MOUNT VERNON — Prosecutor Dave Yost, candidate for Ohio attorney general, was the guest speaker at the Knox County Republican Women’s Club luncheon Thursday. He spoke on many hard issues facing Ohio’s future, and its criminal justice system. Yost also spoke about his career and his purpose for running for attorney general.
“I really believe that the Republican Party’s strength is among its women’s organizations,” said Yost. “Everywhere I go during campaigns, it seems the ladies are the ones that are out there doing the hard work and heavy lifting of politics. I want to say on behalf of all that you do, ‘thank you.’ I am delighted to see more women running for office and winning.”
Yost did not start his career as a prosecutor, but as a newspaper reporter.
“I went back home to Delaware County after college, and people would say, ‘Dave, you are out of college, what are you doing now?’ I would say, ‘Well, I’m a reporter for a daily newspaper.’ And they would say, ‘You’re a member of the liberal news media. We had such high hopes for you, Dave.’”
After his career in the media field, he wanted something more fulfilling in the way of a career.
“I decided to better myself in the world, so I went to law school and graduated from Capital University Law School,” said Yost. “And people would say, ‘Dave, what are you doing now? We see your newspaper closed.’ And I would tell them, ‘I’m a lawyer now and I practice law here in town.’ People would say, ‘You are a lawyer? We had such high hopes for you, Dave.’”
He practiced law in the private sector for many years, and said he understands the concerns and welfare of private businesses.
“I worked for a living and had to keep other people working for a living, and I understand what that is about,” he said. “In my initial law practice I was managing partner in the firm, and we had to make payroll. I know what it means to sign a payroll on ‘the front.’”
But after practicing law for a while, he said he took a greater step and ran for office as prosecuting attorney for Delaware County.
“To me, being prosecutor has been a great honor and privilege in my life. I’ve been able to work on a number of very important cases that have made a difference in people’s lives,” said Yost. “We’ve prosecuted mortgage fraud, rapists, child molesters and child pornographers. It is really something to get up in the beginning of the day to go to work and be able to do justice — put the bad guys away — and that is one of the reasons why I’m running for Ohio Attorney General.”
One of the goals Yost has is to bring more resources to the state crime lab so it can be more proficient in its ability to get information for a case in a timely manner.
“... When we have to rely on the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the state crime lab, to do our DNA test, we wait for months,” he said. “Sometimes up to six to seven months to get an DNA test back [and also] for fingerprints and fiber analysis. ... We are typically in trial by three or four months, and sometimes when we go to trial we don’t have forensic evidence that jury want to see. So one of the things that we will be looking at, the team that I will take to the attorney general’s office, is how do we get back to the days of Betty Montgomery, who was very pro law enforcement, and get these tests done. First things first — law at the attorney generals office is first and foremost a law enforcement agency.”
Another issue on Yost’s agenda is changing the business environment in the state.
“...Our tax structure, our regularity structure and our education in this state does not make it conducive for businesses to want to locate here, to make things here, to employ people, and how successful people are really driven out of the state,” he said. “And there are some things the attorney general can do that ... play into that.
“The point is, the attorney general office is not the place to drive public policy by litigation, and litigation is not some political blood sport, in spite of way it is treated by many attorney generals we’ve had here in Ohio,” he continued. “I want to change that. I want to bring the attorney general’s office back to sense of proportionality, back to its original mission of law enforcement and representing the state of Ohio.”
Yost believes in building up the state to make it a livable place where job opportunities are available, a place where people can raise their families and earn an honest living, and where citizens can make a difference.
“I’m not your hope and I’m not going to give you hope, but I am going to say that the people I see here today and the people I’ve seen around Ohio gives me hope; that is our future. Our best days are still ahead of us,” said Yost.
Yost said his well-rounded career has allowed him to bring a different point of view to his position as prosecuting attorney, a view he hopes to bring to the Ohio Attorney General position.
“I bring a different point of view to the office. I’ve been in the private sector, done the difficult work of management, and am formed by a conservative point of view that believes people, not government, are the answer,” he said.