Tennessee's gubernatorial candidates answers to video question 7

Go to the 2018 Gubernatorial Videos main page to find out more about the letter we sent, the questions we asked, and the process we followed in making sure as many candidates as possible participated in this video voter guide.

The third week in February, the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) sent letters to all the gubernatorial candidates, both the Democratic candidates and the Republican candidates, asking them to participate in our video voter guide. Those candidates included (in alphabetical order): Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Karl Dean, Craig Fitzhugh, Beth Harwell, Bill Lee, and Kay White. Participants who followed our guidelines and answered all 9 questions include Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Bill Lee, and Kay White.

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Should the Attorney General continue to be appointed by the state’s Supreme Court justices or should that office be filled by popular vote of the people or by appointment of the Legislature in the same way they appoint the Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer and what is the basis for your opinion?


Diane Black’s answer transcribed from video

Well, so first of all, let’s get to the basis of my opinion is that the people should have more say in who their Attorney General is. And the closer we can get to the people, I think the better choices that the people are able to make. I am open to electing them popularly as we do our U.S. senators. That would be one option. The second option, as you have already indicated, is to allow the legislators, who are elected by the people, to make that decision. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we get this decision to be closer to the people so that the Attorney General can be held responsible to the people of the state of Tennessee.


Randy Boyd’s answer transcribed from video

Tennessee has one of the most unique systems in our country for selecting the Attorney General, and I believe we should respect that tradition. But, as Governor, I will always look to see if there are ways can do something better. I believe we should review how we choose the Attorney General to see if it is the best way, and if it’s not, how we can do it better.


Bill Lee’s answer transcribed from video

Tennessee is the only state where the Supreme Court selects the Attorney General, and the Attorney General has one client: It’s the people of Tennessee. So, I think the Attorney General should be closer to the people. I would suggest that the Governor nominate the Attorney General and the Legislature confirm that nominee.


Kay White’s answer transcribed from video

Well, number one, I do not think they should be appointed by the state Supreme Court. I feel that either by popular vote or the Legislature, either one, I could live with because, certainly, we have one administration that has mostly Democrats that they appoint to these court positions. The next administration likewise does. So, there’s an imbalance. Whoever comes in as Governor needs it to be more by the people, for the people, and these legislators have been elected across our state by the people. So, I would be happy with the legislators appointing—making these appointments or by popular vote because I think the people’s voice should always be heard, David.