Ramsey opposed to electing AG

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he’s opposed to a plan on its way to the Senate floor requiring the elections of the state’s top lawyer.

Ramsey said he should have shared his sentiment with lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee before the measure passed Tuesday, but didn’t realize the group would take it up so soon in the session, let alone let it emerge from committee.

“Bottom line, raising money for statewide election would end up tainting attorney general,” Ramsey told reporters Thursday. “But I do think the way we do it now is wrong.”

The measure to elect the attorney general won a 6-2 vote in the committee this week. The proposal would attempt to amend the state constitution, an endeavor that has a long way to go, including needing approval from two General Assemblies before it could be put to a voter referendum in 2018.

Ramsey said he’d rather the legislature appoint the attorney general, per a bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, which won favor 22-9 last year in the Senate.

For now, Attorney General Bob Cooper’s term is up Sept. 1 when the state Supreme Court is charged with making an appointment. That selection could mean renewing Cooper or appointing someone new. Ramsey said the court should eventually replace him with a Republican.

“I would think that the attorney general should more closely reflect the elected representative body of the state,” said Ramsey.