DC Attorney General Candidates Attend GW Forum – The GW Hatchet

Media Credit: Photo illustration by Auden Yurman | Master Photo Editor

Candidates for DC’s attorney general gathered at the School of Media and Public Affairs to discuss their platforms and campaigns on Tuesday.

The candidates each spoke about how their leadership would impact important DC policies, including gun violence and the district’s homeless population. The forum was organized by GW in partnership with the League of Women Voters DC and GW Law Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew moderate the forum.

Brian Schwalb, partner in the DC branch of the Venable law firm, spoke about the diversity of experience required for the position and how he thinks he is remarkably prepared for it. He said his experiences as being a ancient member of the Department of Justice’s Taxation Division prepares him for the diversity of subjects he may be confronted with as Attorney General.

“I’m the only one in this race to bring that experience,” Schwalb said. “And what happens when you’ve represented many different types of clients on many different issues is that you learn to exercise your judgment.”

He said while DC is a “magnet” for talented people who want to live and work in the city, the city’s talent isn’t evenly distributed across neighborhoods, but he wants to promote low income and disparity. education in the district as a lawyer. general.

“We don’t equally share the equity, income and opportunity that abounds in our city across all neighborhoods and neighborhoods,” Schwalb said. “And that’s the biggest challenge we have, collectively, all of us who love Washington have to use the law to make sure those equity and income gaps are reduced.”

Schwalb said officials must treat homeless people living in encampments like humans before evicting them from encampments, referring to a controversial district policy that led to the closure of major encampments last fall. He said domestic violence issues, poor living conditions and lack of access to mental health services are some of the main causes of homelessness, and officials need to address them to help people.

“So how we approach homelessness as a city again needs to look at what the root causes are,” Schwalb said. “To answer the question, since I’m not in favor of using bulldozers to get people out there, we have to deal with that as human beings.”

Ryan Jones, an alumnus of GW Law and founder of his own law firm, said he wanted to use the post of attorney general to improve fairness in law and in society. He said he’s not running for himself, but to ‘give back’ to his hometown by using the legal skills he’s developed over the course of his career to ensure equality for all DC residents. .

“I want to create equal access to justice,” Jones said. “I know courtrooms play an important role in creating equality in our laws and how we guide our lives for a functioning society.”

Bruce Spiva, managing partner of the DC branch of law firm Perkins Coie, spoke about his passion for justice, saying his 30 years of law experience prepared him to become an attorney general.

He said he was inspired by his parents, who grew up in the South under Jim Crow law, and their belief in “the power of the law” to create change for the better, as in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, a 1954 Supreme Court decision that desegregated public schools nationwide.

“I was the David versus the Goliath,” Spiva said. “And I’m ready to do it and win.”

Spiva said he believes in addressing the root causes of gun violence by focusing on greater investment in violence prevention programs, particularly among youth, in addition to ensuring equitable consequences for those who commit acts of armed violence. Spiva also spoke about his support for the Cure the Streets program, a public safety program that aims to reduce gun violence.

“My preferred solution would be to allow there to be private lawsuits and public lawsuits against gun manufacturers,” Spiva said. “And I would certainly seek to do so if I could, but I recognize that there are certain limitations that arise from the fact that the NRA, unfortunately, has too many congressmen in its pocket.”

Melvin B. Baillie