by Rachel Aragon
Aired October 27, 2016
T.J. Donovan says he has the experience to be the state’s chief law enforcement officer.
He has served as Chittenden County State’s Attorney for the last decade.
“Never a dull moment. As I like to say usually by 8:30 or 9:00 there’s usually a crisis that we have to deal with,” says Donovan.
It’s the busiest county prosecutor’s office in the state of Vermont.
“I know how to investigate big crimes, I know how to win the big cases and I know how to work well with law enforcement.”
It’s that very skill set Donovan says that would translate well into the Attorney General’s office.
The father of two grew up in Burlington where his state office is based.
“Those values that I learned here growing up in Vermont are the values that I really try to bring to the State’s Attorney’s Office and the values I’ll bring to the Attorney General’s office,” says Donovan.
The Democrat is a firm believer in criminal justice reform.
“Just look at the numbers we spend more money on our Department of Corrections in Vermont than we do on sending tax dollars to higher education,” says Donovan.
He says the criminal justice system has become a “safety net” for minor criminal offenders. He believes in getting those people the help and support they need early.
“I think the best form of public safety is a good job, let’s get people sober, let’s get them stable and then let’s get them working. That’s the best form of public safety.”
As Vermont Attorney General, he wants to focus on cracking down on the state’s heroin and drug problem.
“We got a lot of home grown drug dealers here in the state of Vermont, lets be clear about that, but we should also be talking about corporate accountability in terms of the the big pharmaceutical companies that I think bear some responsible for starting this crisis in the first place.”
He believes every first responder should be carrying narcan, the overdose reversal drug.
“We’ve had over 700 reversals, people who most likely would’ve died otherwise, were saved because of the availability of that drug.”
He says the best way to enforce the law is to give Vermonters the opportunity to comply with it well before it takes effect.
“Let’s work with every small business owner in this state, give them the opportunity by reaching out to them, answering their questions, so they can understand and comply with the rules and the regulations of this state.”
Donovan also ran for Vermont Attorney General in 2012 against incumbent Bill Sorrell.