Submitted by Attorney General Aaron Ford.
One year ago, I was sworn in as Nevada’s 34th attorney general, and took an oath to serve and protect all Nevadans. By stepping into this role, I hoped to not only make Nevada a better place for my family, but for every individual and family residing in the Silver State.
To me, “Nevada family” is all inclusive term: whether you’re a single mother with two children or a family of nine, you’re Nevada family; whether you’ve resided in Nevada for 10 years or just moved here three weeks ago, you’re Nevada family; affluent or indigent, you’re Nevada family. My commitment to all Nevadans is to keep our Nevada family safe, and I remain honored to serve you every day.
On my first day in office, I met with every member of my team, and together, we adopted the informal motto of “Our Job is Justice.” Justice is the guiding principle informing our work and the initiatives we seek to carry out.
We will pursue justice on behalf of the elderly person who’s been scammed out of her savings; the 14-year-old girl who’s being trafficked on our streets; and the college student who passed before his time due to a drug overdose. Working with my staff to achieve justice is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
This year, we decided to focus on three priorities: Criminal Justice Reform, Consumer Protection, and Civil and Constitutional Rights. And during the course of the year, the nearly 400 dedicated public servants in my office have been making headway on each of these priorities.
A Lasting Difference in the Lives of Nevadans:
During the 2019 Legislative Session, 14 bills sponsored by my office were signed into law. We successfully strengthened domestic violence laws; put teeth into stalking and money laundering laws; gave law enforcement new tools to combat domestic terrorism and child sex trafficking, updated laws regarding the tobacco directory; reformed the Open Meeting Law; and many others. We also worked with stakeholders on other bills that did not come from our office, but nevertheless touched on our principles of administering justice and assisting our clients.
Battling the Opioid Crisis:
Our Bureau of Consumer Protection is deeply invested in protecting the rights and economic well-being of Nevadans. This past summer, we ratcheted up efforts to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for the harm they have done to our State. We adopted a more aggressive posture in our litigation against the opioid industry, strengthening our lawsuit by adding parties and causes of action against the defendants. We continue to work closely with Attorneys General Offices across the country to ensure that when this litigation is resolved, Nevada’s share of damages will be match the devastation our State experienced as a result of this crisis.
Combating Human Trafficking:
In October, our office took a national stand against human traffickers. Our ombudsman and her deputy hosted two human trafficking summits statewide, drawing in more than 200 law enforcement officials, prosecutors, social workers and victim advocates. With national speakers and experts, we explored the latest trends buyers use to entrap their victims. Human trafficking is a plague on our communities, and we must work together to eradicate it from our State.
Giving a Voice to the Voiceless:
Sometimes, justice takes time to reveal itself. I am extremely proud of our office for the indictment of Charles Sullivan for the 1979 murder of Julia Woodward. For several months, we worked closely with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the California Department of Justice, and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office to build the case and apprehend Mr. Sullivan in Arizona. Finally, Ms. Woodward’s family had their day in court. Justice means being the voice of a victim who was silenced over 40 years ago.
As Attorney General, I take my obligation to your safety and security seriously, and every decision I make is with your best interest in mind. As I reflect on my first year in office, I am immensely proud and grateful of all we have accomplished for Nevadans, and with this new year, we renew our commitment to serve and protect each of you to the best of our ability.
Serving the people of Nevada in this role is the honor of a lifetime, and doing so alongside these dedicated public servants is a privilege.
Submitted opinions do not represent the views of ThisisReno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.