Rob McKenna is Washington state’s attorney general, first and foremost. Even though he is also running for governor, he must still put his current job as head of the Department of Justice first.
This is exactly what he is doing. Human Trafficking is a subject McKenna has a long history of fighting.
In 2010 he aided FBI and local law enforcement in busting a massive child prostitution ring, freeing 23 underage children.
Human trafficking is an important issue for Washington state. Six men were indicted in 2010 for smuggling over 200 Thai men into Hawaii and Washington where they were then used as slave labor.
During the summer, the National Association of Attorneys General elected McKenna as their president, where he immediately began an initiative to crackdown on human trafficking.
He has also taken infamous website “backpage.com” to task for allowing prostitution (much of it suspected to be associated with human trafficking) to be advertised on their website.
He obviously is very passionate about this issue.
Why then is it a problem to have an elected official come and speak on a subject he is passionate about? It’s not as if he’s actively campaigning, he’s only talking about an issue that falls directly under his job description. Since when is doing one’s own job suspect behavior?
McKenna isn’t giving a campaign speech, or rallying supporters. He’s not brushing over talking points or giving out campaign stickers. He’s not campaigning, he’s talking about something that pertains to his current job, which the majority of Washingtonians voted him into.
The fact that someone is running for an elected position doesn’t automatically make everything they do related to their running. If McKenna were overtly talking about how “if elected, I will end human trafficking” then yes, perhaps his appearance could be construed as a campaign move. But he isn’t. So it shouldn’t be.
If President Obama decided to give a speech at SPSCC about overcoming diversity, it also wouldn’t necessarily be a campaign move. If our community were overrun with failing pizza joints and Hermain Cain gave a speech detailing ways to improve profitability (without droning on about his election bid) then there would be no problem.
The implication seems to be that if Mitt Romney picked his nose he is specifically picking his nose to appeal to a nose-picking demographic because he is running.
This notion is absurd. Politicians are people, just like everyone else. Not every single action of theirs must be maliciously politically motivated.
Kohl-Welles is a perfectly fine senator, but she doesn’t represent our community or the state in general. The state’s attorney general does. We are the capital after all, not a district in Seattle.
If Rob McKenna uses his speech as a political platform, then he will be behaving in an unethical manner and I will fully support prohibiting actions like this again.
However, until that happens, the idea that this is a cold, calculated move to win an election bid more than a year from now, as opposed to simply doing the job he was elected to do, is nothing more than a conspiracy theory based on personal bias and rampant misplaced distrust.