Colorado Attorney General Salazar states his case in Glenwood Springs
Telemarketers who violate Colorado’s new “no call” law are not only receiving phone calls from Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar’s office, they are getting hit with cease and desist orders as well.
“They’ve gotten the word the law will be enforced,” said Salazar during a campaign stop in Glenwood Springs Thursday. “Each call can bring with it a $10,000 fine.”
During his 45-minute chat with local Democrats and the public at the Garfield County Courthouse Plaza, the first-term incumbent touched on state issues and important cases he has prosecuted during the last four years.
One of those cases resulted in a 17-year prison sentence for a Denver man who illegally dumped hazardous materials that dry cleaning businesses had paid to have disposed.
“That’s the longest sentence in the nation” for that type of environmental crime, said Salazar. “I’m proud of what we’ve done in that area.”
Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, faces Republican challenger Marti Allbright in the November’s attorney general election.
Allbright is a Denver resident who was chief deputy attorney general under Gale Norton, Salazar’s predecessor in the office. During the first 18 years of her private practice, Allbright worked on water rights and natural resources issues affecting Colorado, according to her website.
She has not yet visited Garfield County on her campaign. But on her website, she said, “As Colorado Attorney General, the safety and security of our state, our families, our homes will be my top priority. I will work with law enforcement professionals across Colorado to ensure that the men and women on the front lines of providing this security have the tools and the training they need to get the job done.”
Salazar said three primary concerns are on his agenda: law enforcement, including training for counties and communities, water issues and consumer protection.
Referring to the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security to fight terrorism, Salazar said battles will be fought by the men and women on the “front lines.” Salazar also said he met with President George W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and asked for federal funds to train law enforcement officers in Colorado. He also plans to work with the Colorado legislature to secure funds for training.
Salazar said he took four water cases to the U.S. Supreme Court during his term.
One of the first actions Salazar took after winning office in 1998 was to form his office’s environmental crime unit. “We’ve prosecuted more than 12 cases,” he said.
When Salazar opened the floor to questions, Fernando Canitrot asked whether undocumented foreigners should be prosecuted, or whether solutions should be found.
Salazar said it is the federal government’s responsibility to handle immigration.
“But in my own view, we need to treat everyone in the country in a humane way,” he said.
Salazar said he is also bothered when he hears of employers who hire undocumented workers, then call the INS to have them busted so they don’t have to pay them. In some cases, the attorney general’s office can prosecute. “Sometimes we get involved on the consumer protection side,” he said.
Salazar’s presentation was low key. He shook hands with most of the people in the room, and thanked them for coming out during their lunch hour. He said he’d visited 50 to 55 counties in the last three to four weeks. “Every county and community is as important as the other,” Salazar said. “I don’t think the world begins and ends in Denver.”
Early in his remarks, Salazar complimented the public service efforts of Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri and District Attorney Mac Myers. They in return complimented Salazar for his performance as attorney general.
Alluding to his 22 years in law enforcement, Dalessandri told Salazar, “I think you’re the finest attorney general we’ve had.”
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