Attorney General candidate spars with Colleen O’Brien on fentanyl solutions

Jul 19, 2023, 2:23 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm

Washington state Attorney General candidate Nick Brown says ‘We need to bring people together’ to solve the fentanyl crisis. Brown defended his position on KIRO Newsradio’s Seattle’s Morning News.

Co-host Colleen O’Brien said Brown gave a “non-answer” when asked about what he would do to help solve the fentanyl problem if he were elected attorney general.

“I would push back, I don’t think it’s a non-answer,” said Brown. “I think getting people together, figuring out solutions is a big part of what it means to be a public servant.”

Brown said that he wants to analyze whether the state has the best policies in place “both from a criminal justice perspective and a public health perspective.”

He explained that he can help “introduce bills to talk about how we address these really acute problems.”

Nick Brown’s key endorsementGov. Inslee gives the nod to Nick Brown for Attorney General

“Do we have the right drug support for our community, and introduce bills and legislation as a public leader?” asked Brown. “Do we have sustainable systems in place that provides support for people? Are we dealing with people who have drug addiction problems? And do we have the treatments in place to support them?”

Brown explained that people can talk about policies to invest in public health strategies more specifically and whether law enforcement has the tools that they need to address the drug crisis and people causing harm in their community.

Brown is running against state Sen. Manka Dhingra in the AG’s race. The winner will replace Bob Ferguson, who is running for governor.

Co-host Dave Ross wanted to know if Brown would address the gas price issues in the state. Ross pointed out that gas prices in metro Seattle were an average of $2 higher than in the eastern part of the state. He said he assumed all gas providers paid the same carbon tax and there might be some gouging at the gas station level.

“I don’t want to say there’s something illegal that I haven’t looked at it,” Brown said. “And I think it’s very dangerous for public leaders to make accusations that they actually haven’t looked for the research, talk to the experts, etc. But if there is gouging, you should absolutely try to enforce and go after it. But I’m not going to speculate about whether it exists or not.”

Brown also said election security would be a big topic if he were attorney general.

“I think Washington benefits from having one of the best election systems in the country, the all-mail and voting actually reduces the amount of problems in the election system,” he explained. “It gives lots of people time to look at their ballots, and I voted yesterday. And the elections are not for a couple more weeks.”

Brown said he is worried about the vulnerability that’s in our system.

“And it’s hard and you have these public servants that are underpaid, trying to support their communities and just make things fair and make government work,” Brown said.

He explained that the attorney general has a role to support the secretary of state and local officials to protect the privacy of those working in the elections system. He said threats against election workers must be addressed.

More on WA’s Attorney General: Rantz: Manka Dhingra as WA attorney general would be destructive

“The number of attacks going against election officials, and frankly, all public officials are very problematic,” he said.

Brown also identified the environment and climate change as a high priority for the AG.

“You can’t work for Governor Inslee and not come out being infused with his enthusiasm for protecting our environment,” he said. “I think that you need to use the tools of the AGs office to protect the environment to protect our future. One of the things that I think AG Bob Ferguson has actually done really well is that he’s built up the environmental enforcement division that was fairly small when he first started 11 years ago. And he’s invested in that and putting people in those in those offices to go after people that are polluting, having both civil and criminal response.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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