Archive for Thursday, June 3, 2010

Six announces attorney general candidacy

June 3, 2010

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said in the last three years, he has turned the attorney general’s office around.

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six announced his candidacy for election to the office Thursday at Shawnee Mission North High School, the first of five stops across the state. Six was appointed to the office in 2008.

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six announced his candidacy for election to the office Thursday at Shawnee Mission North High School, the first of five stops across the state. Six was appointed to the office in 2008.

“We cannot go back to the days when politics guided the office,” he said. “The attorney general must set the standard for fairness, good judgment and above all, independence.”

Six said this was why he announced Thursday that he is officially a candidate for the office, to which he was appointed in 2008 to replace Paul Morrison. Six made the announcement at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, the first of five stops scheduled Thursday and Friday around the state.

In his statement, Six recounted the ways he has rebuilt the office, referring to former Attorneys General Phill Kline and Paul Morrison.

“Years of scandal, both personal and political, had weakened the trust Kansans must have in their top law enforcement officer,” he said. “When I walked in the door, I made it clear: things were going to be different. The attorney general’s office would focus on the right priorities again.”

He listed his office’s priorities as keeping Kansans safe from violent predators and sex offenders, especially those dealing in child pornography, protecting consumers and prosecuting fraud and waste in government.

He said he has launched child pornography investigations for the first time out of the attorney general’s office; built up the office’s consumer fraud division, increasing consumer protection recoveries by more than 800 percent from 2006 numbers; and increased prosecution of those defrauding the state’s Medicaid system, recovering $17 million last year, compared to less than $1 million a few years ago.

Because he was appointed to the position, this will be Six’s first statewide campaign, but he said he was up to the challenge.

“After working almost three years, building the office, creating record I’ve just described, we are invested in continuing to make sure these programs don’t go back to the way things were done before,” he said. “So it is a lot of hard work, but we feel like the record we’re running on is worth protecting and that we are making a difference for Kansans, and we are invested in taking this all the way.”

When asked about his thoughts on illegal immigration, Six pointed to investigations like Operation Imposter in Jackson County that have arrested those, including illegal immigrants, who were stealing Kansans’ social security numbers. However, he said he didn’t have any comments on laws such as those in Arizona that more aggressively check for illegal immigrations.

“We are not allowing any criminal activity relating to things like identity theft, which a lot of illegal immigrants engage in, to go unchecked,” he said. “It’s a top priority for us. Of course at the end of the day, we are an office with 120 people in it and Kansas is a big state. We’re going to have to have a lot of federal help with this issue, and it’s primarily a federal responsibility.”

Six's full statement can be read below:

"Almost three years ago, I accepted the challenge of serving as attorney general because I saw an office in crisis. Years of scandal, both personal and political, had weakened the trust Kansans must have in their top law enforcement officer. When I walked in the door, I made it clear: things were going to be different. The attorney general’s office would focus on the right priorities again — keeping Kansans safe from violent predators and sex offenders, especially those dealing in child pornography; cracking down on unscrupulous scam artists who target consumers and go after seniors; and prosecuting fraud and waste in government.

Working together, we have turned the attorney general’s office around. We cannot go back to the days when politics guided the office. The attorney general must set the standard for fairness, good judgment and above all, independence. Today I’m asking you to support me, to support the team I’ve assembled, and to support the work we have done. Today, I’m not making cheap or easy political promises about what I might do as attorney general; I’m standing on my record of real results benefiting all Kansans. Today, with an independent approach and a dedication to making all Kansans safer and more secure, I announce that I am officially a candidate for attorney general of Kansas.

As your attorney general, I’ve demonstrated that the office can be independent, justice can be fair and an attorney general with the right priorities can be aggressive in protecting Kansans. I’m running because I believe in public service, I believe in protecting Kansans and I believe that an independent attorney general can make a real difference in Kansans’ lives.

Child pornography is one of the most terrible crimes we deal with, and yet too many of these offenders believe they can hide in the shadows. That may have been true before, but under my watch we are shining a light on these criminals and bringing them to justice. I have investigators tracking down on criminals trading and viewing child porn. Every time one of these horrible images is produced, distributed or viewed, the crime against that child is repeated. In addition I’ve increased safety for all of our kids on the Internet by removing registered sex offenders from internet sites where kids congregate.

Safety on the Internet also expands to protecting our families’ private information. I created investigations like Operation Imposter in Jackson County and arrested those, including illegal immigrants, who were stealing Kansans’ social security numbers. In addition, I’ve introduced new tools like our identity theft repair kit, which helps Kansans who’ve been the victims of this crime. Kansans should know that on my watch, our full efforts are directed to investigating, arresting and prosecuting illegal immigrants who steal Kansans’ identities and violate the law.

Just a few years ago, the consumer division in the attorney general’s office was almost completely dismantled by political agendas. It was handling few cases, and consumer fraud was unchecked. As attorney general, I’ve focused on swift complaint resolution, making sure every complaint is addressed and going after those who prey on consumers. I had a simple message: if you break the law so you can make the sale, it is you that will pay the price. As a result, consumer protection recoveries increased by over 800 percent from 2006, and this year we will recover more than ever before. Our work does not just protect Kansans; it protects Kansas businesses. For every crooked business that is scamming its customers, there are dozens of honest business owners who just want to compete on a level playing field. I’ve made sure the consumer division is both pro-consumer and pro-business.

I know that Kansans are sick and tired of waste and fraud in government, and while many politicians talk about stopping fraud and debate about a new board or commission, I have gone after drug companies and medical providers who are defrauding Kansas taxpayers and recovered more money than any attorney general in our state’s history. Taxpayers give millions of dollars a year to provide healthcare for our neediest citizens, and yet only a few years ago, less than a million dollars was recovered from criminals defrauding Kansas. That level of effort was totally unacceptable. So last year, my office cracked down and recovered $17 million stolen from the Medicaid program, and this year, we will recover millions more. That is a record for any attorney general, and it is just the beginning. That again is not a promise to do something about crime abuse, it is not a meaningless piece of legislation, it is $17 million for the Kansas Medicaid program that otherwise would have gone uncollected.

I’m running for attorney general on a record of real results, not empty promises, I’m running because I have proven this office can make a difference in Kansans’ lives, and I’m running for attorney general to continue to build on the record of achievement and integrity I have established."

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