Nathan Conyers goes one-on-one with Attorney General candidate Brad Schimel

October 3, 2014

2014-10-03 11_44_50-Miltimes 10-2-14 issue.pdf - Adobe ReaderNC: Why are you running for the position of Attorney General?
BRAD SCHIMEL: I’ve got two daughters and they’re both in middle school and I believe my kids and everybody’s kids deserve a safe Wisconsin. I’m running as that candidate with almost 25 years of frontline prosecution in Waukesha County. I’ve got the experience to know how to take on those tough public safety charges in Wisconsin.
NC: From that comment, I take it you’re saying there’s a crime problem in Wisconsin?
BS: Absolutely there is. And there are things that are affecting every kind of neighborhood in the cities. For example, heroin, prescription, and opium problems are affecting every facet of urban, suburban, rural, no matter what kind of neighborhood, this is spreading fast and it is destroying families. This is no time to have an Attorney General to be learning on the job. You’ve got to hit the ground running on this. We can’t allow watching our young people die.
NC: Are you suggesting that your opponent will be learning on the job?
BS: She’s a nice person, but she only has six years, limited experience as a prosecutor, and most importantly she hasn’t demonstrated that she has a vision for the office. We have released detailed plans from our office and later today I plan to address violence against women. I’ve worked with the experts in the field and certainly one place I want to take advantage is the violence problems in the city. Every parent should be able to let their child play freely on the playground, on the porch, or wait safely for the bus at the bus stop. But it’s heartbreaking to know there are bullets flying past in each of these places. The most important thing we can do as parents is to protect our kids and when the day comes that we can’t, that’s heartbreaking.
NC: How does crime differ in the City of Milwaukee to that of a rural community like Oconomowoc?
BS: Well certainly, drug problems affect every community, but what differs in Waukesha County and Oconomowoc is that we don’t have that violent crime; they’re not worried about their child waiting at the bus stop.
NC: What could you have done as Attorney General to circumvent Sierra Guyton from getting shot on the Clarke Street playground?
BS: One of the big challenges is that the Milwaukee DA’s office is tremendously understaffed, and they’re not able to deal with the fix-the broken-window-type-problem because they’re working on bigger problems. I would like to see the Department of Justice have a stronger partnership with Milwaukee County law enforcement. They’re doing good things here; they work hard, but I think we need to designate some prosecutors to Milwaukee county to help prosecute the gun and gang cases because we’ve got to give those neighborhoods a chance to get up and as long as gangs and violent criminals abound, people are not worried about their lawns, they’re worried about their children’s safety.

NC: What can be done then on the front end of life as opposed to on the back end, where we’re sending young people to prison for long periods of time that may have them becoming involved in criminal activity?

BS: Our treatment programs give people a chance at reducing prison populations. If you put people who are addicted on probation they’re doomed to fail standard probation, because they can’t help them deal with the addiction, help them get clean and have the tools to stay clean. Drug treatment courts have the tools to help them stay sober and keep them out of prison and that’s one start. Diversion programs and mentoring programs are working strong out there and that’s another tool for keeping people out of prison.
NC: There’s a situation here in Milwaukee where the family is pressing to know the name of the officer who shot the civilian in Red Arrow Park. How would you have handled that situation?
BS: I don’t know enough about the details except what I’ve read in the newspaper, and I know I’d want to talk to all those people whose lives are affected by this, the DA, the police, the family members. I can’t pretend as someone who’s lived his whole life in the suburbs to know what the family members are going through. I’d have a lot of questions.
NC: Republican candidates who run for office tend to shy away from the African American community. Do you know why?
BS: It might be because they’re doing the electoral calculus. As attorney general I’m everybody’s attorney general. 124th street is not the Berlin Wall; we have to care about each other’s problems, Waukesha-Milwaukee and Milwaukee-Waukesha and throughout the entire state. I’m running on creating a safe Wisconsin and I have bipartisan support. I don’t care which party you’re in, I’m here to help everyone, Milwaukee, Racine, Madison, Oshkosh, everywhere.
NC: What was the catalyst for your seeking this office?
BS: I knew we needed an attorney general who develops relationships with others, that we needed someone with experience, someone who wants to solve Wisconsin’s problems. We should be able to count on an attorney general who follows the laws as they’re written by the legislature and that is what I plan on doing.