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AG candidates offer some contrasts

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With state Attorney General Mike Cox term-limited, Flint Township Democrat David Leyton and Midland Republican Bill Schuette are running to succeed him in the Nov. 2 election, offering contrasting priorities to the voters.

Leyton, who is Genesee County prosecutor, wants to provide leadership to persuade the legislature and governor to make public safety the top priority. He also wants to focus on consumer and environmental protection, and crack down on Medicaid fraud and public corruption. Leyton would end Cox's federal lawsuits to stop health care reform and support the racist Arizona immigration law, while continuing the lawsuit to close the Chicago shipping canal to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. He would issue legal opinions to clarify gray areas in the state's medical marijuana law.

Schuette, a former state Court of Appeals judge and congressman, wants to keep prisons open and felons jailed longer, while continuing all three of Cox's federal lawsuits. A leader in the failed attempt to defeat Proposal 1, which legalized medical marijuana in 2008 and won by a 63 to 37 percent landslide margin, he remains opposed to medical marijuana.

Both Leyton and Schuette have extensive experience in public office. Leyton was elected a Flint Township trustee in 1992, appointed township clerk to fill a vacancy in 1995, following which he was elected to the office in 1996 and 2000, then was elected Genesee County prosecutor in 2004 and 2008.

Schuette was elected to the U.S. House in 1984, defeating Democratic incumbent Donald Albosta. After being re-elected in 1986 and 1988, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1990, losing to Democratic incumbent Carl Levin. Gov. John Engler then appointed Schuette as state Agriculture Department director in 1991. He resigned in 1993 to run for the state Senate, to which he was elected in 1994 and 1998. Term-limited, he was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2002, but did not seek re-election in 2008.

Leyton and Schuette are both 56 years old, married and have two children. Leyton is a graduate of the University of Toledo and Cooley Law School. Schuette graduated from Georgetown University and the University of San Francisco School of Law.

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