Raph Graybill: 2020 General Election Q&A
Montana Public Radio is gathering information on all statewide general election candidates to publish as a resource for our audience. We asked all the statewide candidates to respond to the following questions via email, limiting their answers to 150 words per question. These are their unedited responses.
Raph Graybill is the 2020 Democratic candidate for attorney general.
What makes you the best candidate for attorney general and how do you stand out from your opponent(s)?
I’m running to be an independent watchdog for our rights—not a partisan extremist like my opponent.
I’m a fifth generation Montanan from Great Falls and served alongside the NYPD as an auxiliary police officer. I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats to ban out-of-state special interests from buying our elections, and I’m fighting every day to protect Montanans from COVID-19.
The biggest issue facing Montanans right now is healthcare. My opponent says the reason he’s running is to join an extremist lawsuit that would rip away protections for Montanans with pre-existing conditions, close rural hospitals, and make health insurance more expensive. That would be a disaster. I’ll fight every day to stop this lawsuit and defend the healthcare of our friends and loved ones.
I’ll bring independence and integrity to the Attorney General’s office, fight for affordable healthcare, public lands, and I’ll always refuse donations from drug corporations.
What is your current legal experience?
I am currently Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Bullock. In that position, I’ve gone to court to fight for Montanans and achieved important victories for our state. I’m the only candidate for Attorney General with experience winning big cases on behalf of Montana.
Recently, I won the federal court case against out-of-state lawyers who wanted to end mail ballots for the November election. I’ve sued the IRS and federal government over dark money, keeping our elections transparent. I went before the Montana Supreme Court in a landmark case where we successfully defended Montana’s public lands and access. And I proudly fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend public schools and our Montana Constitution.
This is the work that an Attorney General does. My opponent, by contrast, was a county attorney for just four months before running for Attorney General. He’s not ready.
What are your three top goals to accomplish as attorney general and how would you achieve them?
First, I’ll stop the lawsuit to rip away healthcare. My opponent says he’s running to join that lawsuit. It’s dangerous, and it’s wrong for Montana. I’m the only candidate prepared to stand up for Montana at the United States Supreme Court and put a stop to this extremist, partisan to take away our care.
Second, I’ll go after big pharmaceutical corporations for colluding to raise the prices on prescription drugs. I’ll automatically review excessive price increases on prescription drugs, investigate for illegal conduct, and put money back in Montanans’ pockets.
Third, I’ll fight the dark money that’s poisoning our political system. Every election, out-of-state dark money special interests come here to buy our politicians, to put up gates, and sell off our public lands. They don’t respect us and as Attorney General I will hold these groups accountable and defend our right to public lands and access.
The attorney general is one of five statewide elected officials that sits on the state Land Board, which manages state trust lands. What are your priorities for managing these lands?
I’ll take a balanced approach to prioritize returns to public schools in Montana while protecting the open spaces and public lands that make Montana so unique.
I’ll be an outspoken advocate for these values and hold other Land Board members accountable to ensure these values are not subverted in favor of special interests.
What convinced me to run for Attorney General was a case we took to the Montana Supreme Court against extremist members on the Land Board who tried to destroy the Habitat Montana program. We stood up for Montanans’ right to hunt and fish and access their public lands and won.
My opponent has voted to gut the laws that make public access possible in Montana–like our stream access law–and he supports the transfer of our public lands. He’s even suing a group of veterans to block their access to their public park in Culbertson. It’s a disgrace.
What, if any, changes would you like to see made to the state’s criminal justice system?
I agree with law enforcement in Montana that we won’t get a handle on our meth problem unless we make serious investments in treatment and prevention, in addition to remaining strong on enforcement.
The best resources for meaningful treatment to help Montanans break the cycle of addiction are made possible through the Affordable Care Act. But that’s what my opponent says he’s running to get rid of, through his extremist lawsuit. Eliminating access to treatment would be terrible for our meth problem.
I also support fully funding our Montana Highway Patrol and the Division of Criminal Investigation. My opponent has spent the last year and a half pledging to defund our law enforcement at the DOJ if elected, which would be a danger to our public safety.
Finally, I support diversion programs and reentry programs that help offenders break the cycle of being involved in the criminal justice system.
Are there any Montana laws that, if challenged in court, you would not support defending them? In other words, are there state laws you want to see changed?
As Attorney General, my oath is to uphold the Constitution of the State of Montana and the United States Constitution. Pursuant to that oath, I will not defend laws that violate those foundational documents.
What other issues are important to your campaign? (300 word limit)
Montana’s campaign finance laws are some of the strongest and most transparent in the nation. We have a long proud history of defending our state from corporate money corrupting our elections. But these laws are only strong if we have an Attorney General willing to enforce them and hold out-of-state dark money groups accountable. My opponent voted against our election laws and says he won’t support transparency in our elections as Attorney General. I’ve gone to court and defended Montanans against dark money groups and I will continue to do so as Attorney General.
I will work to modernize the Motor Vehicle Division, which the Attorney General oversees, to reduce lines and make it so Montanans don’t have to wait weeks to get an appointment. I’ll also work with county officials to conduct a pilot program for vehicle titling electronically, so Montanans can get what they need done and get on with other business.
I’ll also fight for workers and good paying jobs, to ensure big out-of-state corporations don’t rip Montanans off or violate protections for our workers.
The Attorney General also needs to take a bigger leadership role in addressing the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People in Montana. I will make the Division of Criminal Investigation agents and resources immediately available when requested by Tribal Governments and help facilitate agreements between tribal law enforcement and local governments to provide resources, coordination and cross-deputization with Native communities to respond to the epidemic.
Finally, representing Montana, I’ll fight to ensure that the United States government recognizes the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment—something Montanans passed decades ago, and the federal government is refusing to recognize even though three states recently pushed the Amendment over the required constitutional threshold to adopt nationwide.