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‘Do you feel safer today?’

“Do you feel safer today than you did four years ago?” That’s the question everyone has to answer this November when casting a ballot in the attorney general’s race. Our current attorney general has trumpeted his role as the state’s “Chief Law Enforcement Official,” only to run away from that label as our state’s crime rate has gone through the roof.

The facts are clear: Colorado ranks #1 in many of the worst ways. We have the highest rate of car theft, bank robberies, cocaine use and among the highest rate of recidivism by repeat offenders in the country. Fentanyl deaths have skyrocketed. To compound that tragedy, drug cartels are increasingly peddling this poison to teenagers, resulting in 29 kids dying during the 2021 school year.

My life has been dedicated to public service. I grew up in a military family and joined the Marine Corps to after Sept. 11. Later, I became a judge advocate after graduating from law school at the University of Colorado. After returning from Afghanistan in late 2010, I became a state prosecutor in Colorado. I’ve fought for justice for victims and held offenders accountable, earning the recognition of my peers as Colorado’s prosecutor of the year. I currently serve as district attorney for the most populous jurisdiction, serving over 1 million Coloradoans in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.

We need an attorney general who will show up at the Capitol and advocate for common sense public safety solutions. Instead, our current attorney general was missing in action in 2019 when the Legislature decriminalized the possession of hard drugs such as fentanyl, meth, heroin and cocaine.

Our current attorney general advocated for catch-and-release policies that would handcuff the police, rather than criminals. He also supported a bill that lowered the penalties for car thieves and allowed convicted felons – including those convicted of drug dealing and car theft – to possess firearms. Colorado can’t afford an attorney general who puts criminals over community safety.

Another major issue is our 22-year mega drought and its impact on agricultural, ranching and tourism industries. I will stand firmly against calls to renegotiate the Colorado River Compact, and advocate for Colorado’s right to grow into using its entitled share of the river, without pressure from outside. I will oppose efforts to expand federal authority over Colorado water.

I look forward to serving as your next attorney general, to be an advocate for all of Colorado.

John Kellner is the Republican candidate for Colorado attorney general.