Anderson said he has focused on local newspapers in order to address the questions and concerns of voters in a more in-depth manner.
“In 30-second blips, anybody can look great,” he said.
Anderson has stopped by newspaper offices ranging from The Huntsville Times to The Dothan Eagle in the last few days.
If elected, Anderson said his first goal is to bring a sense of integrity to the position he is seeking.
“I want to run this office like Bill Baxley did,” he said.
Anderson included copies of his 2007 and 2008 tax returns in a press packet he distributed to state newspapers. Anderson also mentioned he served a five-year term on the Alabama Ethics Commission starting in 1986.
Anderson said he plans to support and promote drug and mental health courts. He said these programs, if operated correctly, can offer a second chance for many non-violent, first-time offenders.
“I don’t want to spend all of my time putting people in jail,” he said.
Luther Strange, the Republican candidate for Alabama attorney general, said he would look to local judges for guidance as to the effectiveness of drug and mental health courts.
Anderson said his level of experience sets him apart from Strange. In his press packet, Anderson included a printout of cases in which each candidate was involved. Anderson is happy to point out that he is listed among 2,560 cases while Strange is listed in seven.
Anderson said, in litigation such as the suits filed against BP for the April 20 oil spill, his level of experience will be imperative.
“They (BP’s legal representation) need to know they will be dealing with someone who this isn’t their first rodeo,” he said.
Strange reminded voters that he and Anderson both have 30 years of law experience. Though Anderson has tried more cases, Strange said his law experience is much broader.
In general, Strange said attorneys rarely litigate cases themselves, but instead manage teams of lawyers to represent the people of their states. Strange said, in that area, he is more qualified than Anderson.
“All he talks about is me and his experience,” Strange said.
Strange said that, unlike Anderson, he plans to pursue a case against the federal government over the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
Anderson said the election for attorney general, like many state races, is plagued with associations with federal politics.
“This office has nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi,” he said about the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who is unpopular among most Republicans.
Anderson said he is the candidate for people who say they vote for the man, not the party.
Strange said his main goals for the office are to clean up public corruption and to provide local law enforcement agencies with the support they need. He also said he will put an emphasis on establishing child advocacy centers in counties like Walker County.
Both candidates said they intend to establish a better working relationship between the attorney general’s office and local district attorneys.
Anderson is a seventh-generation Montgomery native. He attended Huntingdon College with a basketball scholarship and Cumberland School of Law with a leadership scholarship. In 1979, he began practicing law with the Montgomery firm HIll, Hill, Carter, Franco, Cole & Black. He co-founded his current firm Beers, Anderson, Jackson, Patty & Fawal in 1988.
Anderson also served as president of the Board of Bar Commissioners and taught at Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery.
With his youngest child about to enter college, Anderson said he chose the race for Attorney General rather than a mid-life crisis.
“Instead of getting a hairpiece and a sports car I ran for office,” he joked.
Strange was raised in Sylacauga and then in Hoover. His father worked at the Gaston Steam Plant in Wilsonville. He attended Tulane University through a basketball scholarship. He also worked as a Merchant Marine before attending law school.
Strange was recognized as one of the “best lawyers” by Birmingham Magazine. Strange was also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006.