District attorneys wield substantial power, including discretion over general law enforcement priorities, what criminal cases are prosecuted, which cases are dismissed or never pursued, whether bail is requested for defendants, and what punishments the state requests, among other responsibilities.
The DA is directed, by law, to protect the rights of the accused. Their selection often impacts civil rights, racial justice, police practices, treatment of immigrants, drug policy, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental policy, and other vital concerns.
These responsibilities give DAs power to either enable or block the realization of core Unitarian Universalist (UU) values, like justice, equity and compassion in human relations, and honoring the inherent worth of all people. The DA handles key decisions that often perpetuate racial injustice, systemic oppression of the poor, and marginalize LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities but the office also can be crucial to achieving positive reforms.
Despite their importance, DA election races typically generate minimal media attention, and many voters choose whether to cast a vote and for whom based only on party identification and name recognition. This combination of high influence on key justice issues and modest media attention makes DA races an excellent prospect for local congregations and groups to spotlight key issues.
This resource will help congregations and community partners craft candidate surveys, and includes a video of UU the Vote Campaign Manager JaZahn Hicks discussing why this electoral resource is so important.