We hear often from Democrats and Republicans, and sometimes from third party candidates, that will be competing for statewide offices here in Michigan in November.
But there’s just one name on the statewide partisan ballot that will have no party affiliation. That person is Chris Graveline, an independent who is competing to become the state’s attorney general.
Graveline almost didn’t make the ballot. He fell well short of collecting the necessary signatures. But a federal judge said Michigan’s signature requirement is arbitrary and overly burdensome, and ordered Graveline on the ballot.
What would he do, if he won the November election?
He joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about his campaign.
“I have found myself watching the two parties drift further and further apart from each other… which has left myself and, I believe, a good segment of the population, including myself, without a party,” says Graveline. “I think a lot of people feel disenfranchised by the two parties, that as this drift keeps going further and further apart, there’s a lot of people in the middle.”
On ongoing investigations into Flint, MSU, and the Catholic Church
“The next attorney general is going to be handling investigations — the continuation of the Flint Water Crisis, the MSU investigation (into the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal), the investigation into the Catholic Church,” says Graveline.
“I think I’m the only candidate in this race who’s had the experience of actually handling those types of large, complex investigations. And I think my reputation and my work history shows I do it in an even-handed and fair manner. That’s why I think I make a good candidate for this position.”
On Enbridge’s Line 5 oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac
‘We clearly have to do something,” says Graveline. ”We cannot just leave this pipeline exposed on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. But I don’t think that’s necessarily just going to be the purview of the attorney general to work on.”
Democratic attorney general nominee Dana Nessel has said “On my first day, I will file to shut down Enbridge Line 5.” Graveline says it’s not as easy as the attorney general filing to shut down Line 5 by revoking the easement for the pipeline, as some environmentalists have argued.
“I think that’s way too easy of a sound bite,” he says. “As soon as you would take that step of trying to remove the easement, it would end up in federal court very quickly.”
“Whoever the next attorney general is is going to have to work very closely with whoever the next governor is. And that’s going to be the solution on Line 5.”
Click here for more information about a landmark deal between the state of Michigan and Enbridge regarding Line 5 announced last week.
On abortion and reproductive rights
“I think that’s one of those issues that the attorney general’s office should stay out of,” says Graveline. “My view is the attorney general should be there to enforce the law. What’s the law in place? Tell me what the law is and that’s what we’re going to do.”
He says that his personal views on that and other controversial issues don’t matter.
“I’ve been a prosecutor for 20 years,” he continues. “No one once has come into my office and asked me my views about abortion, gun control, gun regulations, drug legalization, any of it. They’ve said, here’s the facts, here’s the law, and I go about doing it.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.