Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, is being challenged by political newcomer Josh Kaul, a Democrat, in his bid for another four-year term. The general election is on Nov. 6. (I) indicates incumbent.
Address: 2380 W. Lawn Ave., Madison
Family: Married with two sons
Prior elected office: None
Other public service: Former assistant U.S. attorney; law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin, who was then the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics and history, Yale University; law degree, Stanford Law School
Brad D. Schimel (I)
Address: 1701 Pearl St., Waukesha
Family: Married with two daughters
Job: Wisconsin attorney general since 2015
Prior elected office: Waukesha County district attorney, 2007-2015
Other public service: Potawatomi Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, advisory board; Waukesha Rotary Club; Special Olympics Wisconsin, board member; St. Anthony on the Lake Parish, lector; Wisconsin Crime Victim Council, chairman; Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, co-chairman; Wisconsin Sexual Assault Response Team, chairman
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, UW-Milwaukee; law degree, UW-Madison Law School
What do you see as the top priority for the attorney general’s office?
Kaul: We have an opioid epidemic that’s ripping families apart, and it’s getting worse. We’re not going to beat it until we start responding to it like the crisis it is. Our current AG, Brad Schimel, mishandled Wisconsin’s backlog of untested rape kits. As a result, justice has been delayed for survivors and dangerous criminals have remained on the streets longer than they should have. We need an attorney general who will ensure that getting justice for survivors of sexual assault is a priority. We also need an AG who will seriously and even-handedly enforce the laws that keep us safe from consumer fraud and preserve our natural resources.
Schimel: My top priority is public safety, and has been throughout my 29-year career in public service.
What role should party politics play in the positions taken by the attorney general’s office?
Schimel: Party politics plays no role, as evidenced by the 20 elected Democratic sheriffs and district attorneys who are endorsing my campaign. They know they can count on me for the nonpartisan pursuit of justice.
Why are you better qualified than your opponent to be attorney general?
Kaul: My priorities are different from those of our current attorney general. He hired a corporate lobbyist to be his first deputy AG. He fought against guaranteed overtime pay for people who put in the hours and make a fraction of what he does. He settled an air pollution case against a major corporation without requiring the company to pay any fine at all. And he has spent about $83,000 of taxpayer money on promotional swag, from commemorative coins to custom-made fortune cookies. We need to do better. We need an attorney general who is willing to take on tough fights and who is focused on protecting Wisconsinites.
Schimel: My opponent says we need to do better. My opponent has nothing beyond vapid talking points, however, that’s why members of his own party are rejecting him. I’ve lived and worked my entire life in the state of Wisconsin. My opponent has only lived four years of his adult life here. Over the course of my 29-year career as a Wisconsin prosecutor, I have handled more than 15,000 cases. I’ve successfully managed one of the largest district attorney’s offices in the state and the Wisconsin Department of Justice. My opponent hasn’t managed a team for anything in the criminal justice system.