to Our Landscape
Last year I led the effort to refer Measure 49 to Oregon voters to save our protections for farmlands and open space. But Oregon's landscape is threatened by some claimants who assert the right to go forward based on development steps taken before voters approved Measure 49. As Attorney General, I will challenge invalid development claims to protect farmlands and open space and to assure that landowners are treated the same across the state.
Threats to Retirement Security
As traditional pension plans disappear, Oregon workers are threatened by loss of their retirement benefits when the stocks in their defined contribution plans drop in value. Last year I helped pass a new law authorizing Oregon's Attorney General to act as lead plaintiff in class action lawsuits to recover losses on stocks where fraud is involved. As Attorney General, I will use this authority to collect from those who defraud stockholders to protect the financial security of retirees.
Threats to Air Quality
Auto makers are trying to prevent Oregon and other states from implementing cleaner tailpipe emission standards for new vehicles sold in the future. The Bush administration has sided with the auto makers in trying to block the cleaner standards. As Attorney General, I will challenge this federal interference with a key environmental protection Oregonians have chosen.
Rep. Greg Macpherson, Lake Oswego, represents Oregon House District 38. He is a candidate for Oregon Attorney General.