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Curtis Hill is 'Defending Freedom' by The Elkhart Truth

Curtis Hill is 'Defending Freedom' by The Elkhart Truth

ELKHART — After nearly a year of campaigning, Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill soon will find out if he'll be taking on a statewide post, serving all Indiana residents.

The Republican from Elkhart, now in his fourth term as prosecutor, is running for the Indiana attorney general's post against Democrat Lorenzo Arredondo, a former Lake County Circuit Court judge. Election Day is Tuesday.

"It's been busy. I've traveled to much of Indiana," Hill said this week.

The incumbent, Greg Zoeller, didn't seek re-election. Instead, he ran unsuccessfully for the 9th District U.S. House seat in the May GOP primary. Hill, who announced his candidacy last December, won nomination as the GOP attorney general candidate at the Indiana Republican Convention last June.

During his campaign, Hill has attended intimate meetings with small groups, large political gatherings and more.

"My message seems to be well received in all parts of the state," said Hill, who has taken a tough stance at times against suspects processed through the prosecutor's office. Broadly, he puts a focus on "defending freedom," he said, and "protecting family."

The attorney general's race has been overshadowed by the gubernatorial contest between Democrat John Gregg and Republican Eric Holcomb and the U.S. Senate race between Republican Todd Young and Democrat Evan Bayh.

Judging by funding, though, Hill's campaign has been getting plenty of attention.

His campaign finance report filed on Tuesday shows that he had generated $1.4 million in funding for the year through Oct. 24, with $335,301 left at the end of the period. Arredondo had generated $136,916 in the same period, with $65,609 left.

By way of comparison, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from Jimtown and perhaps the highest-profile candidate from north-central Indiana, had generated $1.73 million during the election cycle as of Sept. 30, with $757,762 left.

STOPPING OVERREACH

"Protecting family," one of Hill's campaign messages, is "something near and dear to my heart as prosecutor." By that, he means fighting drugs and drug trafficking.

"There are serious drug problems throughout the state," Hill said, alluding to heroin, opioids and meth. "So many people are wanting to know what type of steps can be taken."

Hill calls for a three-pronged approach – stricter enforcement of laws against trafficking, developing more affordable and accessible treatment options for drug abusers and putting more of a focus on preventing people from turning to drugs and crime in the first place.

Beyond that, his focus on "defending freedom" is a response to what he sees as federal government overreach, that is, federal agencies "bypassing Congress" and imposing their rules and regulations on state government. It's the attorney general's role to counter those kinds of intrusions.

"The attorney general has the responsibility of defending the state's interest in those regards," Hill said.

Beyond that, the attorney general aids in consumer protection, fights Medicaid fraud, protects against identity theft and more.

Some Republicans have long speculated about Hill's potential as a candidate for higher office, beyond the Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office. For now, he says he's focused on the campaign to be attorney general.

"We're taking one day at a time. Let's get past Nov. 8 and do this job," he said.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack

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Frost Illustrated Article Features Curtis Hill's Personal Passion to Be Indiana's Next Attorney General

Frost Illustrated Article Features Curtis Hill's Personal Passion to Be Indiana's Next Attorney General

FORT WAYNE—Curtis Hill has made a career—and life—of defending the rule of law. He said to do so requires courage and leadership. His devotion to those principles comes from an early life experience and a lesson his father taught him.

“When my father was a young man in his late 20s, he bought a small piece of land in which to build a new home for his young family. He was immediately confronted by his would be neighbors who informed him in no uncertain terms that neither he nor his family were welcome in the neighborhood,” said Hill of his African American family that was moving into a previously all-white neighborhood. “They gave him an ultimatum to sell them his land, or else. But, my father did not sell and chose to build his home where my 88-year-old mother lives to this day.”

Hill said his father was willing to defend his family and his ideals with his life.

“One of my earliest memories as a small boy was of my father bringing home a new shotgun the day after our home has been bombed. My father did not break nor did he turn his back on his idea of the American dream. He taught us an invaluable lesson that day—that  even in America you have to fight for your freedom. I have many examples of my mother and my father exhibiting courage in the face of adversity and insulating us from fear while instilling in us a  level of courage and responsibility that has lead me to my career public service.”

Hill hopes to bring that same determination to the office of Indiana Attorney General, a position for which he is vying in the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election.

In addition to a solid moral background and fighting spirit his parents gave him growing up, Hill said he also has the experience to manage the office and be the perfect servant for the people of Indiana.

“My 14 years  serving Elkhart County as prosecuting attorney have prepared me to serve the people of Indiana as their attorney general. The office  of the attorney general is a large public interest law firm that requires strong leadership,” explained Hill. “As prosecutor, I transformed a part-time inefficient prosecutor’s office into a full-time operation regarded as one of the most effective prosecutor’s office in this state.”

That work, he said, also included taking a hands on approach to the duties of the office and reaching out to the people.

“I have not only tried and handled hundreds of cases personally but I have successfully administered the office. As an advocate on behalf of Hoosiers for the last 27 years, I have sat with the victims who have lost their children.  I have held violent criminals accountable for their actions,” said Hill. “I have developed a mindset that can contribute solutions. Indiana needs an attorney general with my background and experience and I am ready to lead.”

Hill explained that many people aren’t clear on the attorney general role in the state. While people often hear of modern attorneys general defending state laws against the federal government, he said the primary role of the attorney general is to act on behalf of the citizens of the state.

“The attorney general   in Indiana is the chief legal officer for the state but more, also the advocate for the people,” said Hill, adding that the office does also have the responsibility that many see being exercised in today’s political climate, protect consumers and manage criminal convictions.

“The attorney general has the authority to sue on behalf of the State of Indiana and to defend the State when sued. The attorney general is responsible for defending the constitution including the 10th Amendment of the Constitution which protects Hoosiers against unconstitutional federal overreach. The Attorney General is responsible for protecting the interests of consumers against fraud scams and irregular business practices while also overseeing Indiana’s regulatory process. Criminal convictions are secured by the Appellate division. Many other responsibilities and initiatives make the attorney general’s office one of the most significant responsibilities of state government,” explained Hill.

The attorney general hopeful pointed to a number of crucial issues facing Indiana that he said must be addressed.

“The staggering drug epidemic  led by the explosion of heroin across our state is destroying lives and substantially altering the futures of too many people. My experience fighting drug abuse is essential to defeating this problem,” said Hill.

He also said that “disturbing acts of violence are becoming more more commonplace and human trafficking has emerged as a growing concern” in the state of Indiana.

Unlike many other politicians, Hill is not shy about addressing a controversial issue that has been plaguing the nation.

“Racial discord and tension over the fairness of our justice system and support for law enforcement and the rule of law has hit a boiling point and must be addressed,” said Hill.

He said the key is starting dialogue from a point of common ground.

“Traveling   the entire state of Indiana  and listening, I have learned that  we share so much more in common than that which keeps us separate. At our core, we all yearn to be free to pursue our happiness.  We may have different perspectives that require a bridge.  My responsibility as Attorney General is to protect freedom and provide that bridge to ensure that each Hoosier had the opportunity to pursue their vision of happiness.  As a leader ,it is my responsibility to find  the common ground. by encouraging the higher ground in solving problems that impede our optimum success as a free people.

He also said issues such as cybercrime need to be addressed by the office of the attorney general.

“Technology that was intended to enhance our lives is now being used by criminals intent on disrupting our lives,” explained Hill.

He also said he also wants to help create a better business climate for the state of Indiana.

“The ever expanding federal government is increasing the burdens on our businesses and economy contrary to the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” said Hill, adding that he wants to help alleviate those burdens.

Hill said the Indiana office of the attorney general has operated with consistency for the past 16 years and that there are some things that the office does very well and that his team would continue at enhanced those areas as required. But, he said he would continue to evaluate all the office’s areas and programs to evaluate their effectiveness and make improvements if necessary.

“I anticipate some structural reorganization that will provide for accountability to the office as should be a case for any large public service law firm. There will be training and service. The focus of the attorney general staff will be to facilitate top quality service to the public,” explained Hill.

At the end of the day, Hill said the role of a public servant is simple:

“The only role of government is to secure our God given rights which include life liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Hill.

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