ROB McKenna leaves office as state attorney general after eight years of impressive service.
That included leading a nationwide charge against sex trafficking and child prostitution. McKenna, as president of the National Association of Attorneys General, wielded the organization’s considerable influence to pressure Village Voice Media to get rid of prostitution ads featuring underage girls on its online website, Backpage.com.
The multimedia company spun off Backpage.com, a partial solution that would not have occurred without the pressure of McKenna and his colleagues.
McKenna also worked to tighten state law on sex offenders, fought illegal drug use, including methamphetamine, and negotiated settlements with predatory mortgage companies.
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One of his responsibilities was to represent the state at the U.S. Supreme Court. People remember the Obamacare case because opponents made an issue of it in his unsuccessful campaign for governor. Though he signed onto the case, McKenna did not bring that case or argue it himself. But, in three cases, he did.
Most notably, in Washington v. Washington State Republican Party et al (2008), McKenna defended the state’s top-two primary election system against an action brought by his own party. The high court’s 7-2 ruling protected the right of voters not to be confined to one party’s slate of candidates, and the right of candidates to label themselves.
McKenna also kept the pressure on the federal government to clean up the Hanford nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington, by leading a multijurisdictional lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over its decision to unilaterally cancel the a long-term waste repository in Nevada.
In all, a fine record.