djr-2019-01-17-news-fitch-agp3

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch says if elected attorney general, she will treat it like being the managing partner of the state’s largest law firm.

TUPELO • Republican candidate for Attorney General Lynn Fitch is campaigning on the idea of building coalitions with law enforcement officials and other statewide groups to tackle issues like the opioid crisis and protecting Mississippians from human trafficking.

Fitch has been the state treasurer for the past eight years and is a native of Holly Springs. She sat down with the Daily Journal’s editorial board, where she said if elected, she planned to treat the role of attorney general like being the managing partner of the state’s largest law firm.

Fitch, the only woman currently elected to statewide office, said she feels qualified to run for the position through her previous experience as a private bond attorney, the director of the Mississippi State Personnel Board and having served as the special assistant attorney general within the Attorney General’s Office.

“Those are a lot of very important and very complex agencies,” Fitch told the editorial board. “So, I’ve been able to do that in that capacity … And then I’ve been in private practice. And that truly sets me up to have the most unique and most qualified position going in because I now have an intersection of the law, the policy, finance and administration.”

Fitch’s campaign comes at a time when the state’s mental health system has been taken over by the federal court system over its lack of resources, particularly with community mental health care centers. The federal takeover stemmed from a lawsuit by the federal justice department.

The attorney general’s office could defend the state in such lawsuits, and Fitch said if she were dealing with this lawsuit as attorney general, she would try and determine the timeline and boundaries for implementing solutions to remedy the state’s mental health care system.

“We know we’ve got a number of mentally ill people that are sitting in jail,” Fitch said. “As we know, we have got a number of mentally ill people that are into the opioid abuse. How do we help them? Again, by being very proactive and understanding the issues at hand. That’s going to take us having the conversation and everybody coming to the table with ideas on how we strive for those solutions.”

Fitch said she would also use her ability to bring different groups together to tackle the issue of the opioid epidemic in the state, which she described as a complex issue.

“The attorney general should be the one that rallies with, works with law enforcement, faith-based education, the medical community and on because it’s going to take a lot of us as partners to work with one another to resolve this issue,” Fitch said. “It goes into so many different areas.”

Fitch will compete against Jennifer Riley Collins, the Democratic nominee, in the general election on Nov. 5, meaning that whoever wins the race will make history by being the first woman elected to the office in the state’s history.

taylor.vance@journalinc.com

Twitter: @taylor_vance28

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