Q&A: Democratic attorney general candidate Raúl Torrez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: Democratic attorney general candidate Raúl Torrez

Raúl Torrez

NAME: Raúl Torrez

POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic

OCCUPATION: District attorney

CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Bernalillo County district attorney, 2017 – present; private practice, 2013-2017; assistant U.S. attorney, 2011-2013; special advisor and White House fellow – U.S. Department of Justice 2009-2010; special assistant U.S. attorney, 2008-2009; assistant attorney general, 2006-2009; assistant district attorney, 2005-2006.

EDUCATION: A.B. in government, Harvard University; M.S. in international political economy, London School of Economics; Juris Doctorate, Stanford Law School

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: raultorrez.com

1. What would your top priorities be as attorney general?

As attorney general, I will use my experience as a prosecutor to fight for consumers, safeguard the environment, reform our criminal justice system and take on corruption and special interests. I will also continue to stand up to unlawful militia groups and any extremist activity that threatens our democracy.

2. What would be your strategy for handling the ongoing water lawsuit between New Mexico and Texas?

The Attorney General’s Office needs to rebuild its litigation division and recruit an in-house team of highly qualified litigators to protect our state’s precious water resources. We must also end the practice of outsourcing complex legal work to outside counsel who lack the requisite experience to represent the state.

3. Do you support or oppose changing New Mexico’s open records law to allow the names of applicants for some top government positions to be kept secret?

Oppose. Accountability and transparency must begin with the Attorney General’s Office. The AG should actively ensure timely compliance with IPRA and public records laws by other government agencies and within the office as well.

4. If elected, would you hire outside firms to represent New Mexico in some court cases? If so, what would be your criteria for determining when such an approach to litigation should be used?

We must end the pay-to-play system that has enabled large out-of-state law firms to reap millions in fees at taxpayer expense and rebuild the office’s capacity to initiate these cases directly. Outside counsel should rarely be used and only after an independent panel of local experts has vetted their qualifications.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No.

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.

No.

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