West Virginia's attorney general should take a proactive lead in fighting unwanted mandates coming from the federal government, believes Republican Patrick Morrisey.
Morrisey, 44, a former Washington, D.C., regulatory lawyer who resides in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., is challenging incumbent Darrell McGraw this year.
"I have been focusing on manufacturing issues and how we can get Washington off West Virginia's back," Morrisey said. "As a regulatory lawyer, I know West Virginia has to run the office of attorney general much differently than it's been handled over the past 20 years. We actually need a strong, independent voice that is able to take on the excesses of Washington."
The attorney general can develop legal policies and theories for the state that can help West Virginia companies take on governmental agencies in Washington, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Morrisey.
He also objects to McGraw's practice of placing his name on promotional items from his office that are paid for by taxpayers.
"That means working more closely with the DEP (the state Department of Environmental Protection), and developing legal strategies together on how best to take on the EPA," Morrisey said. "This attorney general is so focused on trinket distribution that he is not paying attention to the jobs being lost all around the state."
Morrisey spent five years as chief counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and served as a health care regulatory attorney for the committee.
He added he is in the process of resigning his current job as partner and co-chairman of King & Spalding's Food and Drug and Life Science Group so that he might concentrate on his campaign.
A native of New Jersey, Morrisey received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Rutgers University. He has lived in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle for six years.
Morrisey said as an attorney, he was involved with the recent 26-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the Obama administration's health care reform law.
West Virginia was not involved in the suit, but Morrisey believes the state can still join and should.
He believes health care reform is needed in the nation, but he objects to the burden of paying for it being shifted onto the states.