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AG candidate tired of Ferguson’s focus on the wrong Washington

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Matt Larkin, a Republican who lives with his young family in Woodinville, plans to run for Washington State Attorney General.

Larkin, who spoke with the Jason Rantz Show on 770 AM KTTH, is a former deputy prosecutor in Pierce County. He also worked in the White House as an Associate Director of Presidential Speech Writing. Recently, he’s been a business development manager and chief legal counsel for Romac Industries in Bothell.

Jason: So why now?

Larkin: Yeah, it’s a big step. I was born and raised in Seattle – lifelong Washingtonian. I live in Woodinville with my wife and four kids, who are nine years old and younger. That’s a great question. Why would I jump into a race right now when I’m drowning in diapers and baby food? But the answer is pretty straight forward. It goes back to an event that happened this last summer. I was taking the whole family to a Mariners game. As I went downtown, I was trying to get the kids from the parking lot to the stadium and I was appalled at what had happened to the city that I grew up in. I had gone a lot on my own, but I don’t bring the family down that much. Seeing it through the lens of a father was really appalling. I was constantly distracting my kids from what was going on around them. There was a man in an alley shooting up with a heroin needle. There was a guy taking a dump in a garbage can and we were walking around tents and stepping over bottles and needles. I was saying ‘hey kids, look at that bird, look at the ferry boat, look at that cool billboard,’ and frankly, it didn’t work. I had to have that awkward conversation with a 6-year-old about what heroin is. I don’t think any parent should have to have that conversation.

Jason: So then what role will the Attorney General play in going after that? The average person would say that this is happening because the Seattle City Council or the mayor’s office isn’t doing enough.

Larkin: The Attorney General’s office is a huge bully pulpit. It’s seen as the top law enforcement official in the state. It’s a role where we can bring people together and actually start having these conversations. I think bringing community leaders, I think bringing people who are on the front lines of these issues together and having those conversations about what can we do to solve this. I think it’s a leadership position that’s not used correctly right now.

Jason: My assumption is that you’re against heroin injection sites. Is that correct?

Larkin: I am. That’s correct.

Jason: It would appear that, in some form, the Seattle City government is going to move forward with this. And let’s say that they move ahead and implement it and they get sued by the federal government. What would you do at that point, if you’re Attorney General? Do you defend the city of Seattle?

Larkin: No. If you’ve been up to Vancouver, you’ve seen these injection sites and the disaster that’s within a mile radius of them. It’s not in the best interest of Washington to do that. And that’s what I’d be doing as Attorney General – I’d be looking out for the best interest of Washingtonians.

Jason: What’s your take on how Bob Ferguson has approached I-976?

Larkin: Well, it’s a disaster. You couldn’t have written a better script if you were writing a Hollywood movie. You’ve got an attorney general who’s openly against an initiative. He’s already suing the sponsor of the initiative over some other issue. And then it gets passed and now it’s the attorney general’s job to defend it. My goodness. And it’s done by his office. He wrote the title of it. People are asking, ‘Why didn’t Bob recuse himself of this?’ And that’s a good question. It brings us back to the point that sadly, the office of the attorney general has been politicized to the point that we’re wondering and scratching our heads on why didn’t the attorney general recuse himself on this. And that should never be the case. We should never have to ask why an attorney general didn’t recuse himself. It should be a non-political office to the point where he can defend it with a good conscience. Frankly, as a citizen, this one stings. If I take off my candidate hat and put on my citizen hat, it stings. Fifty-three percent of Washingtonians passed this and then you have a Superior Court judge, who was appointed by the governor, putting an injunction on it and then you have an attorney general, who maybe shouldn’t be involved in defending it at all, taking it to the Supreme Court. It just feels like the rights of the people were usurped here. It hurts a little bit.

Jason: You made the point that Bob Ferguson has made this office into a political one. He’s very clearly a progressive Democrat. If you don’t want it to be partisan, what’s the argument for a Republican for why they should vote for you?

Larkin: It’s about priorities. You can get in and you can use the office however you want to use it – Republicans and Democrats. But you look at an attorney general like Rob McKenna, who used it the way it should be. He was a Republican. He stood up for Washingtonians. He did it the right way. It is a non-partisan office and it should be used that way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prioritize things in the office and focus on things that are important to you. It’s a perfect example of what Bob is doing. He’s in there as a liberal Democrat and is using the office to focus on things that drum up his liberal support and his base and that he can fundraise off of. That’s why he’s suing the Trump administration 50 times and not addressing the issues that we have here in this Washington. He’s focusing on the wrong Washington.

Listen to Larkin’s full interview with Rantz here.

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