Republican Gentner Drummond said Friday he has the administrative skills, litigation skills and ethics to best serve Oklahomans as the state’s next attorney general.
Drummond met with the Pawhuska Journal-Capital Friday morning to discuss why he is running as the chief law enforcement officer and chief attorney for Oklahoma. He faces incumbent Attorney General Mike Hunter in the Aug. 28 Republican runoff election. The Aug. 28 winner will face Democrat Mark Myles in November.
As a seventh-generation Oklahoman and fifth-generation rancher in Osage County, Drummond, 54, said he has a strong commitment to giving back to the state. Drummond is a Gulf War veteran, successful trial attorney in northeast Oklahoma, and owns interests in a prominent bank in Pawhuska, abstract companies and several retail cellphone stores across the region.
Drummond said he is serious about Oklahoma and wants to make the state a better place for young people to stay. He said it is time for him serve the state as attorney general during what he calls a particularly troubling time.
“I’ve grown frustrated with the direction of our state. I look at our state officials, and it appears as though people are just jockeying for the next position,” Drummond said. “They say things like ‘I don’t want to do this because it might jeopardize my donor base or my voter base, and I won’t be able to do get that next job, that next promotion or that next appointment.’ That’s not my objective. I don’t want to be a career politician. My objective is to serve and serve aggressively for four years, or eight years, and then be back in Osage County raising cattle, practicing law and enjoying my grandchildren.”
Drummond said if elected attorney general, Oklahomans would see transparency in the way the office is run — something he says has been seriously lacking under Hunter’s time in office.
“Transparency leads to accountability and accountability leads to good administration of our agencies and our tasks at hand,” Drummond said. “What we don’t have at the attorney general’s office today is openness.”
One particular area Drummond said is the lack of accountability on the release of a state audit for the Tar Creek Superfund site in Ottawa County. Hunter finally released the audit and other documents related to possible corruption in April, after being sued by watchdog groups. The statute of limitations is seven years for criminal charges in Oklahoma to be filed related to wrongdoing of the handling of the Tar Creek site.
“This audit was released the day after the seventh year ran,” Drummond said. “That to me disqualifies [Hunter]. He should have resigned when that was outed. … That’s discouraging.”
Drummond said Hunter politicized the state’s battle on opioid abuse. Drummond said he would have formed a task force well before Hunter did and would openly prosecute opioid drug manufacturers without spending millions of taxpayer dollars on outside council. Drummond alleges Hunter has been pressured by outside influences in the opioid crisis and the scandals surrounding the Oklahoma Department of Health.
“[Hunter] has never practiced law. He doesn’t understand legal strategy. He doesn’t understand law,” Drummond said. “He’s outsourced this, and he has lost control.”