Republican Pete Serrano isn’t surprised his decision to run for Washington attorney general drew immediate fire from Democratic opponents.
Serrano, a Pasco attorney, helped found the conservative nonprofit behind lawsuits to overturn state restrictions on assault-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. To date, those efforts have been unsuccessful.
And while the Silent Majority Foundation, where he serves as general counsel, couldn’t block COVID mandates it continues to seek legal clarity on the limit of executive powers used by Gov. Jay Inslee to impose them.
These efforts make him an easy target for the two announced Democratic candidates, former U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and state Sen. Manka Dhingra. Both supported passage of the gun laws and issuance of the public health mandates.
Within hours of Serrano’s announcement Tuesday, Brown appealed to donors.
“Washingtonians can’t afford an Attorney General who will focus on rolling back progress on gun safety or one who is affiliated with a political party that constantly puts extremism and division over truth and justice,” Brown wrote in his fundraising email.
Serrano on Friday didn’t deny that he’s tackled “red meat issues.”
“They are all individual liberty issues too,” he added.
In a statement released earlier this week, he said that while he disagrees with several Washington state laws, it would not be his job as attorney general to “pick winners and losers.”
“I will use all the resources available to the office to defend the Constitution and the Constitutional laws of the state,” he said.
“I will provide a much needed check on government overreach,” he continued. “The days of emergency orders are over – they will be scrutinized and litigated if any office oversteps the bounds and duties as provided by the state’s constitution and laws.”
Serrano, Brown and Dhingra are competing to succeed Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson who, after 12 years in the job, is running for governor.
Serrano, 43, is in his second term on the Pasco City Council and currently serves as mayor, a post filled by council members. The conservative Republican is a former leader of the Franklin County Republican Party.
Born in California, he and his family moved to Pasco in 2015 where he was an environmental lawyer for the U.S. Department of Energy at Hanford. He went on to work for Energy Northwest before helping establish the Silent Majority Foundation in August 2021.
by Jerry Cornfield, Washington State Standard
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