It’s no accident that Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first African American elected to the office, is neck-and-neck with Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles in The State Journal’s informal poll asking which of the GOP constitutional officers has the brightest political future in Kentucky.
Cameron – who, after a comfortable election victory in November, was appointed by Gov. Andy Beshear to fulfill the brief vacancy left when he took office as governor in mid-December – has gotten right to work and has already shown he is willing to cross party lines.
The new AG asked the FBI to investigate some of the hundreds of pardons granted by former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, especially for convicts with wealthy or political ties.
“I believe the pardon power should be used sparingly and only after great deliberation with due concern for public safety,” Cameron wrote in a letter to two Democratic state lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the day after he was sworn in with other state constitutional officers, Cameron pledged to work with federal and state prosecutors, children’s advocates and the medical community to better coordinate efforts to decrease the number of child abuse and neglect cases – of which Kentucky has the highest rate in the country. Neighboring Indiana was second.
According to the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Maltreatment report, there were 22,410 Kentucky victims of child abuse in 2017, equating to about 22.2 victims per 1,000 children in the state – more than double the national average of 9.1 victims per 1,000 kids. The number of child abuse victims is roughly 27.5 percent higher than in 2013, when a little more than 17,500 were identified as victims.
Cameron said last week that his office plans to “do something meaningful” by developing a manual to help prosecutors seek convictions in child abuse and neglect cases.
We believe this is a good start and commend the new attorney general for tackling one of the state’s most pressing issues right out of the gate.