Attorney General – Nick Brown

Legislative Questionnaire

Candidate Info

Candidate Name:   Nick Brown
Position Sought:    Attorney General
Are you an incumbent for this position?    Non-incumbent
Home Legislative District:    34th LD
Are you a Democrat?    I am a proud Democrat

Campaign Info

Campaign Manager or Point of Contact:    Aisling Kerins

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience. Beyond your qualifications, what makes you the best candidate for this position or office? Please describe any specific background or unique perspective you offer and how those will help you accomplish your goals for the position sought. If possible, give practical examples.


My work history and leadership experience provide the foundation of my qualifications to be Washington’s next Attorney General.

I joined ROTC to help pay for college, graduated from Morehouse College and got a law degree from Harvard. I then began my service in the Army where I served as a Judge Advocate General, protecting our soldiers from fraud and defending them in court.

When I came home from Iraq, I finished my Army service at JBLM. I then worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and was subsequently appointed as General Counsel for Governor Jay Inslee. In my years with Gov. Inslee, we stood up to Donald Trump and his hateful Muslim ban and sought to create a more just system by ending the death penalty in our state.

In 2021, I became the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, where I focused on fighting drug cartels and sex trafficking, addressing the fentanyl crisis, and partnering with the community to reduce violent crime. But perhaps my proudest accomplishments in that office were working to keep every Washingtonian safe by preventing and prosecuting hate crimes and protecting the most vulnerable and members of marginalized communities.

2. What prompted you to run for this office?

I was raised in Pierce County and taught by my dad, an Army veteran who came of age in the Civil Rights Movement, and my mom, a nurse and healthcare administrator, the importance of being involved, pursuing justice, and making a difference. I’ve spent my life and career trying to live up to that – as a prosecutor and defense attorney, as General Counsel to Governor Inslee, and most recently as U.S. Attorney for Western Washington.

Stepping down as U.S. Attorney was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, but the job of Attorney General is incredibly important, and I knew I wanted to continue my work in that role, on behalf of all Washingtonians.

I’m running for Attorney General because I believe every Washingtonian has a right to be safe, no matter their age, race, gender, who they love, or where they live. My career to date shows my commitment to standing up for the people of Washington, and as Attorney General that is what I’ll keep doing.

3. What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)? Share issues or priorities specific to the office that you’re running for.

My top priority is to keep Washingtonians safe. As Attorney General, I’ll crack down on gun violence and crime, reject hate and fight discrimination, protect our democracy, work to combat climate change, and always stand up for abortion access.

I’ve spent most of my career working in criminal justice trying to keep people and communities safe, and there are no easy answers about how to address crime. We need leaders who are willing to talk honestly and transparently about the challenges, and the Attorney General has an important role to play. We need to use best practices and address the root causes of what drives people to crime in the first place – investing in housing, enacting smart gun control policy, and ensuring social safety net addresses the most vulnerable.

During his time as Attorney General, Bob Ferguson started an environmental enforcement division within the Attorney General’s Office. I will build upon that work to combat climate change and ensure the many new climate policies being enacted in Washington help protect our communities, especially those on the front lines of climate impacts.

And finally, I’ve never shied away from a fight, and if national politics or anything else threatens Washington’s core values, including democracy or a woman’s right to an abortion, I will do everything within the power of my office to defend our rights.

For further information on my top issues, please check out the priorities page on my website.

4. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I believe my message, focus, and track record of keeping all Washingtonians safe – no matter your age, race or gender, where you live or who you love – appeals to a vast majority of Washingtonians.

I’ve also actively been seeking endorsements from individuals and groups that I feel share my democratic values. I’ve been endorsed by our three most recent Governors – Jay Inslee, Christine Gregoire, and Gary Locke, 10 of our tribal nations, the Washington Education Association, Washington State Labor Council, the Pierce County Democrat, the Snohomish County Democrats, and many other grassroots organizations.
Our campaign is also doing everything that we can to reach voters where they are. This includes traveling across the state to share my experience as a lawyer and a leader, and learning from Washingtonians about how we can help improve their communities. Our campaign has also been able to raise more money than all other candidates in this race, while at the same time spending less. This has resulted in a significant cash-on-hand advantage that will also allow us to effectively spread our message and energize voters.

Part II –  Yes or No Questions, please qualify your response if necessary

1. Do you support steps to build a fairer economy through tax reform, including a wealth tax?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #1    Washington has had the most regressive tax code in the nation for far too long, a fact that is dramatically at odds with our progressive values. The recent passage of a capital gains tax and the Working Families Tax Credit were steps in the right direction, but there is still much work to do to truly balance our tax code. The Attorney General is not responsible for enacting new tax policy, but I will fight to protect new funding measures adopted by the Legislature or Washington voters and continue to advocate for policies that ensure the wealthiest among us pay their share.
2. Do you support the right of public workers, excluding military, to bargain and strike?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #2    
3. Do you support legalizing multi-unit homes statewide, as proposed in the #Homes4WA bill, to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #3    
4. Do you support legislation to address climate change and protect our environment, including the Keep Washington Evergreen Act?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #4    
5. Do you support women’s unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #5    
6. Do you support achieving a universal, affordable, quality single payer healthcare program?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #6    
7. Do you support laws regulating the purchase, ownership, and carrying of firearms?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #7    

Part III – Free Response (Please answer at least four questions fully, consider the remaining three optional)

1. Why are you running as a Democrat? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I am a Democrat because the Party most closely aligns with my values. We want safe neighborhoods, great schools, an economy that works for all, protections for vulnerable populations, and a clean and healthy environment. We’re also the party that stands up for abortion rights, Democracy, and for our Civil Rights.

While many of the positions I have held to date have not been explicitly partisan, I have worked to advance Democratic values in all my work. I have worked towards a more just legal system, help stop the use of the death penalty in Washington state, fought Trump’s Muslim ban, worked to prevent and prosecute hate crimes, and defended Washington's gun laws in court.

2. What important state and local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

Washington has not fully addressed our housing crisis, and the legislature hasn’t done enough to prepare us for the housing needs we will have in the next decade. Developing, maintaining, and supporting affordable housing is one of the most pressing problems in Washington. This is especially true for those on the margins struggling to get by.

As Attorney General, I will use the office to advocate for policies that reduce economic disparities, increase housing supply, and support those without the means to pay for housing in this increasingly expensive market. I also believe the Attorney General must continue to use the Civil Rights and Consumer Protection Divisions to ensure everyone has access to housing without fear of discrimination or fraudulent lending practices.

3. What legislative reforms do you support to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals in our communities?

I believe that the wisest voice in a room is often the quietest, and have learned that to get the best input I have to proactively seek it out from those who might not speak up otherwise, or indeed face barriers to speaking up.

To ensure I hear all perspectives as Attorney General, from the constituents I represent, I will actively seek out input directly from constituents and from organizations that help represent them. I will make myself available at public meetings and events, and actively seek counsel from the public on complex issues that they have first-hand experience with. I am also committed to addressing some of the pressing issues that are most impacting BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities, including the housing crisis, economic opportunity, and education. And I will ensure the office focuses on hiring and empowering people in the AG’s Office who come from underrepresented communities across the state.

Over the last two years, Washington experienced the highest number of hate crimes in at least 20 years, and the next Attorney General must vigorously combat the rise of hate-based violence and discrimination in all its forms. This issue is personal to me. As the first Black U.S. Attorney in Washington’s history, I prosecuted multiple cases of violent extremist-motivated hate crimes. I also led the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Civil Rights and started our United Against Hate Initiative to share best practices across law enforcement agencies and within the community. This is an important foundation to help me move the work of the Attorney General’s Office forward.

4. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed legislative solutions to climate change? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

Every aspect of our government must turn its attention to the climate crisis and, as Attorney General, I will be an active partner in supporting and ensuring that all state agencies embed environmental protection work in their DNA. This includes not only the dedication of more resources within the Office towards environmental enforcement and vigorously defending our best-in-the-nation laws, but helping local governments identify enforcement priorities in their jurisdictions. This work can be improved with increased data sharing, technical assistance, transparency by the AG’s Office, and greater training and collaboration with local agencies. We must use every tool at our disposal to protect future generations from the devastating impacts of climate change, and I will be an advocate in the budget process for ensuring all those who have a role to play in implementation and enforcement have the resources needed to be successful.
We are already seeing and feeling the devastating effects of climate change. Increasingly frequent wildfires destroy Washington communities and claim hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land. Our summer skies are filled with smoke, and we see more frequent and extreme weather disasters. The next generation, including my own kids, needs an Attorney General who will prioritize the fight against climate change.

I was proud to work at Governor Inslee’s side as he drove state climate policy forward, and now with some of the best laws in the land, Washington must focus on implementing and enforcing those laws. With Governor Inslee’s departure, there will be a new and pronounced need for climate leadership throughout state government and I fully intent to use the power of a statewide office, and the bully pulpit it affords, to keep a bright light on the need, and indeed the legal imperative, to move to a clean energy economy by 2040.

As I note above, as the legal counsel for state agencies, I will work to embed climate as a priority in the work of all state agencies. I will both publicly and legally hold those that stand in our way accountable, and I will proactively engage with industries impacted by our climate laws to ensure they are aware of their legal responsibilities.

5. What safety, law, or justice reforms are you currently in favor of, and how will you work to implement them?

I am committed to advancing improvements that provide for greater oversight, including support for independent civilian review boards with the power to investigate complaints of alleged police misconduct.
I will also work to build greater community engagement and trust-building initiatives, facilitating dialogue between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. By promoting accountability, transparency, and equitable policing practices, I will work towards rebuilding public trust in law enforcement and ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and justly under the law. As the former U.S. Attorney, I know that effective law enforcement requires trust and credibility with the community they serve and protect. As Attorney General, I will be an active leader in this effort.
While working for Governor Inslee, I led the effort to enact a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington in 2014. When I looked at how the death penalty was being applied in our state, I saw that it was not equal, sometimes even from one county to the next. I also found that 32 death sentences had been overturned since 1981, and errors in a system that could take someone’s life were simply unacceptable. I conducted outreach to those impacted by the moratorium including state employees in the prison system, families of victims, and other community leaders including legislators and advocates. That moratorium helped to accelerate a years-long conversation that culminated in the legislature formally banning the death penalty this past legislative session. I couldn’t be more proud to have played a role in this effort.

6. What steps do you think need to be taken to improve voter turnout and increase voter trust in our election process?

There are no easy answers here but there are many things we can do. We need to encourage and support transparency throughout the system so people have a fuller understanding of how decisions are being made. We need to improve access to justice across the system, so the public’s ability to have their rights protected does not depend on their socioeconomic status, race, gender, or national origin.

Safeguarding democracy also requires collective action to combat voter suppression, defend election integrity, and uphold democratic norms. Interstate collaboration enables AG's to address threats to the electoral process, combat disinformation, and strengthen democratic institutions through litigation, advocacy, and public engagement.

7. Do you think public schools are adequately funded? If not, what minimum requirements should be met in an adequately funded public school system? What specific forms of taxation would you support to attain that funding?

Access to a good education is not just a moral imperative it is essential to ensuring a prepared workforce for the future. Unfortunately, whether it’s declining educational outcomes, a five-alarm fire in student mental health, or the inequities students with disabilities face, there is more we must do to support teachers, educators, students, and families. I am a product of Washington’s public education system, and as Attorney General I will defend funding for public education, and continue to be a fierce advocate for teachers, students, and high-quality public education for all.

For many years, I also served as a volunteer and board member with Treehouse, the leading advocate for supporting the educational needs for foster youth in Washington state. Treehouse works to support youth in public schools and has improved the educational outcomes for children across the state. Leading the board of directors for Treehouse was one of the most meaningful things that I have done in my career.

Washington has had the most regressive and upside-down tax code in the nation for far too long, a fact that is dramatically at odds with our progressive values. The recent passage of a capital gains tax and the Working Families Tax Credit were steps in the right direction, but there is still much work to do to truly balance our tax code. I will fight to protect new funding measures adopted by the Legislature or Washington voters and continue to advocate for policies that ensure the wealthiest among us pay their share.

Printed Name    Nick Brown
Date (mm/dd/yy)    07/02/2024

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