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Vermont Primary Election 2022: Democrats debate in race for attorney general

A profile photo of two people: to the left, a man in black suit and checkered tie stands in front of a white statue; right, a woman in a black suit stands in front of a government building.
Thibault and Clark campaigns, courtesy
Rory Thibault, left, and Charity Clark are the Democratic candidates for Vermont attorney general on the ballot for the Aug. 9 primary election.

This hour, Vermont Edition host Mikaela Lefrak moderates a debate with the two Democratic candidates for attorney general. It's the latest in a series of live debates from Vermont Public ahead of the state's Aug. 9 primary election.

The Democratic candidates for attorney general are:

Among the issues the candidates touched on in the debate, they highlighted their different strategies for addressing drug addiction and crime.
Clark, a former assistant attorney general, says she wants to focus on restorative justice, including an expansion of community support circles.

"They're really inspiring, and I think we need to be seeing more of those in Vermont," she said.

"That's just one idea in the restorative realm that I feel really strongly about, and you can see the outcomes really work."

Thibault, the current state's attorney for Washington County, said he wants to see a major overhaul to drug laws, including the de-felonization of certain drugs.

"That's a starting point to, I think, Vermont's long-term trajectory towards decriminalization of personal-use amounts of drugs, as Oregon has done," he said.

"Taking the first step in de-felonization, I think, would have helped reduce disparities in the system and also funneled more people to treatment."

Clark said she also wants to expand restorative justice practices and increase expungement of personal records for nonviolent crimes.

Note, due to uncontested Republican and Progressive primary races for attorney general, Vermont Edition will not hold primary debates for those parties.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.