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Pirsch promotes credentials during Sidney campaign stop

 

For The Sun-Telegraph

Nebraska state senator Pete Pirsch hopes to leave the legislature next year to work as Nebraska attorney general.

"This has been a long standing goal of mine," Pirsch said. "I'm very passionate about the opportunity to serve in this position, to make a difference in the lives of Nebraskans."

Pirsch believes current attorney general Jon Bruning, who's running for governor this year, has the office on the right track. Pirsch knows that the partnership between the state's county attorneys and the attorney general's office is vital.

"As I talk to my county attorneys, they are on a whole very pleased with the partnership and the level of assistance that the attorney general's office has been providing," Pirsch said.

He plans to continue Bruning's efforts to provide quality legal assistance to county attorneys' offices.

"I think that's very key to ensuring a uniform, quality criminal justice system throughout this state," Pirsch said. "I've always been concerned with making sure that every part of the state has the resources and expertise needed to deal with criminal justice issues."

Fighting what he sees as a federal overreach into the lives of Nebraskans is an essential job of the attorney general, in Pirsch's opinion. This includes going up against the administration of the Affordable Care Act, as well as environmental regulations.

Pirsch is aware that the Nebraska prison system is currently at 151 percent of capacity and that the state must work to alleviate this problem in the future.

"We do not want to be shortening the sentences of violent offenders who threaten Nebraska families," Pirsch said.

Pirsch worked as a criminal prosecutor for almost 10 years in Douglas County before being appointed to the Nebraska Crime Commission by former Gov. Mike Johanns, on which he worked closely with the Nebraska attorney general's office. He also served as chair of the legislature's criminal sentencing and recidivism task force and served on the Nebraska Community Corrections Council both which work to find ways to effectively manage the state's prison population.

"I have had the experience over the years to be best positioned to find workable solutions that do not endanger Nebraska families," Pirsch said.

Pirsch has been an opponent of automatic good time for violent offenders throughout his time in the legislature. He co-sponsored a bill to eliminate good time for violent offenders who continue to behave violently. He thinks earned time through actual good behavior makes more sense.

"I don't know why we treat violent offenders the same as non-violent offenders who do exhibit good behavior," Pirsch said.

As state senator, Pirsch sponsored many criminal justice related bills including one which helped to ensure knowledge and resource sharing regionally so that suspicious deaths are investigated in a quality fashion.

"I have carried attorney general legislation for Jon Bruning," Pirsch said.

Pirsch sponsored legislation such as a cyber stalking bill, which protects children from internet sex predators, and a bill that enhanced the sex offender registry in Nebraska. Pirsch also passed a bill which carries harsher penalties for the worst, serial drunk drivers.

"I've seen so many families that have been torn apart by the carnage of drunk driving," Pirsch said.

Pirsch realizes that a plethora of issues will face the attorney general's office in the next few years.

"Undoubtedly as time goes on there will be more problems with marijuana flowing into Nebraska from Colorado," Pirsch said.

The state needs an attorney general who is aware of this issue and who is willing to appropriate resources to ensure that panhandle counties can deal with the possibility of increased drug crimes, in Pirsch's opinion.

Pirsch claims he's always been concerned about the rural areas of the state. The Nebraska Farm Bureau has named him a friend of agriculture.

"There's always going to be issues that challenge our number one industry in the state which is agriculture," Pirsch said. "Whether it be lawsuits from Kansas over water or the federal government illegally trying to regulate agriculture in a way that will have profound negative effects on agriculture."

Pirsch believes he's better qualified than other candidates to work with the legislature on key issues, because of his experience in the senate.

"I think my record stands out," Pirsch said. "My experience is unique, I've had the ability to work closely with the actual individuals in the attorney general's office."

 

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