Voters on Nov. 8 will replace outgoing Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Indiana Lawyer asked the candidates, Democrat Lorenzo Arredondo and Republican Curtis Hill, to respond to the same five questions. Here’s what they had to say.
(Responses have been edited for style and clarity.)
What most qualifies you to be attorney general?
Lorenzo Arredondo, Democrat
Retired Lake Superior judge
I bring over three decades of judicial experience to the office. Prior to that, I served as a deputy prosecutor, assistant county attorney, private practitioner, and circuit court judge. I attended Indiana University, earning two degrees including a master’s in education. I returned to Gary, Indiana, as a teacher, working with students at every grade level.
Curtis Hill, Republican
Elkhart County prosecutor
My 14 years serving Elkhart County as prosecuting attorney has prepared me to serve the people of Indiana. The Office of the Attorney General is a large public-interest law firm that requires strong leadership. As prosecutor, I transformed a part-time, inefficient prosecutor’s office into a full-time operation regarded as one of the most effective prosecutor’s offices in the state. I understand what it takes to work with other stakeholders in government and the private sector to achieve results. As an advocate on behalf of Hoosiers for the last 27 years, I am best qualified to advocate on the behalf of all Hoosiers as their attorney general.
As attorney general, what would be your top priorities?
Arredondo: We must address the opiate scourge that is in every county by using the Medicaid and Medicare investigatory units of the office and also the licensing division to crack down on providers who are contributing to the problem. We will assist county prosecutors who crack down on over-prescribing practitioners. We will also put into place strong education programs.
The attorney general’s office must aggressively investigate consumer complaints and deceptive business practices. Violations will be subject to the maximum penalties under that law.
Hill: Defend freedom by fighting government overreach and burdensome regulation. Hoosiers need the freedom to be creative and invest in our future.
Protect families from violent crime, drug abuse, and high-tech crimes by utilizing data-driven innovations in public safety measures.
Develop leadership initiatives aimed at arming children against substance abuse and criminal behavior.
How would you describe the legal philosophy you would bring to the Office of Attorney General?
Arredondo: If elected, I will return the attorney general’s office back to what it is supposed to be — the attorney for the people. I will not file or defend lawsuits which waste time and millions of taxpayers’ dollars, which advance ideologies and cannot be won.
I would implement the resources of the mediation division of the attorney general’s office to its maximum potential.
Hill: I believe in the American justice system. I believe in the rule of law and accountability. Justice requires balance, transparency and above all, fairness.
Tell us something about you personally that you believe would be a strength as attorney general.
Arredondo: I’ve dedicated my life to my family, my community and to the law.
I am the youngest of 10 children, born to immigrant parents. My father is one of the founders of the United Steelworkers Union in East Chicago. When my father died tragically when I was 13, our sense of duty to family was heightened. We each started working, sometimes three jobs at a time while juggling school. I worked in the mills to earn money for college. I became a teacher in some of Indiana’s toughest schools before earning a scholarship to the University of San Francisco Law School, where I became one of the founders of the Hispanic National Bar Association.
My mother taught us that we would never inherit money. We would never inherit land, but we inherited something more valuable — a proud family tradition of public service and love for community and country.
Hill: Leadership requires courage and I learned courage from my father. When I was a small boy, our home was bombed because some bad people made good on a threat to my father for building his home in the “wrong” neighborhood. My father bought a shotgun to defend his home, his family, and his freedom. Just one of many lessons that has shaped my character.
Why should Indiana lawyers vote for you?
Arredondo: I want all Hoosiers to have high expectations of the person who is their next attorney general. In my view, we need to return that office to its mission — to serve the people of Indiana, not some partisan political ideology. The attorney general is not a launching pad to higher office; it is a position of advocacy to keep communities safe, to protect Hoosiers from fraud, abuse and neglect.
The office needs someone with experience, skills and temperament in order to make considered judgments — not waste time or taxpayer money on unnecessary lawsuits. Never in the history of Indiana has someone with judicial and teaching experience sought this important office.
Hill: Having served the legal profession as an advocate, prosecutor, (and) on the Indiana State Bar Association board of governors, Board of Law Examiners’ Character and Fitness Committee, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute trustee and Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council ethics committee, I have the proven character and experience to serve as attorney general with integrity.•