Question #7 - If the Governor and the Attorney General are from differing political parties, should provision be made for personal counsel for the Governor?
Mike Bishop: No. The Attorney General is legal counsel to the Governor and all state agencies, regardless of political affiliation. While the Governor traditionally has personal legal counsel, the Attorney General's constitutional role is not diminished. I would vehemently oppose any effort to circumvent our constitution by allowing the Executive to hire an independent attorney for counsel on issues that are constitutionally delegated to the Attorney General.
Bill Schuette: As the State's attorney, the Attorney General must prosecute and defend all actions in which the people of the State are a party or interested. The Attorney General may also intervene in actions when the people of the state are interested, as determined by the Attorney General or requested by the Governor or either branch of the legislature. As an example, I support the decision of Attorney General Mike Cox to defend our 2nd Amendment rights in a recent legal matter. I have an excellent record working with members of different parties, and as Attorney General will work with a Governor from the GOP or a different party to appropriately and steadfastly represent the people of the State of Michigan to the best of my ability.
Bruce Patterson: As the head of the Executive Branch of our Constitutionally-mandated Tri-Partite form of government, the Governor may choose to create staff positions to assist in the discharge of sworn duties. (see Article V, section 1)
Question #8 - What particular experience would you be bringing to the office and what is its importance?
Mike Bishop: I bring broad work experience from the private sector, strong political credentials as a statewide Republican candidate and record of principled, tough leadership.
As a private practicing attorney, I represented people and businesses. I wrote briefs and argued cases in court. I've negotiated settlements and complex legal matters. I've been in the trenches fighting for people and the constitution. I also served as a local prosecutor where I learned the skill of enforcing state law and protecting citizens from dangerous people-drunk drivers, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals. I know what is means to protect people and I know what it means to ensure that justice is done.
From my private practice to my role as Senate Majority Leader, I have a strong record of conservative leadership and a strong resume in the private sector, where I represented people, businesses and even governments.
Bill Schuette: I have served our state and our nation in all 3 branches of government, as a U.S. Congressman, as Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, as a Michigan State Senator and as a Judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals.
As a Judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals, I made decisions on over 800 criminal cases. As a Judge, I stood with the sheriffs, prosecutors and police officers. As a Judge, I protected the Constitution of the State of Michigan when partisan, Democrat interest groups attempted to hijack the Constitution, eliminate conservative Justices on the Michigan Supreme Court and impose one party control of the legislative re-districting process during the summer of 2008.
The depth and breadth of my experience, my set of credentials, has prepared me to help lead Michigan in the years ahead. I will be ready on day 1, to be part of a new team, with a fresh approach to realign Michigan. I have a strong record of leadership being tough on crime, cutting taxes and reducing spending and supporting families in my service to Michigan and America.
Bruce Patterson: I am the most senior attorney in the Michigan Senate. I was sworn in to practice law in Michigan courts some thirty-seven years ago. That is approximately the age of certain aspirants for the position being discussed.
My state Bar assigned practitioner number is 18701. As an indicator of experience it connotes far more background and preparation than any other person thus far indicating an interest in being Attorney General. This statement includes Republicans and Democrats.
Over two decades of trial practice saw me rise from clerk to associate to partner to President of a multi-member law firm. In 2001-2002 I was considered for Presidential appointment to the position of U. S. Attorney.
We'll wrap this up tomorrow evening. Have a good Sunday.