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Prosecuting Attorney candidates answer questions

By Staff, 05/2/18 10:50 AM

PRESCOTT – Members of the audience wrote questions for the various candidates during Tuesday’s political rally at the Nevada County Courthouse.

These are the questions and answers from the two candidates for Eighth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney.

The first question dealt with options other than incarceration and what they would do.

Angilynn Taylor, the challenger, talked about implementing programs to prevent incarcerations, saying there are a lot of resources available in the community and she’d take a holistic approach to the situation, incorporating rehabilitation and early youth intervention.

Incumbent Christi McQueen said by using rehabilitative services many could be returned and become productive members of society, but said there are violent people who need to be incarcerated. She told of having two sent to rehab earlier Tuesday.

McQueen said her office is proactive in this area, supplying educational materials to area schools in grades K-12, as well as talking to children and young people about crime prevention and ways they can protect themselves from online predators, and in other areas. Juvenile court, she continued, works to keep young people out of the judicial system, and there are mentoring programs available to help, along with a juvenile drug program. “We’re working to keep the people safe and rehabilitate criminals. The main thing is we’re doing something about it.” One of the things that would help, she said, would be to combat poverty and raise the standard of living.

The next question called for an explanation of where the office’s money comes from and how it’s used.

Taylor said she wasn’t privy to where the money comes from, but does know it comes from taxpayers. She said, if elected, she’d do a full assessment and see where the money is spent, allocating it to get the best bang for the buck, along with implementing programs and working on the staffing shortage as the Probation Office as well as purchasing more ankle monitors.

McQueen told the audience the state sets the salaries by mandate. Money is collected by the prosecutor’s office, she said, with the quorum courts of Hempstead and Nevada County also providing funds. Money also comes from drug seizures when arrests are made. Over the last eight years, McQueen said, the state has found no problem with the office during the annual audit.

She said there are different things the office can do with its funds as long as it involves law enforcement in some manner. She said firearms and training have been paid for by the PA office for officers, learning materials have been purchased and program vehicles bought for law enforcement agencies.

In being asked why they were the best candidate, Taylor talked about how she’d use all of her senses before deciding what to do. Crime, she said, is on the rise and she’d offer a new vision and perspective. “I’m the only one who can offer change. You know what you’re getting (now) and need to embrace change.”

McQueen bristled at the comment about Taylor being the only one who can offer change and talked about the changes she’s made as PA. She talked about the creation of the new task force, drug rehabilitation programs, talking to young people. “We can’t stop people from committing crimes,” she said, “but we can help those when we can.” In some cases, she continued, people do need to be sent to prison. As to why she’s the best candidate, McQueen said she’s been a practicing attorney for 37 years, worked in the PA office 13 years and has been prosecutor eight years. “I have experience. My office is always open to you.”