Utah GOP Attorney General Primary

by John Mulholland

There is an interesting race for Utah Attorney General between the incumbent of six and a half years, Sean Reyes, and the Utah County Attorney General of two years, David Leavitt. The winner of this month’s primary will face off with the Democrat for the November election. A debate between the two can be found below.


Attorney General Sean Reyes

Sean Reyes has served as the state attorney general since Dec 2013, replacing John Swallow after he resigned. AG Reyes said that his biggest accomplishment so far has been to restore trust to the office after several scandals. Lawyers and judges now know that the Attorney General’s Office will play by the rules. According to Martindale, a site that rates lawyers by anonymous peer review, Sean has a perfect rating, AV Preeminent.

Sean has done much to improve the office of over 250 lawyers. When he arrived there wasn’t even a document or case management system. With tens of thousands of cases to manage, Sean ensured that new technology was implemented. He also added employee evaluations. Sean said that he believes strongly in delegating and empowering people to do their jobs. He relies on those employees to handle the day to day work and advise him on policies.

Although he grew up in LA and Hawaii, his family is from the Philippines. His father was a refugee who fled when Marcos was elected. When Estrada was elected, he asked Sean’s father to come back, offering him a cabinet position, but his father turned it down. Growing up in LA was tough, but Sean learned boxing and mixed martial arts. He loves fighting for others and has brought that spirit to the office.

Accomplishments

Sean loves to talk about the accomplishments of the office, including:

  • Getting Utah to an A rating with Shared Hope International for combatting human trafficking
  • Helping take down a local major child pornography network
  • Winning millions from Equifax and Volkswagen
  • Implementing Rapid DNA, used recently in a Cache County murder case
  • Pushing for a 3 digit mental health emergency number, like 911
  • Working with prescribers to reduce opioids and suing the manufacturer
  • Working with private companies to deliver masks for the police, firefighters, and EMTs

When asked about the contract with Banjo, a data analysis company, Sean explained how quickly they were able to use “junk” data to find the Las Vegas shooter. Unfortunately, major news networks didn’t act on it and it cost the police precious time. Instead, Banjo now just works with law enforcement. They use non-identifiable data from other companies to find crimes very quickly, saving the police precious time when responding. A commission being established with Auditor Dougall will examine the technology for bias and protection of personal private information.

Companies can change though, and with the CEO stepping down, it is unknown what the future will bring for Banjo.

Sean loves his work and said that he could talk for hours about what they have been able to do. He also likes to have a little fun. When he can he likes to participate with law enforcement, including going undercover, to better understand what his employees are seeing. He speaks at FanX and plays the Black Knight at Evermore when he has time.

Sean loves the momentum the office currently has and wants to be able to continue for another term.


David Leavitt

David is the current attorney general for Utah County, halfway through his first term. The interview was scheduled but Mr. Leavitt didn’t show up. The next day he apologized for missing it and asked to reschedule but never responded after that.


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