Oregons soon to be attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, visited Pendleton family service agencies and Umatilla County Attorney Dan Primus Thursday as part of a state tour prior to being sworn into office June 29.
Supporting families and providing state help to county attorneys are high priorities for Rosenblum.
She is visiting Umatilla County and other parts of the state to gain a better understanding of how the AGs office can be of service.
Rosenblum won the Democratic nomination for attorney general last month and will likely face Republican James Buchal, a Portland attorney who launched a write-in campaign for the partys nomination, in November.
Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed her to succeed John Kroger, who is resigning as attorney general to become president of Reed College in Portland.
I am anxious to get to know people and reach out to agency heads and other employees to assure a smooth transition, Rosenblum told the East Oregonian editorial board.
She said in an editorial board visit last spring that there are morale problems in the attorney generals office that need to be addressed.
I want to engage the attorney generals staff in the bigger issues we face by seeking their input, Rosenblum said.
The move into her new office in the Justice Building located in downtown Portland will only be a short trip for the former former Oregon Court of Appeals judge.
My new office is literally one floor down from my old office as a judge, she said.
But Rosenblum is also planning to re-establish an attorney generals office in Salem so as to provide better legal support to state agencies and be more available to the governor and agency heads for advice on legislation.
She plans to carry her primary pledge to focus on families forward into the new office.
Nearly half of the employees in the attorney generals office are devoted to child and family concerns including collecting support payments and dealing with issues of abuse and neglect.
I also want to reach out to county attorneys and law enforcement staffs to be sure we are providing needed support, she said.
There are seven or eight attorneys in her agency devoted to helping with criminal justice. This might include offering expert advice to county attorneys prosecuting murders or other crimes.
Immediate business before the new AG, when she assumes office next week, will be helping develop and implement rules lending institutions must follow before mortgages go into bankruptcy. There are also new rules smaller banks must follow that are being developed as part of a federal settlement with major banks regarding mortgage foreclosures.
Rosenblum is not officially part of a state committee looking at how Oregon can reform corrections and reduce state prison costs, but would like to offer input based on her experience as a judge.
Keeping records open to the public and news media is another issue the new AG wants to review.
I am not planning any major changes in the AGs office at the moment, she said.
Her goal, rather, is to get to know employees and help them sort out what changes are needed.
Meanwhile, Rosenblum says, I will take seriously my fall opponent for attorney general.
I think the best way to get elected is to do a really good job, she said.
There is one pledge she did make to the EO editorial board and that involves a horse.
Rosenblum, who took riding lessons as a child and loves horses, plans to return in September to ride in the Round-Up parade.
I just may need to borrow a horse, she said.
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