"I think after 15 years it's time for a change," said Donovan. "I think it's time for some new energy, new ideas and new engagement from the office of the attorney general."
If Donovan, 38, were to receive the Democratic nod and gain election as Attorney General, his priorities would include attempting to pass legislation pertaining to GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) labeling, creating a special unit that addresses elder abuses, advocating for
Due to the increasing population of older people in the state, Donovan said he felt a special unit should be created to protect elders not only from physical abuse, but from the financial exploitation that exists as well.
In regards to the prescription drug problem that exists, Donovan said there are a couple of things that need to be done to address it.
"[We need to develop a] partnership with the medical community. We've got to develop best practices so we start screening for addiction before people are prescribed this medication," said Donovan. "Secondly,
In addition to new ideas, energy and engagement, another difference is that Donovan supports the decriminalization of marijuana.
Though he is concerned about the message decriminalizing it would send, Donovan said he was more concerned about the "collateral consequences" that would result from a conviction.
"No student, no young person, should lose their eligibility for federal student loans as a result of a marijuana conviction," Donovan said. "The chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general, can bring about change by advocating for that change because that's what's fair."
Changes to the criminal justice system are another focus of Donovan's. As the Chittenden County State's Attorney, Donovan implemented the rapid intervention community court program - a program that because of its success, Donovan said he would implement statewide if he were to be elected as the new Attorney General. In an interview last Friday, Donovan said that the program has probably diverted over 700 people.
"These are not first time offenders, these are people mostly with criminal records and what we're saying is if our job is public safety, if we can get people sober, if we can get people stabilized, if we can get people employed, that's going to enhance our public safety and it's going to be a lot more effective and less expensive doing it this way in the community [than] through a correction[s] system that's not designed to address these issues," Donovan said. "We want the corrections system to work the way it was designed to work, which is put people in jail who pose a threat to public safety."
When asked what could have been done differently in regards to the ongoing Vermont Yankee court case, Donovan first responded by saying that he believed the plant should be shut down.
"The only difference I would say is I think part of leadership is understanding what you don't know and these constitutional issues, which Vermont Yankee is, are very complex. They're very difficult," Donovan said. "I would have brought in an expert earlier rather than later and I think that's the biggest difference. And when I say expert that's the outside Washington D.C. Council that Bill's now brought in."
The state of Vermont is appealing a decision made by a federal district court earlier this year which held the state could not force the closure of the nuclear power plant when the state's main motivation was radiological safety. That falls within a federal purview, the lower court said.
So far, Donovan has amassed a number of endorsements from some significant organizations and people such as the Vermont State Employees' Association, The Vermont Troopers Association, The Vermont Sheriff's Association, The Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council, State Senator Dick Sears and former Governor Phil Hoff to name a few. The endorsements, Donovan believes, will only help when the primary elections - early voting for which began on Monday, July 16 - are held on Aug. 28.
"I think it's tremendous because I think it lends credibility," Donovan said of the endorsements. "It gives me credibility and I think it really underscores the message that people want change, people want more out of the office of the Attorney General."