Swanson for attorney general

Lori Swanson’s experience makes her the best choice.

On Tuesday, there’s a selection we’ll be making in the ballot box that’s had a considerably lower profile than others this election season. The post is Attorney General and, while there hasn’t been much mudslinging in this race, don’t let that make you think it’s any less important. The Attorney General is the state’s highest ranking legal officer and is responsible for consumer advocacy, enforcing antitrust laws, investigating corporate malfeasance and ensuring that criminals are brought to justice and average citizens are afforded protection under the law.

We believe that Lori Swanson is the best choice for Minnesota. She has seven years experience working in the Attorney General’s office, first as a deputy to Mike Hatch and, since 2003, as Solicitor General where she organized and directed state investigations.

Her record on health care is particularly promising in a time when nearly 400,000 Minnesotans are uninsured. Her audits of providers including HealthPartners, Medica, Allina and Fairview Health Services found obscene amounts of company money spent by executives on lavish vacations and golfing trips – money that could have been used to provide better health care to their clients. Swanson also led an audit that found uninsured patients were being charged by hospitals up to four times more than insurance companies had to pay for the same treatment and she negotiated to end that plainly unethical practice.

Republican candidate Jeff Johnson deserves commendation for his leadership on methamphetamine legislation during his time in the House, but some of his other positions are alarming. In 2004, Johnson voted to cut all funding to the University of Minnesota because of privately funded stem-cell research conducted at the University. Reckless votes like this make us question whether as attorney general he would be beholden to narrow ideological interests outside the mainstream and clearly puts him at odds with the University’s priority of being a top research institution.

While the Independence Party’s John James and Green Party’s Papa John Kolstad are also worthy of consideration, we believe Swanson’s experience makes her the most qualified to look out for the interests of all Minnesotans as our next Attorney General.