January 18, 2006 - Posted at 5:30 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK-The colder weather marks the start of a new year and a new term at the state capitol. This year several region eight natives are calling the capital city home. One of those is Jonesboro's own Dustin McDaniel who says his first two weeks as attorney general have been filled with unpacking and preparing for some very important cases.
"They made it, in tact," comments McDaniel as he unpacks his favorite office decor, his ducks!
"I don't know where I'm going to put them, but the folks that know me well know they are going to be in here somewhere."
But unpacking is secondary on McDaniel's list of things to do.
"There are a number of issues that face the consumers of Arkansas, and the attorney general's job is to fight for those consumers, and that's exactly what we are going to do."
McDaniel says his biggest fight, however, comes in the way of education.
"I believe that right now we are in compliance with Lakeview and that case ought to be dropped today. But it's important that we stay in compliance, but that's where I as the state lawyer can offer my counsel."
He makes these remarks while preparing for a day in front of the supreme court, to show how far the state has come in education reform and spending.
"We oughta be proud of the fact that we are #1 in the U.S. In Pre-K education. When was the last time Arkansas was number one in any education program. We ought to be really proud of it."
Among other things on his to do list, is a bill package focusing on law enforcement and consumer rights.
"My package will be well rounded. It will be lengthy, but it won't be so big that we can't take on the fight."
And McDaniel says his good start is all in favor of a few good men.
"I have to thank Mike Beebe for leaving this place better than he found it. And thank you to Mark Pryor for leaving it better than he found it. I truly believe that I am inheriting the best attorney generals office in at least ten years."
And as he looks at the walls of his predecessors, he's reminded of a quote from former attorney general and U.S. President, Bill Clinton.
"He said Dustin being the attorney general was the greatest job...I didn't have to appoint anybody, I didn't have to disappoint anybody, and if anything went wrong you could blame it on the constitution. I'm sticking to that."
McDaniel tells us that while he may be in Little Rock, he will always call Region 8 home and says he welcomes calls from anyone in the area.