Attorney General

The Attorney General is the state's chief legal officer. The AG represents and provides legal advices to most state agencies and enforces consumer protection laws, among other tasks.The AG will serve a four-year term; the job pays $90,000 annually.

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    Mark Brnovich

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    January Contreras

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Biographical Information

What makes you the best person for the job?

In an increasingly partisan atmosphere, what role does politics play in the job of Attorney General?

What role should the Attorney General’s office play in shaping legislative policy? Should it be reactive to challenges? Or proactive to ward off potential lawsuits?

What is your stance on "religious freedom" laws that allow businesses and others to refuse services to certain customers based on religious belief? Do such laws violate the state or federal Constitution?

Arizona has not executed a prisoner since 2014. What should Arizona’s protocol be for administering executions?

What role should Arizona take, if any, regarding immigration-related crimes?

What steps would you take regarding the state’s opioid addition problem?

Do you believe voter fraud is a major concern in Arizona?

What improvements or changes would you propose, if any, regarding the state’s medical marijuana program?

What is the greatest challenge facing Arizona’s next Attorney General?

Age 53
Family Wife, Susan (Superior Court Judge); two teenage daughters
Twitter @mark4az
Since I became AG in 2015, I’ve taken on tough fights and done what's best for Arizona regardless of the politics. Whether it be sticking up for taxpayers by suing the Board of Regents over dramatic increases for in-state tuition, or defending the will of the voters when they approved an increase in the minimum wage. As Attorney General, my job is to uphold the law as it is, not as I think it should be. I've gone after corrupt public officials, prosecuted criminals who have harmed our kids and seniors, and sued powerful corporations like Theranos, GM, and VW, for defrauding the public. Since I’ve been attorney general, my office's consumer protection efforts have returned more than $30 million dollars to consumers, and stopped legions of fraudsters in their tracks. This year, I worked with the legislature to pass one of the nation’s most pro-consumer data breach laws. I want nothing more than to continue to seek justice for the people of Arizona, and respectfully ask for your vote.
The job of the Attorney General is to represent the people of Arizona in a non-partisan manner that upholds the rule of law. The chief law enforcement officer must not be concerned with matters of right and left, but instead with the matter of right and wrong - with justice. For the past four years, I have been loyal to these principles. Politics shouldn't play a part in the duties of the Attorney General. I'm generally concerned that attorneys general across the country are becoming too partisan and losing sight of their core mission. Attorneys general have a duty to defend the law and the Constitution as it is, not as they think it should be.
Generally, the Attorney General’s office is not constitutionally charged with policy making. However, when it comes to measures relating to the effective enforcement of laws targeting those who victimize others, I am “all-in” for supporting improvements to law enforcement policies. When we found gaps in Arizona's telemarketing laws, we wrote and helped pass legislation that makes it easier to prosecute illegal telemarketers. When we identified loopholes in consumer protection laws that made it easy for moving companies to load up a consumer’s property and demand more payment than what was agreed upon, my office worked to make the practice illegal. This year, I pushed legislation that modernized Arizona's data breach laws, giving consumers rights when their personal information is stolen. We have also worked with the Legislature to limit frivolous lawsuits, saving the state and its residents from undue litigation expenses.
The U.S. Supreme Court struggled with this topic earlier this year when it sent the Masterpiece Cakeshop case back to a lower court. Clearly, hate-based discrimination towards a group of people has no place in our public accommodations. Religious freedom does not give free rein to violate another person’s civil rights. The Constitution grants the free exercise of religion and freedom of belief. My hope is that our culture will find the reasonable balance. Mutual understanding will go a long way toward protecting vulnerable people, including people of faith in conduct not based on animus toward a particular group, but rather on sincerely held beliefs.
Over 100 inmates are currently on death row in Arizona. The state moved away from the gas chamber in the early nineties and opted for lethal injection as the only legal form of capital punishment. Today, the federal bureaucracy welcomes lawsuits filed by death row inmates and anti-death penalty advocates in order to prevent us from importing the drugs necessary to carry out the ultimate punishment. If we are going to continue to support humane capital punishment as a society, the federal government must release its stranglehold on the legal importation of lethal injection drugs. Alternatively, Arizona voters may want to consider authorizing alternative forms of capital punishment.
Cooperation between state and local law enforcement with federal authorities is critical to enforcing our immigration laws. Local and state law enforcement agencies are on the frontlines of defending our borders from drug-traffickers, human smugglers, and gang-related violence. Our office already handles the majority of prosecutions originating from DPS Border Strike Force arrests. The state has to take some role in the prosecution of immigration-related crimes because the federal government lacks the will or resources to address the issue on its own. Congress has become paralyzed on the issue, and with the executive branch changing hands periodically, the laws already on the books are often left unenforced.
It’s very important to me that we as a state ensure patients get the medicine they need and that we don’t interfere with doctor / patient relationships. But where the system has been abused by anyone, from manufacturers to end-line providers, we must act. As AG I’ve been aggressive in prosecuting dirty doctors and individuals who are running pill mills or processing fraudulent prescriptions. Our medicaid fraud unit handles most of the criminal prosecutions for opioid related offenses for the state, and is the third best ranked unit for prosecutions in the country. We are suing opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics for illegally marketing a powerful synthetic opioid spray 50 times more powerful than heroin. We are involved in several multistate investigations against opioid manufacturers, and have other opioid fraud investigations currently underway. We recently provided $400,000 in community grants to assist with opioid abuse and addiction prevention education in public schools.
Protecting the integrity of our elections should be the top priority for elections officials and preventing and identifying voter fraud should be a major concern for all. As Attorney General, I have not only faithfully defended legislation passed by the Legislature intended to prevent voter fraud, but I helped pass a bill that established penalties for individuals who purposely vote in multiple jurisdictions in the same election. Arizona has some of the strongest voter identification laws and protections in the country.
As the state's Attorney General, it is my duty to defend voter protected laws. I’m not a policymaker, but generally speaking, if we can find a good way to root out the abuses in the current system, those who may legitimately benefit from the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act might be better off.
Unfortunately, I fear partisanship among state attorneys general will increase. Too often, the approach for AGs is to quickly file or join partisan-driven multi-state lawsuits that are brought forth without any effort to reach across the aisle. As AG, I have worked with my colleagues on bipartisan efforts. I was the only Republican to join a group of Democrats protesting the massive proposed fee increase for our National Parks, including the Grand Canyon. As the “People’s Lawyer” the AG has an obligation to defend the law, the Constitution, and the will of Arizona voters regardless of personal opinions. I want nothing more than to continue to seek justice for the people of Arizona, and I’m best prepared to handle that challenge for the next four years.
Age 49
Family Husband of 23 years and two sons.
Twitter @januaryaz
Campaign Phone (480) 382-6593
People should come before politics, and you will on my watch. Arizonans are ready to hire strong and steady leaders who will focus on making government work for people in an honest and efficient way. That's the single biggest concern that made me run to serve as Attorney General. It's especially concerning to watch the incumbent use taxpayer funding for purely political fights that don't represent Arizona interests. He has us defending ExxonMobil and the secrecy of dark money donors in out-of-state courtrooms, and suing to end the only protection for people with pre-existing health conditions. We deserve better. I approach this job as an attorney first, with a personal and professional commitment to uphold the constitution and protect the people of Arizona. I’ve worked every day of my career to serve the public. As a former county prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General, and non-profit founder, I've prioritized people - not politics - and that will continue each day of my career.
The office of the Attorney General is the office of chief legal counsel for these agencies, providing advice and counsel to avoid costly legal mistakes and protect the constitution. As Attorney General, I will assist the courts, Legislature, and Arizona executive agencies by issuing Attorney General Opinions that give needed clarification of the law. These opinions do not usurp the power of the Legislature (or the people of Arizona through the initiative process) to make laws, but rather Arizona Attorney General Opinions clarify what the law is so that executive agencies and other parties can properly follow the law.
Arizona is a state that should be open for business to everyone. The promise of our Constitution bestows equality to every person, and I will be a champion for the constitutional rights of all Arizonans. Laws which seek to allow discrimination have no place in Arizona. These laws that seek to allow discrimination are frequently targeting people and families who are LGBTQ. The current Attorney General himself tried to stop same-sex married couples from adopting kids from the foster care system. In my opinion, as a lawyer and as a non-profit executive who has served many foster children, his attempt to keep LGBTQ families from adoption flouts our Constitution, and is another example of putting politics before the best interest of Arizonans. Faith guides many people in their actions, but my faith would never lead me to discriminate against another person nor create a scheme of laws that legitimize discrimination. As Attorney General, I will fight for an Arizona that protects everyone.
Arizona's Attorney General has a legal obligation to uphold and enforce Arizona's law related to the death penalty. As Attorney General, I will enforce our laws and work to improve the criminal justice system so that this sentence is delivered only in cases of proven guilt of a heinous crime. The law calls for erring on the side of diligence in administering this punishment, and I would take this responsibility solemnly as Attorney General. The Attorney General’s Office will continue to advise the Department of Corrections and the Governor’s Office on how to comply with the law, our Constitution, and how to be as humane as possible when sentences are carried out in Arizona. As I have throughout my career, I will ensure that victims of crime have a strong voice and are given every opportunity to seek justice throughout criminal proceedings.
The Attorney General's office is not an immigration enforcement agency. As with any area of the law, we will uphold all laws within our jurisdiction to enforce. While not specifically immigration-related, transnational crimes involving human trafficking, drug cartels, child pornography, terrorism, and money laundering require building and maintaining coalitions with local, federal, and tribal law enforcement. The non-profit I founded assists victims of trafficking, and I know the greed and brutality that can exist both here in the U.S. and abroad for trafficking survivors. As Attorney General, I will seek federal grants for coalition building, and to provide rural and tribal law enforcement with increased training and resources to prevent, investigate, and prosecute complex transnational crimes. We will be much more effective at making Arizona the last place bad actors want to bring these crimes to.
Opioid and heroin addiction have wreaked havoc on many families in Arizona, and there are no boundaries to who it impacts. I've met parents and grandparents from a wide variety of backgrounds who have experienced great pain due to addiction. While the Attorneys General in many states have been aggressive in going after the drug companies that manufacture and distribute opioids, we haven't seen this strong leadership here - leaving one city to take matters in their own hand and sue pharmaceutical companies directly. My plan to address opioid abuse is to, first, cut off the endless supply of drugs flooding the market. As Attorney General, I will lead the charge to go after drug companies that have shamefully profited by misleading the public on the dangers of opioids. We must also increase the availability of treatment for Arizonans who are addicted and improve access to high-quality healthcare.
Like most Americans, I am deeply concerned about the health and integrity of our democracy. Americans throughout generations have fought and died to protect our freedom to choose our own leaders. The threats to our elections and democracy are very real, but we must be honest about what those threats are. There is hard evidence that foreign actors have worked to influence elections right here in Arizona. At the same time, dark money fueled by wealthy special interests are trying to rig our elections for their own benefit. In Arizona, we are being flooded with campaign cash by dark money donors who want to have more influence on the direction of our state than our own voters. As Attorney General, I am committed to taking on these forces. I will work to protect our democracy and the right of every eligible citizen to vote. Where legitimate fraud and undue influence exists, I will hold the bad actors accountable, just as I will when there is evidence of voter suppression.
Along the campaign trail I have met Arizonans living with cancer and other chronic illnesses who are eager to share how the quality of their life has improved with medical marijuana. I keep their individual faces and stories in mind whenever I am asked about medical marijuana. Our voters created Arizona's medical marijuana program, and as Attorney General I will carry out my duty to uphold this law. The Arizona Department of Health Services created a regulatory structure for medical marijuana program that respects the will of the voters, and also protects public health and safety. These are principles that I will work to enforce.

The single biggest challenge that I am preparing for is standing up to the dark money donors and special interests that have our state government in a chokehold. So long as these forces are calling the shots, many of the priorities of every day Arizonans - like K-12 education, affordable health care, equal rights, and school safety – will be ignored. That just isn't right. Whether it’s the Arizona Corporation Commission or ties between donors and elected officials, on my watch, the Attorney General team will work to root out unethical actions and corruption. I stand for transparency and accountability in our elections and our government. I am committed to keep seniors and children safe, to protect the constitutional and civil rights of individuals, to aggressively protect consumers, to provide sound advice to our government agencies, and to protect clean air, land, and water. Together, we will ensure that everyone has to play by the same rules.