Montana Public Radio is gathering information on all statewide primary 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 300 words per question. These are their unedited responses.
Attorney General candidate Raph Graybill:
What is your full name as it will appear on ballots?
I will appear on the ballot as “Raph Graybill”
What is your age?
Where do you live?
What is your education background?
Great Falls High School
Columbia University (BA, summa cum laude)
University of Oxford (MPhil, Rhodes Scholar)
Yale Law School (JD)
What is your current occupation?
Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Steve Bullock
Why are you running for this particular public office?
I’m running to bring advocacy for Montanans back to the Attorney General’s office--the kind of advocacy we haven’t seen since Governor Bullock was Attorney General eight years ago.
Montanans deserve a fighter as Attorney General. The Attorney General’s job is to go to court and fight to protect Montanans. But too often in recent years, our Attorney General has been on the sidelines.
I decided to run after Governor Bullock and I took Montana’s current Attorney General to the Supreme Court to defend public lands and public access. We won. That experience drove home just how important it is for Montanans to have an advocate as Attorney General--someone actually defending for our values.
There are many big fights we had to take on in the Governor’s Office because the Attorney General sat them out. From defending our Montana Constitution and public schools, to taking on the Trump Administration to keep dark money out of our elections, Montanans were owed an advocate in the Attorney General’s office but didn’t get one.
We can do better. I’ve taken on big corporations who rip us off, held the federal government accountable, and defended our constitution--and won. With so much at stake this year, we can’t afford to elect an Attorney General who won’t fight for our values.
Finally, we need new leadership to make progress on the unacceptable crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Montana. As Attorney General, I’ll make state resources like the Division of Criminal Investigation available immediately to tribal governments in missing persons cases. I’ll promote cross-deputization agreements to build bridges between tribal and county law enforcement. And I’ll never stop advocating and fighting until the promise of equality in our legal system is real.
What makes you qualified to hold this position?
As his Chief Legal Counsel, Governor Bullock trusts me to fight for Montanans.
We beat the Trump Administration in court, keeping dark money out of our elections. We protected public lands and public access in a landmark ruling before the Supreme Court. I stood up to the tobacco industry in court and won, protecting Montana kids and families. When big telecom companies tried to take away net neutrality, we stood up for Montanans’ privacy and I wrote the first in the national executive order protecting the internet and jobs in Montana. I proudly fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend public schools and our Montana Constitution. And I work alongside Governor Bullock everyday, writing the Governor’s Directives, to protect Montanans and our economy as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The role of the Attorney General and the experience needed for the job is not the same as the experience of being a state legislator or a local prosecutor. Rather, the Attorney General’s job is to advocate for Montanans in courts and the legal system--and defend Montana’s values and constitutional rights. Governor Bullock hired me because of my legal experience and to do that work for Montanans everyday, particularly when our current Attorney General wouldn’t.
I’m humbled to be endorsed by Gov. Schweitzer, Sen. Baucus, four retired justices of the Montana Supreme Court, Montana Conservation Voters, the Montana Teamsters Local 190, and the Montana Federation of Public Employees, Montana’s largest public union. I’m also the only candidate running for Attorney General who refuses to take corporate-linked PAC money, ensuring I’m accountable only to the people of Montana.
What are three policy issues that distinguish you from your opponent(s)?
As Attorney General, I will:
1) Protect Montanans with pre-existing conditions
I’ll personally intervene and fight to stop the dangerous effort by Republican Attorneys General to end the Affordable Care Act. Over 432,000 Montanans have pre-existing conditions. If this lawsuit is successful, every single one of them could be denied life-saving care by insurance companies.
I don’t believe that healthcare companies should hold that much power over us. I’m the only candidate with the courtroom experience of going up against Republican Attorneys General and the Trump Administration--and winning. With the security of our healthcare on the line, I’m ready to lead on this crucial case on day one.
2) Fight to lower healthcare prices
Big pharmaceutical corporations use shady loopholes to rig the price of prescription drugs. It costs us millions of dollars, and forces many Montanans to choose between food and having their life saving medication. With the federal government asleep at the wheel, it’s the job of our Attorney General to stand up for Montanans and stop illegal price rigging.
I will investigate and hold pharmaceutical corporations accountable. I will conduct a review anytime a prescription drug sold to Montana increases in price 50% or more year-over-year. If the review detects unfair competition practices, price fixing, or other deceptive business practices, I will initiate litigation to recover money for Montanans.
3) Fight to vindicate the promise of equality under the law in Montana
Representing Montana, I’ll fight to ensure that the Trump Administration recognizes the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment--something Montanans passed decades ago, and Trump
Administration officials are refusing to recognize even though three states recently pushed the Amendment over the required constitutional threshold to ratify nationwide.
What are the greatest issues facing Montana that have gone unsolved by elected officials and how would you address them?
For decades, wealthy special interests have stealthily hijacked America’s legal system, to undermine the rights working people in America fought and died for—the right to organize their labor, the expansion of suffrage and limits on money in our elections, the fundamental right of individual economic empowerment, environmental protections and the right to clean air and clean water, and so much more. With these rights under attack, and a federal government and legal system that favors wealthy interests, our Montana Attorney General Montana must stand up for our values.
We have a real opportunity in 2020 to reimagine what the Attorney General’s office can do for working people—to forge a new balance between entrenched power and those without it. As provided in our progressive state constitution, the AG’s position is a check on power: on concentrated private economic power and on runaway government power that no longer works for people. This is the role of a state AG and I’ll reinvigorate it by:
● Standing up to insurance companies and enforcing consumer protection laws against abuses
● Protecting Montana’s public lands from being sold off and privatized for corporate or wealthy special interests
● Standing up for privacy and net neutrality against big telecoms
● Defending our public education from privatization
● Enforcing Montana’s environmental laws and defending our Constitutional guarantee to a “clean and healthful environment for this and future generations”
● Respecting and partnering with Montana’s native communities, ensuring fairness and respect for tribal sovereignty in all dealings with the State of Montana—and providing state resources and coordination with native communities to solve the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
● Implementing, on day one, automatic voter registration through the Motor Vehicle Division
● Continuing the fight against dark money, to ensure our elections belong to people--not corporations or a wealthy few