ON THE HILL: DC Attorney General candidate Brian Schwalb shares what he hopes to accomplish if elected

FOX 5 D.C.'s On The Hill program is hosting candidates running for the District's Attorney General. As part of the series, candidate Brian Schwalb spoke to Tom Fitzgerald Sunday morning to explain why he is running in the race and what he hopes to accomplish if elected.

Tom started the conversation with Brian Schwalb by asking him why he wants to run for D.C. Attorney General. Schwalb responded that his love for the District and creating equitable opportunity across the city drove him to run.

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"I love this city. It's a city of great promise and future. I talk to people all over the city and what I hear is they're proud to be Washingtonians. We don't have a resource problem in Washington, we've got great human talent, and financial talent, natural beauty. We just don't share those resources fairly and equitably across our city. And the resources that create opportunity for people, therefore, are not shared equally. I think the law in the hands of the right lawyers, the right advocates, is the single most powerful tool we have to address that gap in equity and opportunity," Schwalb told FOX 5.

Tom Fitzgerald also asked Schwalb about the role of the District's Attorney General compared to the U.S. Attorney General. Schwalb said that while the U.S. Attorney General prosecute adult crime, the District's AG is in charge of juvenile crime. Schwalb said it is important to focus on rehabilitation when it comes to kids who commit crimes.

"There's no question that as a prosecutor, particularly for repeat violent offenders, that the law has to hold people accountable for when they break the law. But for young people, the focus is also on rehabilitating, making sure that young people get the right resources and the help they need so that they don't recidivate. Because when young people don't recidivate, we're all safer," Schwalb explained. 

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He went on to say that younger people who commit crimes need to be given a chance to correct the mistakes they make. 

"Everybody who has raised kids or knows kids that kids, particularly teenagers, are pushing out against limits, they're taking risks, that's part of how we grow and we individuate. Kids need to be able to make mistakes in safe places, and for too many kids they don't have safe places to make mistakes," said Schwalb. "Sometimes things like truancy and getting into trouble are warning signs that kids need some resources so that we can keep them away from the criminal justice system. When they start to brush up against the system we think about diverting them, giving them other ways to keep them out of a school to prison pipeline, which we know doesn't make us safer as a community."

Tom Fitzgerald also asked Schwalb about another key issue impacting the District, the rise of guns being brought into the city.

Schwalb explained that "there's no question, we've got a porous border in the District of Columbia. We've got way too many guns in our city. Guns not only coming in across the border, but we have guns being made on 3D printers and ghost guns and internet guns. As Attorney General, we need to do everything we can collectively to address the amount guns. And it is coordination with our federal partners and state, Virginia, Maryland, partners. But it's also realizing that as hard as we try to keep guns out of our city, they're coming into our city. So, we need to also focus on keeping people away from guns."

Finally, Schwalb discussed how he plans to handle the relationship between the AG's Office and the Mayor's Office, which has been strained in years past. Schwalb replied that it is important for the newly elected AG to both keep a good relationship with the Mayor, while also holding government officials accountable when needed.

"Everyone one of us who lives and works in D.C., or pays taxes in D.C., deserves a government that works. And having an Attorney General's Office that works with the Mayor's Office and the agencies is essential. So we need to reset the relationship, we need to make sure that the independent Attorney General is doing the law work, which is advising the agencies and defending the agencies and being a real attorney to the government. But an independent AG also has to stand up and hold our government accountable, and that's why it's such a hard job."

You can watch the full interview above.

FOX 5 has also previously spoken to candidate Ryan Jones. You can see that interview here.


Make sure to tune into On The Hill every Sunday morning on FOX 5, starting at 8:30 a.m.