Last year, along with many of my fellow district attorneys, I endorsed John Kroger for Attorney General of Oregon. I am supporting John Kroger because I believe he is the only candidate in the race for Attorney General who truly understands and will support public safety in our state.

Kroger's record of public service is impressive. Not only has he served as a working courtroom prosecutor putting away the bad guys, he also has served as a professor of criminal law and legal philosophy at Lewis and Clark Law School here in Oregon.

As a teacher he has the opportunity to teach law students the values and principles that are the underpinnings of a criminal justice system: honesty, hard work and the highest quality of legal representation. Before joining the faculty at Lewis and Clark Law School, Kroger spent his entire career in public service, both as a U.S. Marine and a federal prosecutor. As a courtroom prosecutor, Kroger represented the United States in court more than 1,000 times and convicted high level drug traffickers and mafia killers. Kroger also served on the U.S. Justice Department's Enron Task Force helping investigate and prosecute Enron executives who defrauded thousands of investors.

The Attorney General of Oregon is the most important law enforcement leader in our state. The Attorney General is the highest spokesperson on public safety and is in a position to lead statewide efforts to protect the public and reduce crime. As a former prosecutor, Kroger has a clear understanding of the importance of public safety to our citizens. Kroger knows that violent crime in Oregon has dropped almost 50 percent in the past 12 years and that has made our citizens much safer. And Kroger has a plan to more effectively deal with our methamphetamine crisis which includes treatment for addicts before they commit crime and increased punishments for repeat property criminals.

Kroger has proposed a two part plan to address the methamphetamine crisis. First, he wants to toughen up enforcement. Several years ago, Oregon put pseudoephedrine behind the counter in pharmacies. That law has sharply dropped the amount of home cooking of meth in Oregon. Unfortunately, large, out-of-state drug cartels have filled the demand. The Attorney General's Office supervises an organized crime division. Kroger wants to use that division to work with the district attorneys to investigate and prosecute the cartels bringing drugs into our state.

Second, Kroger understands that another way to reduce the crime rate is to decrease the demand for drugs. Unfortunately, Oregon consistently ranks in the bottom third of states for access to drug treatment. That is why Kroger has proposed a new plan for drug treatment in Oregon. One of the ways to cut back on the demand for drugs is to make every effort to keep kids off drugs and effectively treat addicts. Combined with adequate punishments, Kroger believes we can really make a difference in the level of drug usage and property crime in our state.

Kroger's experience as a prosecutor and his smart, aggressive ideas for tackling crime in the state have won him the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of the elected district attorneys in Oregon. I truly believe that this race for Attorney General will have a long lasting impact on the quality of public safety in Oregon. I encourage you to consider John Kroger for Attorney General.

John Foote is the Clackamas County attorney general.

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