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Candidate for NC attorney general, Democrat Jeff Jackson, answers our questions

In World
February 08, 2024

To help inform voters, this candidate questionnaire is available without a subscription and may be republished by local publications across North Carolina without any cost. Please consider subscribing to The News & Observer to help make this coverage possible.

Name: Jeff Jackson

Political party: Democrat

Age as of March 5, 2024: 41

Campaign website: jeffjacksonnc.com

Current occupation: Congressman

Professional experience: Previous: Assistant District Attorney, Gaston County District Attorney’s Office; Counsel, Womble Bond Dickinson; State Senator, North Carolina Senate District 37. Current: Major, NC Army National Guard, JAG Corps; Congressman, North Carolina’s 14th District

Education: University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D.; Emory University, B.A. and M.A.

What offices have you run for or held before? Have you had any other notable government or civic involvement? I’ve served as an assistant district attorney, state senator, and congressman.

What would your top priority be as attorney general?

The fentanyl epidemic is killing people in our state each day. As attorney general, I would support a two-front approach that targets both supply and demand. That means advocating for effective addiction treatment for users as well as aggressively pursuing the elements of organized crime that traffic fentanyl into our state and distribute it via a number of regional cells.

What do you think is or is not working well under the current attorney general? If not, how would you change it?

Attorney General Stein has been a leader in fighting the opioid epidemic, but he would have been significantly aided by an anti-money laundering law from our state legislature. As attorney general, I would immediately request that our state legislature prioritize enacting such a law to assist with the prosecution of human trafficking and drug trafficking.

What do you think state and local law enforcement agencies should do to recruit and retain more officers?

I have supported state and federal efforts to pay our officers more. There is no way to recruit and retain high-level talent without offering competitive compensation. I fully support high standards for training, but if we raise our expectations for officers we need to also raise their salaries. Otherwise, many of them will find alternative employment that doesn’t regularly put them in harm’s way.

How would you handle decisions about whether your agency will defend state laws you disagree with, and whether you will recuse yourself?

I would not defend any state law that I believe violates the Constitution. However, if I disagree with a state law personally but believe that it does not violate the Constitution, I would be bound by my oath of office to defend it in court.

Is there an issue on which you disagree with your party? What is your position on that issue?

My party made an enormous mistake by not ending gerrymandering and enacting independent redistricting when it had the chance. Now the other party is in power, and they’re making the same mistake by refusing to allow an independent redistricting process. No matter which party is in power, when politicians use partisan redistricting to favor themselves, the voters lose. We have needed independent redistricting for a long time, and I fully support it.

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