Democratic incumbent Bob Ferguson and Libertarian challenger Joshua Trumbull, candidates for state attorney general, met Monday with The Columbian’s editorial board to discuss key issues and make their cases for the top law enforcement job in Washington.
Ferguson began by noting that, in his opinion, he’d delivered on all three of his campaign promises made four years ago: to run an independent law firm, asking the five deputies who served under Republican predecessor Rob McKenna to take on powerful interests such as Comcast and Johnson & Johnson, and advocating open government, including getting a bill passed to improve the Open Public Meetings Act.
Trumbull sprung a new twist on the campaign by sharing that, if elected, he would advocate for a community protection act to revise and strengthen consumer protection, arguing that Ferguson hasn’t delivered enough in that arena. Ferguson disagreed with Trumbull, noting his recent lawsuit filed against Comcast.
“I don’t think they’re doing well or enough against the financial industry,” Trumbull said. “This area is getting missed.”
Ferguson said that more resources have been devoted to working on financial industry cases, including increasing the number of attorneys in consumer protection from eight to 20. The office won a case against Standard & Poor’s.
“Do I think we should do more? I think we should do more of everything we do,” Ferguson said, noting that he could hire 10 more attorneys and still not have enough to bring all the necessary litigation. “You’ll get no quarrel for me. I just don’t know that it’s a fair criticism in this case.”
The two also sparred politely over other issues, including Ferguson’s recent announcement he plans to pursue a statewide ban on the sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Washington. Those who legally own them are grandfathered. Trumbull said he supports the ownership of arms and believes any restrictions should come from a change at the constitutional level.
Ferguson said he thinks it’s an issue where the people of the state are ready for a change.
“I support the Second Amendment. I support the right to bear arms, but it’s just wrong that we … do not and cannot have limits,” Ferguson said.