GOP Secretary of State candidates Legg and Johnson spar over experience, platforms

05/04/2011 06:35 PM

Protecting elections, encouraging civics education and making the Secretary of State’s office more business friendly has been topics for candidates running for that office for decades.

And on the surface, the 2011 race is no different.

But in a forum on Pure Politics, the two Republicans vying for their party’s nomination for Secretary of State went to great length to show their differences in experience.

Hilda Legg, a former Reagan administration employee in the Department of Education, is facing businessman Bill Johnson in the May 17 primary.

On many issues, the two candidates agree.

For instance, both candidates said during the discussion that they would oppose efforts to allow certain convicted felons to automatically get back their rights to vote after serving time.

“No, I think it is in the constitution is the way it should be,” Johnson said. “It’s clear that felons should not be allowed to vote.”

Currently, felons must appeal to the governor to grant voting rights back.

Legg said she agreed with the current system.

“There is a process in place and my job would be to make sure that process is followed,” Legg said.

But Legg alleged that Johnson had modified his position since he appeared on Pure Politics in December. .

And Johnson said he doesn’t believe Legg brings real private sector experience to the table, saying that Legg has spend most of her life as a public employee, not in private business.

Legg disputed that allegation, saying she has spent a lot of her time recently running her own consulting business and that she does bring private business experience to the office.

The two candidates also disagreed on some other issues.

While both candidates support the idea of implementing stronger regulations at polling places. Johnson supports requiring to show a picture ID at the polls. The current law allows a person to show a picture ID, a Social Security card or a credit card for identification. Or if recognized by a poll worker, to show no ID at all.

Legg would like for citizens to show proof of citizenship, a birth certificate for example, when they register to vote. Johnson said he disagrees with Legg’s approach.

“I do disagree with that because it is an unfunded mandate to 120 county clerks,” Johnson said.

Legg defended her stance, which you can see below.

(You can watch more from the two candidates on Friday’s edition of Pure Politics. Thursday’s Pure Politics will feature new poll results and a discussion with the Democratic Secretary of State candidates.)

-Interview by Ryan Alessi, written by Kenny Colston


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