Sen. Whitney Westerfield wants to go after Obama's federal policies if elected AG

02/19/2015 11:43 AM

Republican state Sen. Whitney Westerfield’s main focus if elected to attorney general will be to “enforce the laws,” something he says current Attorney General Jack Conway has failed to do at certain times.

If Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, wants to be the chief law enforcement officer of the state he will need to clear a GOP primary in May and face a well funded and perhaps better connected Democratic candidate in the Fall.

In a recent interview with Pure Politics, Westerfield said he is advocating for more resources for prosecutors in the state, streamlining processes within governmental agencies, boosting the cyber crimes unit and increasing cooperation between the unit and outside law enforcement.

“As our digital world becomes even bigger, I think that’s going to be a particular part the attorney general’s office that I think will need some more resources,” he said.

At the federal level, Westerfield said he was “disappointed with General Conway’s lack of action on certain things.”

Listing issues like immigration policy; religious liberty; healthcare policy, where Westerfield said religious liberties had also been “attacked;” education; and the energy policies of President Barack Obama, specifically actions against the coal industry.

Most recently Conway brought litigation along with 11 other states’ attorneys general against the EPA in 2014. However, Westerfield said the litigation could come faster — and in some cases never came at all. (1:20)

“I think importantly what the attorney general can do is fight in court — the one place that we can fight — to push back against some of these regulations that are hurting Kentucky, against the policies of the federal government,” Westerfield said. “And even though President Obama is not going to be there through all my first term in office, he has set dangerous precedent.”

Westerfield faces Lawrence County Republican Mike Hogan in the May primary. In his bid to become the nominee Westerfield is reaching out to GOP supporters and starting to build a network.

If Westerfield becomes the GOP nominee he will face Democratic Louisville attorney Andy Beshear, son of Gov. Steve Beshear, in the general election. The younger Beshear has already tapped into his father’s statewide network to raise nearly $1.6 million, and Westerfield said relying on his “dad’s coattails” has its advantages and disadvantages.

“His father hasn’t always had policies that are ideal,” Westerfield said. “He’s not his father, and I think there is some baggage associated to carrying on the Beshear name. I don’t mean any disrespect to that last name at all.”

Beshear’s fundraising haul has “scared off a bevy” of qualified GOP and Democratic candidates, Westerfield said, but in his candidacy he hopes to offer Kentuckians a choice.

“They deserve an option between someone who has prosecutor experience, who has statewide policy experience, which has gotten national attention,” he said (17:00).

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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