- By The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board
Over the past 12 years, the Attorney General’s Office has been politicized more than any other in the state — outside of the governor, of course.
The office went from one that was a national leader on consumer issues such as elder abuse to one overly focused on law enforcement, but following other states’ lead on issues ranging from opioids to human trafficking.
The state can and should be a national leader on both fronts when it comes to issues directly affecting Floridians. In the Aug. 28 primaries, Democrats and Republicans will have a clear opportunity to choose a candidate they believe will best represent their party in November; and to replace current AG Pam Bondi.
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For Republicans, the Post Editorial Board endorses former Circuit Court judge and federal prosecutor Ashley Moody, who is in a heated primary race with state Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola. White, a first-term lawmaker who declined to interview with the Editorial Board, has an 11-point lead in the latest poll.
But Moody, unlike White, appears to be better at keeping her eye on the ball when it comes to how the AG’s office can best serve Floridians rather than President Donald Trump. And again, unlike White, she has actually prosecuted a case which points to her breadth of experience.
Moody calls herself “a prosecutor, not a politician,” though since 2006 she was a judge in the 13th Circuit until resigning in 2017 to run for AG. From 2004-2006, she was a federal prosecutor and spent three years early in her career practicing commercial law with the politically influential Holland and Knight law firm. She has accounting and law degrees.
In the Democratic primary, state Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa, is running against Tampa attorney Ryan Torrens. Both candidates are vociferous in calling for the AG’s office to become more of a consumer watchdog. As with Moody, the Post endorses Shaw for his wide experience, not only as an attorney but his years as the state’s insurance consumer advocate under former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.
“This office needs to step up its activity,” Shaw, 40, told the Editorial Board. “It is an independent office that touches nearly every issue important to Floridians, and it should act that way.”
He said his priorities include ensuring every Floridian, from the largest corporation to the most common criminal, knows that they will be treated equally under the law and holding the pharmaceutical industry accountable for their role in Florida’s ongoing opioid epidemic.
Read all of The Post’s endorsements online at www.MyPalmBeachPost.com/2018-endorsements.