Candidate: Corrections not listening; AG could do better
McCOOK, Neb. -- Deficiencies within the Nebraska Department of Corrections, stemming from a "total breakdown in communication," have been the recent focus of Democratic candidate for attorney general Janet Stewart.
Stewart said she had been following the situation closely and the Attorney General's office did apprise the Department of Corrections of a very important change in Supreme Court precedent, which mandated how they calculate sentences and release prisoners into the community. The message simply didn't get to the right people though.
"The advisement was given to a low level records clerk who tried to get it to the attention of the Chief Attorney and others in the Department of Corrections, but they were not listening," said Stewart during last week's High Plains Radio Candidate's Forum at the Bieroc Cafe.
Stewart said an assistant at the Attorney General's office sent her opinion over and tried to call the Chief Attorney, who did not take her call.
"That's the type of thing that can be managed better by the Attorney General's office. If the message is not being received, it needs to be elevated up the chain of command," said Stewart.
Stewart said state statutes require the Governor to be ultimately responsible for compliance matters. In order for the Governor to do his duty, telling the Attorney General to enforce law, Stewart said the Attorney General must in-turn ensure the Governor is aware of the law.
Stewart was asked about her background in water law and said she was very familiar with the Supreme Court case involving the Republican River.
"I have a lot of skills in negotiating and resolving disputes," said Stewart, adding her past experience working for Mutual of Omaha often included looking for an amicable solution, as opposed to going to court. She said she brings experience as well as an important knowledge of how to manage costs.
Stewart has lived in Nebraska all her life, with the exception of a two year period. She has 39 years experience as an attorney and a broad educational background, including a focus on economics and a master's degree in social work. She said she had focused on juvenile law for the past seven years in Fremont, Nebraska, an area she is passionate about and would prioritize as Attorney General.
Stewart said she would be the first woman ever elected as Attorney General in Nebraska and believed the office was in need of a woman's perspective.
Republican candidate for Attorney General Doug Peterson did not attend the McCook forum. The two are vying for the office to be vacated by Attorney General Jon Bruning.