Inaugural Remarks

Attorney General Josh Kaul
Monday, January 7, 2019

Thank you. Thank you to my family. Thank you to everybody watching today’s inauguration ceremony. And thank you to my fellow Wisconsinites.


Today’s inauguration takes place in atypical circumstances. 


Last month, the powers of two of our state constitutional offices were diminished after the election for those offices had been held.


That action, unprecedented in Wisconsin, and designed to hinder our ability to do the jobs that the voters elected us to do, will have an impact.


But I want to make clear that, irrespective of the action taken by the lame-duck legislature, the priorities of the Wisconsin Department of Justice are changing. 


We will lead on public-safety issues—and that will include advocating for policies that will make our communities stronger.


We’ll revitalize the environmental protection unit and bolster our consumer protection efforts. 


And we will stand up against the federal government when we need to do so to protect Wisconsinites.


In deciding how to confront the challenges we face, there will be significant, real differences of opinion.


But as we debate the issues, let’s be sure to remember that adherence to the principles of our democracy must take precedence over the policy agendas of the day.  


And let’s also recognize that there are issues that demand our attention—and that our different perspectives can help us address those issues more effectively.


We have to expand on the work that’s been done to address our opioid crisis and rapidly growing meth problem.


We need to work together to pass legislation that will help prevent there from being another backlog of untested rape kits in Wisconsin.


We must ensure that for the first time in a long time, our criminal justice system has the resources it needs to operate effectively across the state of Wisconsin.


And we need to make our schools safer. 


According to an analysis by the Washington Post, in the 2017-2018 school year more than 4 million students went through lockdowns. 


And while I applaud the passage of funding for school safety last year, I am also calling for more action.


I am calling for a red-flag law that will allow law enforcement or family members to go to judge and ensure that somebody who is a threat to themselves or others is temporarily disarmed.


I am calling for universal background checks for firearm purchases.


And I am calling for long-term funding for mental health programs in our schools.


We can work together on these issues, no matter our party, no matter which part of the state we come from.


Let’s work together, and let’s make our communities, our state, and our future safer.


Thank you.