In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Andrew Warren
Office: State Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit
- State Attorney for Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit: 2017-current.
- Federal prosecutor with U.S. Department of Justice: 2008-2016.
- Associate at Latham & Watkins LLP practicing complex criminal and civil litigation, 2004-2007; 2002-2003.
- Federal law clerk to Hon. Samuel Conti, Northern District of California, 2003-2004
Why should voters vote for you?
Over the last 4 years, we’ve modernized Hillsborough’s criminal justice system by reforming the way we prosecute crime, targeting violent crime and repeat offenders, and steering low-level, non-violent, and juvenile offenders away from a life of crime so they can be law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. The results speak for themselves. We’ve implemented numerous innovative reforms, seen a 22% decrease in crime, and saved millions of dollars for taxpayers. I’m asking for 4 more years to build on the work we’ve done and continue our progress making our neighborhoods safer while promoting justice and fairness for everyone.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
My top priority for my next term is to build on the criminal justice reform policies we’ve implemented, such as by expanding our civil citation programs. Another top priority is to create a juvenile accountability program either based on a mentorship or restorative justice model.
Additionally, we are looking to find new avenues for addressing racial injustice by creating a race & prosecution working group, improving hiring of minority prosecutors, and analyzing sentencing disparities.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
Reform is up. We’ve changed our local criminal justice system and delivered on the promises I made as a candidate in 2016: from juvenile justice reform, embracing treatment for those suffering from addiction and mental illness, disarming domestic abusers, eliminating poverty traps, creating a Conviction Review Unit, and other innovative policies.
Crime is down – we’ve seen a 22% drop in overall crime since I was elected. We’ve restored fairness and rebuilt the community’s trust: from proactive community engagement to supporting Amendment 4 to transparency with our policies to saving millions of taxpayer dollars by being more efficient.
We’ve made so much progress but we still have work to do. I’ve been honored to serve as your State Attorney and I’m asking for 4 more years to build on our success.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Criminal justice is (obviously) a passion, but I’m also passionate about economic and educational issues. I know that criminal justice doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and economic growth and access to quality education affect the long-term safety of any community.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
While Covid has had a detrimental impact on our families, businesses, and schools, it’s also changed the way we prosecute crime. We’ve adapted by working with judges, the Public Defender, and the Clerk of Courts to continue prosecuting crime while protecting the health of victims, our staff, witnesses, and defendants from Covid.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
I think it’s very important that we have an honest conversation about the historic racism in our justice system and the ways we can promote equality. We have taken many steps to address racism and inequality.
For example, we have worked diligently to protect the rights of peaceful protestors when they exercise their rights under the first amendment while protecting public safety by prosecuting those who would hijack this movement to destroy, loot, or riot.
Also, we entered into a groundbreaking partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, Florida International University, and Loyola University (Chicago) to measure and address racial disparities in prosecutorial decision-making.
A third example is that we are currently working with the NAACP and other grass-roots organizations to address racial injustice by creating a race & prosecution working group, improving hiring of minority prosecutors, and analyzing sentencing disparities.
What motivates you to run for public office?
My daughters inspire me every day to work for the people of Hillsborough County and to shape criminal justice around our state and country. I want my family and every family to have a safe community to live, work, and play, and I want them to know that I was an agent of change as this country has reformed its criminal justice system.
We’ve made a lot of progress these last 4 years. Crime is down 22%, victims have an advocate working for them, and our communities have the transparency and access they deserve. I look forward to continuing our work to create a safer, stronger Hillsborough, and I would be humbled to have your vote and support.