Q&A: Republican candidates for Oregon attorney general answer our questions

The attorney general race is open this year, with the retirement of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in January.

Two of the four candidates in the race – Will Lathrop and Michael Cross – are Republicans vying to be the state’s top law enforcement official. The attorney general oversees a staff of about 1,300 people and represents the state in court actions and legal proceedings of interest to the state. 

Editor’s note

This Q & A follows one for the two Democratic candidates. We’ve also profiled all four candidates. Check Oregon Capital Chronicle’s primary page to stay up to date on Oregon primary election coverage.

The attorney general doesn’t have to be a lawyer, but the governor, lawmakers and state agency officials can ask them for legal advice on issues related to the state or a jurisdiction. The attorney general’s office is also responsible for writing ballot titles for measures.

The attorney general oversees the Department of Justice, enforces antitrust laws, assists state district attorneys, investigates organized crime and public corruption and administers the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.​

The winners of the primary will square off in November, and the winner will serve a four-year term that’s not subject to term limits. 

Here are the answers from the Republican candidates:

What in your background makes you the best candidate to be Oregon’s top enforcer?


I am a public servant, an experienced prosecutor and a victims advocate – not a politician. With two decades of law enforcement experience, I have dedicated my career to public service by protecting children and those living on the margins from violence, abuse and exploitation. I have eight years of executive leadership experience, leading large multinational teams and partnering with various international governments and development agencies.  

I first served as a prosecutor in Oregon where I focused on protecting children from sexual violence and abuse and prosecuted cases of adult sexual assault, domestic violence, homicide, drug trafficking and human trafficking. Continuing my commitment to victim protection, I worked at the national level at the National District Attorneys Association. I then joined a global human rights organization where I led multinational teams working to protect vulnerable populations from violence, human trafficking and forced labor in east and west Africa.

It’s painful for me to watch the state I love suffer. Oregon is a wounded beauty – a beautiful state marred by crime and addiction. I represent a dawn of new leadership that will bring lasting change and ensure a safer, healthier future for all Oregonians.


Allow me to share the relevant aspects of my background and experience that qualifies me for this important position. With over three decades of experience in executive leadership roles, including as chief executive officer, COO and operations manager across diverse corporate and limited liability settings, I have honed a profound understanding of what it takes to drive meaningful change and deliver results efficiently.

In addition to my extensive managerial expertise, I possess a nuanced comprehension of various legal domains, including civil, domestic, contract and constitutional law. This multifaceted understanding equips me with the acumen necessary to navigate the complexities and challenges as your next attorney general, efficiently and effectively.  Additionally, my military experience and training will serve me well in this role, as discipline and exquisite leadership abilities are certainly paramount.

Moreover, I recognize the pivotal role of the attorney general as a staunch advocate and guardian of the rights and welfare of Oregon’s citizens, distinct from the executive branch. My commitment to serving as a steadfast representative of the people underscores my unwavering dedication to upholding justice and safeguarding the interests of all Oregonians, free of bias.

Please name three areas that you consider to be the most important for laws to be enforced and why?


My predecessor believed (and practiced) that she was the governor’s “lawyer.”  Shockingly, she said those exact words in a Zoom conference call with the Oregonian in their endorsement interview between (her) and I in 2020.  I was shocked.  Flabbergasted. While it’s true the AG defends and prosecutes on behalf of the state,  the state is NOT the executive branch of government. The state is the PEOPLE. The AG represents the people, and it’s high time that the office started treating the job that way.  

I will have an open door policy, and we will have operators standing by so citizens can report issues of transgressions from companies or even other departments in government.  I want the AG’s office to be your first call, if you can’t resolve an issue on your own.  It seems to me that many cases can be quickly resolved without the need to spend thousands of dollars to hire an attorney. I think what’s happening now is that many of these transgressions are being unnecessarily tolerated by Oregonians because they can’t afford to hire an attorney to defend their rights.

Aside from that: corruption, fentanyl, child Trafficking and the homeless crisis, which I have a solution for.


1. Laws designed to protect communities against organized crime, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized retail theft and online exploitation of children.

2. Laws designed to protect vulnerable populations from violence, abuse, exploitation and hate crimes.

3. Laws that promote good governance and protect our democracy, which include Oregon’s public corruption and accountability laws.

Q. What are the gaps and shortcomings in Oregon’s consumer protection laws and system and how would you address them? 


Oregon has strong consumer protection laws that are designed to create a level playing field and healthy competition among Oregon businesses while protecting Oregonians from bad actors. However, the current administration has over-emphasized targeting large corporations to produce catchy headlines. As Oregon’s next attorney general, I will focus on equal enforcement of the law and will hold all bad actors accountable. Equal enforcement of Oregon’s consumer protection laws is essential for a healthy and free economy and protects consumers. 


This question was touched on earlier, but honestly we have more pressing issues to deal with in Oregon, as mentioned previously.  I would be a champion to change how social media censors users and deletes their accounts that contain their materials, photos etc.  Transactional records that are provided to companies and federal agencies relevant to financial purchases that a person makes is alarming.  People are being categorized and profiled by their purchases, which I see as a violation of their right to privacy.  Many sports enthusiasts, gun enthusiasts and other segments of our population have been unfairly targeted.

Q. How would your administration be different from Ellen Rosenblum’s tenure?


Let me be unequivocal: The paramount concern for Oregon’s attorney general must be tackling crime head-on. Every Oregonian deserves to feel secure in their homes, workplaces, places of worship and neighborhoods. It is unacceptable that fear has become pervasive under the current administration. Addressing these challenges requires a straightforward, pragmatic approach rooted in proven law enforcement strategies. We must send a clear message to those who would perpetuate harm or infringe upon the rights of others: Crime will not be tolerated. All actions will be conducted in strict adherence to the law and constitution, while steadfastly upholding the rights of individuals.


Oregon was once  a leader in victim protection and had a dynamic approach to law enforcement, victims’ rights and the rights of defendants. Over the past decade, we have gone from first to worst in nearly every category, and Oregonians are most concerned about crime, drug trafficking and public safety. My leadership will focus on problem-solving and enforcing Oregon’s laws to keep our communities safe.

Q. What three goals would you like to accomplish during your term and why?


1. Reduce the prevalence of drugs in our communities and hold drug traffickers accountable. Oregon’s politicians have enabled foreign drug cartels to profit millions of dollars by exploiting addiction and crushing families across Oregon. The prevalence of fentanyl and dangerous drugs in our state have left a growing population in Oregon vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

2. Restore safe communities and support law enforcement. It’s no secret that Oregon is suffering under a cloud of crime, and people don’t feel safe in their own communities. I’ve dedicated my career to protecting children and those living on the margins from violence, exploitation and abuse. Oregon’s politicians have defunded and stripped law enforcement of the tools that allow them to keep our communities safe. As Oregon’s next attorney general, I will rebuild the Criminal Justice Division at the Department of Justice and will draw from my experience to work collaboratively with state, local and federal law enforcement to keep our communities safe.

3. Restore trust in government and enforce Oregon’s corruption laws. Oregon has fallen into a pattern of allocating large amounts of taxpayer funds towards solving problems without accountability. As Oregon’s next attorney general, I will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for misuse of public office and misuse of public funds.


As a deeply concerned Oregonian, it pains me to witness the rapid transformation of our beloved state, exacerbated not only by neglect from our elected officials but by their active participation in its decline. My time serving honorably in the United States Air Force instilled in me an unwavering commitment to serve others, a principle reinforced during my upbringing as a Boy Scout, where values of community, stewardship, and selflessness were instilled.

In the face of the myriad challenges confronting us, it is abundantly clear that our solutions must be championed by individuals who prioritize service to their fellow human beings over personal gain. Fentanyl, Human Trafficking, and the Homeless Crisis will be solved in my tenure as AG.  It’s my deep belief that right now, it is imperative that we rally around leaders who embody these principles.  Those who are dedicated to lifting up their communities and leaving a positive impact for future generations.  I would be honored by your Vote as we successfully navigate these troubled waters together. Together we will enjoy a successful resolution to this daunting task; for the alternative is untenable.

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