Even while waging a losing campaign for U.S. Senate last year, Jack Conway has done a solid job as Kentucky's attorney general and has some ideas that could make him even more effective in a second term.
His challenger, two-term Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool, may well have a future in politics, but this campaign has revealed he is less than ready for the office he seeks.
Conway, a Democrat, has taken flak from P'Pool for his investigation of for-profit colleges. But we'd offer Conway's record in this area as an example of why he deserves re-election.
Consumer protection is one of the attorney general's most important responsibilities. Conway's interest in the for-profit education sector was spurred by complaints to his office from Kentuckians who had been financially victimized.
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Republican P'Pool accuses Conway of indicting a whole industry. Kentucky has more than 100 for-profit schools. Conway has subpoenaed records from seven of them. Hardly a witch hunt.
Also, alerting consumers, including college students, to possibly exploitative business practices is part of what the AG is supposed to do.
P'Pool expresses more interest in using the AG's office to fight federal regulations, especially to protect the coal industry, and criticizes Conway for not challenging the federal health care reform law in court.
While this makes for good partisan political theater, the limited (and dwindling every year) resources of the AG's office should be put to work in ways that more directly protect and benefit Kentuckians.
Challenges to the health care law are well on their way to the Supreme Court; Kentucky would add or gain nothing by signing on now. And coal already has plenty of protectors, including Conway who's suing the Environmental Protection Agency to halt regulatory curbs on greenhouse gases.
In a second term, Conway wants to work on better coordination of interstate monitoring of prescription pill abuse. His knowledgeable, analytical approach to management of the almost 200-person agency is well suited to this kind of challenge, just as it helped him keep an earlier promise to fight child pornography on the Internet.
Conway is far and away the better choice.