MANCHESTER, Ky. – The office of attorney general will be changing hands in January, and the office will also be changing parties, creating possible conflicts with pending lawsuits.
Daniel Cameron will be sworn-in as Kentucky’s next attorney general January 6, becoming the first Republican to hold that office in more than seven decades.
He’s taking over for Governor-elect Andy Beshear, who filed several lawsuits as Attorney General to stop bills the legislature passed from taking effect, mostly on abortion.
Speaking Monday after a ribbon-cutting for a new Volunteers of America drug addiction recovery center in Manchester, Cameron said it was too early to say what will happen next with those lawsuits.
“Obviously, I have not been sworn in yet so I haven’t had an opportunity to actually look specifically at those cases, but we’ll, as you would expect from any attorney general, we’re going to evaluate every case, make an independent assessment and then we’ll go from there,” Cameron said.
Cameron has been a vocal opponent of abortion and even called out Beshear’s record on the subject when Cameron was endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List in October, saying the Attorney General’s office should be focused on defending the laws passed by the general assembly.
“Instead, what we’ve seen over the last three-and-a-half years is an attorney general who has not been in the business of defending our Pro-Life legislation because he wanted to placate his very liberal base,” Cameron said.
Beshear said last week part of his transition process is to review each lawsuit and once he takes over as governor, he’ll determine the course of action on each one.
Another potential conflict between Beshear and Cameron could come if Beshear follows through on his promise to sign an executive order to restore voting rights to non-violent felons.
His father, former Governor Steve Beshear, signed an executive order in November 2015 to give more than 100,000 people with felony records the right to vote once they complete their sentences. Governor Matt Bevin reversed the order the following month after being inaugurated.
“We’ll have to look at that as well. I know there is some discussion whether that is within his power to do,” Cameron said. “We’ll obviously have to make an assessment of that as well as we’re sworn into that office.”
Both men say they can work together, though.
“We’ve had some initial conversations. We’ve got some more that are coming up. What I can say is that I believe Attorney General-elect Cameron and I can have a good relationship. We’ve actually known each other for about eight years,” Beshear said following the same ribbon-cutting ceremony Cameron attended Monday. “We share a lot of the same goals in addressing this drug epidemic, of addressing child abuse and neglect in Kentucky. And I believe we’re off to a very good start.”
Cameron agrees there are areas for him and Beshear to do good work.
“Human trafficking is an area we’re going to work vigorously on in this next decade. Internet crimes against children, making sure that we have a robust cyber-crimes unit to confront that challenge as well,” Cameron said. “There will be some areas like that that I know the governor-elect has already been working on as the attorney general and we’ll continue to work on together.”