SOMERVILLE, NJ  – Republican candidate for Governor, Assemblyman  Jack Ciattarelli, R16th, said  Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno’s proposal to elect the New Jersey Attorney General misses the mark, and is a prime example of a candidate who makes policy proposals based on what her pollster tells her to do. 

Ciattarelli said the faith in government is at an all-time low due to a lack of courage and leadership by elected officials.

 “Real leadership isn’t telling people what they want to hear. It’s putting forth a comprehensive and substantive plan to solve problems, building public support behind it, and doing what’s right. Leadership is never about doing what’s easy,” said Ciattarelli. “The Lt. Governor’s proposal won’t fix our crisis of trust. In fact, it could very well exacerbate it. 

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If the Lt. Governor believes electing more politicians will solve our problems in New Jersey, she is terribly misguided and, dare I say, out of step with what average people think of politicians. It is also out of step with what people really want us to focus on, like property taxes,” he added.

Ciattarelli said while possibly attractive on the surface, the Lt. Governor’s proposal is fraught with numerous implications, most of them bad. 

“The basis for the Lt Governor’s proposal is that appointment by the Governor conflicts the Attorney General, subordinating his/her independence from the executive branch,” said Ciattarelli. “That’s true in any profession for anyone whose character is questionable. Electing someone Attorney General won’t instantly make an unethical person ethical. Just look across the rivers bordering our state to Kathleen Kane in Pennsylvania and Eliot Spitzer in New York.”

Ciattarelli cited ten reasons why the Lt. Governor’s proposal is bad public policy, especially in New Jersey.

1.     Do we really want the state’s number one law enforcement official being a politician in every sense of the word?

2.     Do we really want an Attorney General running on a ticket and campaigning with Republicans and Democrats, especially in a state continually maligned by recurring corruption among elected officials?

3.     Do we really want the state’s number one law enforcement official raising money from powerful individuals and special interests to fund their candidacy and political campaign?

4.     Do we really want an Attorney General who is indebted to the politically powerful and well connected, especially in a state like New Jersey where party bosses and special interests can dominate the political landscape and system?

5.     Do we really want an Attorney General whose legal decisions, including indictments and criminal prosecutions, are influenced by his/her reelection?

6.  Do we really want an Attorney General whose political connections and fundraising prowess feed his/her ambition for higher office?

7.     Do we really want to eliminate the checks and balances of legislative confirmation of the Governor’s nominee for Attorney General?

8.     Do we really want our 21 county prosecutors reporting to a politician, as opposed to a fellow law enforcement official?

9.     County prosecutors are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Do we really want to subject our county prosecutors to conflicting loyalties?

10.  Do we really want what has happened in other states whose Attorney General is directly elected?  Anyone pay attention to the disgraced Kathleen Kane in Pennsylvania or Elliot Spitzer in New York? Were either of these elected Attorneys General ultimately a model public servant?  

"The policy proposal we truly need, especially in light of all the gridlock that frustrates citizens, should deal with the Governor withholding Attorney General nominees and the Senate withholding Supreme Court Justice hearings/confirmation,” said Ciattarelli. 

“If the Lt. Governor wants to base her policy positions on poll-tested, poll-driven data, perhaps she can share with New Jerseyans her plan for reforming unfair school funding, lowering ever-escalating property taxes, changing obscenely generous public workers’ benefits, restructuring our punishing tax code, and fixing the impossible affordable housing quotas,” added Ciattarelli. “These are the problems New Jerseyans truly want addressed.”