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Democrats Dudik, Graybill square off in attorney general primary: Raph Graybill

 

April 30, 2020

Raph Graybill

The race to take Tim Fox's place as attorney general has the governor's legal counsel, Raph Graybill, and state Rep. Kimberly Dudik of Missoula facing off in the Democratic primary.

Fox cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

"I think we need a fighter in the attorney general's office again," Graybil said. "This is a job where the attorney general is really your advocate, your lawyer, someone who is only supposed to be loyal to the people of Montana and use that office as power to go to court, fight for us and I think we can do a lot better."

He said he thinks he is the only candidate who brings the experience to the office of constructing and executing the kinds of big cases that the attorney general should be picking for Montanans and winning.

He is the only candidate, he said, with a plan about how to use the attorney general's office to protect Montanans with pre-existing conditions and to stop price gouging on prescription drugs.

"A lot of people don't know it, but the attorney general actually has a pretty significant role in both of those, and there are things the attorney general can do now on both of those issues, but it requires making and protecting Montanans a priority again," Graybill said. "I think the attorney general is your advocate. The attorney general's job is to defend the Montana Constitution and to make sure the laws that are supposed to protect us are actually being enforced and in operation."

He said his top priority if elected would be protecting Montanans with pre-existing conditions and fighting to lower prescription drug costs, adding that what he would do differently is he would be unafraid to take on the insurance companies, big pharmaceuticals corporations and would work the staff in that office to make those fights a priority again.

The office is not about having a fancy title and going to conferences, he said, it is about enforcing the law and making sure Montanans are protected, particularly in areas where they are most vulnerable.

"With the economic fallout from COVID-19, we seeing how fragile our health care coverage is to so many people and we're seeing how much power insurance companies and drug companies have over our everyday lives, over our pocket books, over our access to life-saving medications, and it's the attorney general's job to make sure someone is fighting for that," Graybill said.

The state is not doing enough to address murdered or missing indigenous women, he said, adding that he would do two things differently: He would make agents at the Division of Criminal Investigations available in missing persons investigations right away, and he would promote cross-deputization agreements between tribes and local enforcement

"I think cross-deputization can make a really big difference on the murdered or missing indigenous women crisis that requires the attorney general to show some leadership," he said.

He said public lands are a birthright in Montana and what makes living in Montana special.

"I would do everything that I can to protect public lands as a member on the Land Board," Graybill said. "The reason I ran for attorney general, actually, in the first place was Gov. (Steve) Bullock asked me to sue the attorney general in dispute over the authority of the land board, and the land board members were making it harder for public lands and public access. We had to go to court to fight him, and we beat him to protect public lands public access, but there's an easier way to fix that, and that's having land board members who care about public access, and that's exactly what I would be."

He said when the state is involved in lawsuits that go before the state and the U.S. Supreme Court, the attorney general should return to the model where the attorney general does the work on the cases.

"A reason why I am running is I am motivated personally, by using the power of courts and the legal system, and the power of constitutional advocacy to go to court to make things better for Montanans," he added. "That's something I do, that's the experience I bring to this office personally and it's something I look forward to doing as attorney general beginning on Day One.

"I'm very proud to have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend our public school system and to defend our Constitution," Graybill added. "I'm very proud to have defeated the federal government in a case to protect our state from dark money. I'm very proud to have stood up to the tobacco industry and beaten them. These are all cases the attorney general should've brought, but instead Gov. Bullock asked me to bring them because the attorney general was sitting these cases out."

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Born in Great Falls, 1989

Juris Doctorate, Yale Law School; Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University; Bachelor of Arts, Columbia University

Private practice attorney; law clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals, Chief Legal Counsel for Gov. Steve Bullock.

Married to Marisa, one child who was born in April 2019

 

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