The Democratic candidate for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office wants to clean up state and local government in the state.
And that process would start with the AG’s office.
David Pepper, recently announced a plan which would implement initiatives to clean up the “ethically questionable behavior by state and local elected officials and senior state employees.”
Pepper, of Cincinnati, says his history on Cincinnati City Council, as a Hamilton County commissioner and attorney, will help him bring the Attorney General’s Office back to the people.
“The problem is that politics if broken in Columbus and in Washington, DC.,” said Pepper recently. “We need to make a difference for Ohio families. That’s not being done today.”
Pepper said the attorney general’s office must have credibility “that can only be earned by running an office that is a model for public integrity.”
Some of the items which Pepper wants to change if elected includes:
• Ending Pay to Play: Pepper says he wants to end the current practice that requires anyone who wishes to do work with the AG’s office must hire high-priced lobbyists to get in the door. He says the lobbyists are personal friends of current office holder Mike DeWine.
• Hiring for AG positions: Pepper says he will open up the hiring process so that vacant positions are publicized and open to Ohio’s residents.
• Ethics and conflict of interest: Pepper says he will ask for a review of AG conflict of interest policies and pass reforms to establish guidelines on when an individual should recuse themselves from a case.
• Transparency: Pepper says every Ohio resident should know what the AG’s office is doing on their behalf. If elected, Pepper said he would post all out-of-state cases online so the citizens know what cases the office is bringing on their behalf; and post all special counsel and other outside vendors to the office online.
The office of attorney general, said Pepper, should be a role model for other state and local offices in the state.
“If a person feels there corruption going on, the Attorney General’s Office should be doing something about it,” said Pepper. “But first we have to glean up the AG’s office. It should be a model of integrity in the state.”
He also feels if a person has been in politics for decades, he/she can’t see anything wrong with giving contracts to those people who make contributions to their political campaigns.
“I’ve heard people say ‘that’s just how it works.’ My response is that’s not how it works and it needs to be changed,” said Pepper. “A fresh set of eyes can show people what’s not appropriate.
“The attorney general’s office is the best office to crack down on corruption. He (DeWine) won’t do it because he;’s breaking the rules. He has no ability to enforce the rules.”
As a Democrat from “the Republican part of Ohio,” Pepper’s goal is to get the crossover votes in November.
“I’m good at battling crime,” said Pepper. “I helped clean up the Cincinnati crime. I have a good track record on spending and being fiscally responsible to the community.”
Pepper said the AG’s office should respect local law enforcement.
“They are on the front lines in keeping us safe,” said Pepper. “The view from Columbus shows a three-year nonstop assault on local government and law enforcement. I want to restart the partnership with local law enforcement. The AG’s position should not take away from local law enforcement.”
Pepper also questions the recent cuts in treatment programs for people with addictions.
“Mike (DeWine) has a grant view of what the state does,” said Pepper. “I have the local level in my view. I don’t want to take funds from the local level to get things done at the state level.”
Pepper also has a plan to take on heroin addiction in the state. His plan would include treating the heroin epidemic as a public health crisis; drying up the demand for heroin; saving lives with the drug Narcan; cracking down on the dealers who supply and deal the drugs; and to provide support and training for local law enforcement.
Additional information about Pepper can be found on his website, www.DavidPepper.com.
Pepper and DeWine will face each other in the November election.