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Libertarian Candidate Promises Law Enforcement Changes In Wisconsin’s AG Race

Nelson's Proposals Including Prison Sentencing Changes, Protecting Gun Rights

Photo: Wisconsin Public Television

Media coverage of the race for Wisconsin attorney general has focused almost exclusively on the tight race between Democrat Susan Happ and Republican Brad Schimel, but there’s also a Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot.

The candidate, Madison attorney Tom Nelson, said his top priority is cutting the state’s prison population. To accomplish that, if elected, Nelson said he’ll encourage local prosecutors to use their discretion before seeking long sentences for non-violent drug crimes.

“They act like salesman. Every case is taken in. Every possible charge is raised and prosecuted and they always go for maximum penalties,” he said. “And they do a pretty good job of it. That’s why our crime rate is so low. But, that’s also why … our prisons are overflowing and why it’s costing a vast fortune to operate them.”

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Nelson said that during his 24 years as an attorney, he’s seen too many people sent to prison who don’t belong there. He said if elected, he’ll advocate for adopting policies like those in Minnesota, which has half has many inmates and spends half as much money running its prisons.

“In Minnesota, they do so much vastly better job of enforcing the law and doing it economically,” he said. “And at the same time, they’re not destroying as many people by making ex-cons and felons out of them. And yet, Minnesota is as safe as Wisconsin is.”

Nelson promises also to be true to his libertarian principles by trying to shrink the size of the state Justice Department.

As a life-long member of the NRA, he said he’ll also defend Second Amendment gun rights by opposing efforts to pass universal background checks on private gun sales.

He added that he’ll also use the office to hold police accountable when they use their guns to kill a suspect. He said he’ll strictly enforce the state’s new law requiring outside investigations when officers use deadly force.