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The counties included in the voters guide are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, Preble, and Butler.

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Ohio Attorney General

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  • Candidate picture

    Steve Dettelbach
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Dave Yost
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for attorney general?

What are the three biggest issues facing the office?

What solutions to the opioid/addiction crisis are we not already utilizing in Ohio that we should be?

Ohio is establishing its medical marijuana program. Do you support full legalization? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not?

The city of Dayton is considering decriminalizing minor marijuana violations. Where do you stand on that issue since recreational marijuana is illegal at the federal and state level?

What else do you want the voters to know about you and your campaign?

Experience U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio (September 2009-January 2016) Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP (2006-2009) Ohio Ethics Commission: Commissioner (2008-2009) Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio (2003-2006) Counsel to Chairman Patrick Leahy of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (2001-2003) Assistant US Attorney and Deputy Chief for the Southern Division, District of Maryland (1997-2001) Trial Attorney and Acting Deputy Chief, Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (1992-1997) Law Clerk for US District Court Federal Judge Stanley Sporkin (1991-1992)
Education Dartmouth College (1984-1988, BA) Harvard Law School (1988-1991, JD)
I have spent over 20 years as a prosecutor. I’m running for Ohio Attorney General because I want to continue to fight for there to be one set of rules that applies to everybody. That set of rules needs to be enforced in such a way that holds everyone accountable, no matter how powerful, and protects everyone, no matter how vulnerable.

On my campaign, I have traveled across the state and have heard the same things from the people I spoke with across Ohio: a belief that politicians have rigged the system to benefit themselves and powerful special interest donors, like ECOT, while real problems facing Ohioans have gone largely unaddressed and hard-working people have struggled. No one is above the law, and it is this broken system that I will work to fix as Ohio Attorney General. I have stood up to politicians in both parties and stood shoulder to shoulder with police and the FBI to protect Ohio from violent crime and public corruption. Nothing matters more than protecting Ohio.
My priorities as Attorney General include fighting Ohio’s opioid crisis, strengthening our response to human trafficking, and cracking down on the rampant culture of corruption in our Statehouse. As U.S. Attorney, I have successfully brought cases against drug companies, including the second largest controlled substance penalty in U.S. history against Omnicare for unlawfully putting opioids in senior homes. I will tackle the opioid crisis head-on by again going after pharmaceutical companies who flooded our communities with addictive pills and will make them pay for treatment. I’ll also work to improve enforcement, prevention, and treatment by implementing a multi-faceted approach just as I did as United States Attorney by developing an award-winning task force to fight opioids.

I will aggressively prosecute human traffickers for carrying out this heinous crime. As U.S. Attorney, I brought dozens of human trafficking cases, and my plan will make sure law enforcement has the tools they need to stop traffickers, give prosecutors new tools to send criminals to jail, and give victims the support they need to begin to rebuild their lives.

As a career federal prosecutor who has put away Democrats and Republicans for corruption, trust me when I say I haven’t seen a more broken system than we have in Columbus right now. On day one, I will conduct a top-to-bottom review of Ohio’s corruption laws to put a stop to the pay-to-play culture running rampant in our Statehouse and I will criminally investigate ECOT. It’s time to put Ohioans first, and stop letting special interest donors call the shots in our government.
If we want to really combat the problem, we need a comprehensive approach -- what I call a ‘three-legged stool’ approach -- of enforcement, prevention, and treatment.

As U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Ohio, I was on the front lines of the crisis. I took on a big drug company illegally distributing opioids, winning a $50 million settlement for taxpayers. I’ve prosecuted major drug traffickers that flooded the streets with opioids, including a case that resulted in one of the largest heroin seizures in Ohio history. I’ve aggressively gone after corrupt doctors and drug companies who pushed pills into our communities. I also established an award-winning task force, the Northeast Ohio Heroin and Opioid Task Force, to prevent and treat addiction, which has become a national model used in other U.S. cities.

As AG, I will continue this fight. I will make pharmaceutical companies pay for treatment, and aggressively take on those who perpetuate a crisis that has plagued our communities for far too long.
I don’t believe our state is ready for recreational marijuana yet and think we should first make sure the medical marijuana program has been properly and fully rolled out and implemented. So far, our rollout has been slow. There are a lot of lessons to learn throughout the process about quality control and fair markets that will inform the future of marijuana in Ohio.
Most evidence shows that current marijuana laws have disproportionately hurt communities of color and I understand why Ohioans have decided to change these laws to remedy that fact. I respect the right of local authorities and police officers to make decisions about the matters that impact their communities because they are on the frontlines every day. Even in matters that the state controls, we should all be listening to those voices more in discussions about the future of marijuana in Ohio and take the time to learn as much as possible from our localities.

It’s unfortunate that my opponent has compared this issue to the legalization of prostitution and ridiculed the city of Dayton for listening to the people directly confronted with the effects of this issue. As Attorney General, I look forward to working with the city of Dayton and localities across the state on how the office can best support their work in modernizing our criminal justice system and empowering local law enforcement to act in the best interest of their community.
Ohio needs an Attorney General who will stand up to politicians in both parties and take on the tough fights to protect Ohioans. As a career prosecutor, I stood up to a drug company, that improperly pushed opioids into our communities, winning a $50 million settlement. I worked side-by-side with police to put some of Ohio’s worst criminals behind bars, including terrorists, drug cartels, and child predators. That is why I am endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). And I put away corrupt Democrats and Republicans. I took on these tough cases because nobody is above the law.

My opponent is a typical politician who looks out for his donors at the expense of regular Ohioans. Dave Yost could have stopped the corrupt charter school ECOT from stealing nearly $200 million from taxpayers, but instead he collected $29,000 from the school and helped them cover up their scam by giving them awards, shutting down an investigation into their overbilling, and speaking at their graduation ceremonies. Ohioans deserve an Attorney General who will look out for them, not his donors.
Experience Ohio Auditor of State (2011-present) Delaware County Prosecutor (2003-2011) Delaware County Auditor (1999-2003) Delaware City Council (1995-1996) Partner, Burkam, Yost & Fuller (1995-2000) Private Practice Attorney (1993-1995) The Administration of Governor George Voinovich (1991-1993) Office of Columbus Mayor Dana “Buck” Rinehart (1985-1991) Reporter, Columbus Citizen-Journal (1981-1985)
Education The Ohio State University (BA) 1984 Capital University (JD) 1991
As a prosecutor and as state auditor for the past eight years, I've fought for what's right -- even when it meant going against my own political party, even when it wasn't the popular thing to do. As attorney general, I will fight to protect Ohio.

I blew the whistle on Columbus City Schools' cheating on their attendance reports and uncovered wrongdoing by rogue charter schools -- my team's work led to tougher state laws, criminal convictions and ultimately the referral of the ECOT scandal to federal authorities for possible prosecution.

One of my first priorities in office was to create the state auditor’s Public Integrity Assurance Team a group of forensic auditors, investigators and attorneys with a statewide mission to fight public corruption. Our work has helped win more than 170 criminal convictions of people who couldn't be trusted with your money or the public business.

To date, my team has identified more than $260 million in efficiency savings for state and local government. Our work has won national awards and recognition.

As a county prosecutor in Delaware County, I prosecuted cases from drug dealing to sexual assaults against women and children to murder. During those years, I served on the board of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney's Association and the Supreme Court Commission on Rules and Practice, where I was the chief architect of the reformed Criminal Rule 16, creating a fairer, faster and better discovery process.

I know Ohio -- I went to college here and worked here all my life. I'll protect Ohio, from the environment to the economic environment, from the courthouse to the schoolhouse to your house. The same rules for everybody, whether you're a drug dealer on the street corner or a polluting CEO in the corner office.
My first 100 days will be the most impactful in the history of the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Among the many actions I have planned:

Establish an executive management team charged with implementing my plan to combat opiates and opioids starting Day One, which measureable timetables and outcomes.

Personally interview employees and external stakeholders for the Attorney General's office to aid in rebalancing priorities, resources and time commitments.

My first 100 days will be the most impactful in the history of the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Among the many actions I have planned:

Establish an executive management team charged with implementing my plan to combat opiates and opioids starting Day One, which measureable timetables and outcomes.

Personally interview employees and external stakeholders for the Attorney General's office to aid in rebalancing priorities, resources and time commitments.

Complete a top-to-bottom assessment of the Attorney General's office with an emphasis on measureable goals and achievement, simpler, faster workflows and greater transparency.

Complete a top-to-bottom assessment of the Attorney General's office with an emphasis on measureable goals and achievement, simpler, faster workflows and greater transparency.
What solutions to the opioid/addiction crisis are we not already utilizing in Ohio that we should be? A great deal of what we think about opioid addiction is wrong, and we need to do things substantially differently. Ohio needs to re-examine our criminal drug penalties and addiction treatment options. We also need to modernize our prevention methods.

We should not criminalize addiction. Individuals arrested for simple drug possession should avioid felony drug charges. Misdemeanor penalties with diversion to community intervention programs seem more appropriate. However, drug dealers should face stiffer criminal penalties.

We cannot spend our way out of the problem either. Ohio needs to develop a more focused approach based on proven results. In our last state budget, lawmakers earmarked more than $182 million to address addiction. Unfortunately, those funds were divided into nearly a dozen buckets, reducing the overall effectiveness of each dollar.

Currently, state dollars flow to local government programs without any way to measure success, or determine which programs are working. The state needs to develop a better method of tracking the effectiveness of the money spent.

We should also examine new medically assisted treatment protocols. These treatment protocols are seeing positive results in the treatment community. They should be prioritized over less effective programs that result in more relapses. Further, there is promising research being done here in Ohio that seeks to identify the genetic components of addictions. This research can guide doctors when prescribing painkillers to patients who are more genetically prone to addiction.
The question of whether to decriminalize marijuana is best left to state legislators. As Attorney General, I will be duty bound to defend the uphold the law, regardless of my personal preference. I do believe, however, that drug possession for personal use should not be a felony offense, and penalties for trafficking should be greater.
A city cannot make legal what the state has made illegal.
I have spent my entire adult life getting ready for the job of Ohio attorney general. As state auditor, I fought against public corruption and for accountability. As a former newspaper reporter, I strived to uncover the truth. As a county prosecutor, I brought violent criminals to justice.

The attorney general protects Ohio – our kids, our communities, our environment and our most vulnerable. This means protecting the rule of law. We cannot have an attorney general who will use the courts for political gain or pursue partisan causes at the peoples’ expense. We need someone who will call balls and strikes.

That is how I have spent my entire career, and that is what I will do as attorney general.