In advance of California’s June 5 primary elections, the University of California, Riverside will host a debate between the four candidates for the office of attorney general the evening of Tuesday, May 15.
The event will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at UCR’s Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts at 3834 Main St.
Advance registration for the event is now closed, although walk-in guests will be placed on a waitlist at the venue and allowed entry beginning at 6:40 p.m., depending on the availability of open seating.
“We at the University of California, Riverside are excited to be hosting the only debate among the four California attorney general candidates in the Inland Southern California region before the 2018 primaries,” said Anil Deolalikar, dean of UCR’s School of Public Policy.
“California’s attorney general plays an especially significant and important role — not just for the state, but also for the nation, in these times,” he added. “I’m glad UC Riverside, and the School of Public Policy, in particular, are making it possible for the public to know how the four attorney general candidates will navigate and address the pressing challenges the state and our region are facing.”
The event will bring together Democratic incumbent Xavier Becerra and three competing candidates: Steven Bailey, a Republican former superior court judge; Eric Early, a Republican attorney with the firm Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae LLP; and Dave Jones, California’s Democratic commissioner of insurance.
Grover Trask, co-director of UCR’s Presley Center of Crime and Justice Studies, and Paulette Brown-Hinds, founder of Voice Media Ventures and publisher of the Inland Empire’s Voice newspaper, will serve as co-moderators. A Q&A session pulling from audience questions submitted online will follow the hour-long debate, as time permits.
A key part of California’s executive branch, the attorney general heads the state’s Department of Justice. He or she is the state’s top lawyer and law enforcement official, overseeing more than 4,500 lawyers, investigators, sworn peace officers, and other employees.
Some of the office’s chief responsibilities include representing the people of California in civil and criminal matters, protecting the public from violent criminals, preserving natural resources, and enforcing civil rights and other state laws adequately and impartially.
Becerra, who has served in the role since his appointment by outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown in January 2017, was preceded by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. The position has been held by a Democratic official since Republican Dan Lungren completed his final term in 1999.
The event’s hosts include UCR, the School of Public Policy, the Office of Governmental and Community Relations, the Robert Presley Center of Crime and Justice Studies, and the law firm Best Best & Krieger.