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Drew Edmondson's Legacy

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Drew Edmondson, an Oklahoma native and the current Attorney General of his home state, was re-elected a record four times. He decided to shoot for the governor's office most recently, but was defeated by Republican Mary Fallin.

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Drew Edmondson’s Legacy
By Donna McGill


When Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson opted not to run for another term, he knew he’d be passing on the torch of a
years-long battle with poultry companies, including Tyson Foods, to whoever his successor would be. His goal was to keep at least
thirteen poultry companies from polluting Oklahoma’s waters. Learn more about the AG Edmondson and what his plans are now that
he’s looking forward to days out of the AG’s office.




                        Drew Edmondson, an Oklahoma native           companies named in the lawsuit. Pruitt has assured the media
                        and the current Attorney General of his      and his supporters that he will approach it with fairness in
                        home state, was re-elected a record          mind.
                        four times. He decided to shoot for the
                        governor’s office most recently, but was     Edmondson also joined with at least fourteen Republican
                        defeated by Republican Mary Fallin.          Attorney Generals when they came together in late 2009 to
                        While his time in office wasn’t without      question President Obama’s health care reform legislation.
                        controversy, he made his mark with           They questioned the constitutionality as well as the provisions
                        many positive changes for his state.         in the Senate’s version of the bill. Further, he reiterated
                        One of those efforts includes an on-         his support if and when lawsuits were filed, specifically
                        going lawsuit in which he sought to stop     any that included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s deal
                        poultry producers from dumping waste         with Nebraska. The agreement would give Nebraska certain
into the Illinois River watershed. After years, at least five at     exemptions from Medicaid expansions that would cost the
this point, of court battles, in 2009, a federal appeals court       federal government (read: taxpayers) more than $100,000
agreed to hear arguments. Edmondson named 13 poultry                 over the next decade.
companies, all out of Arkansas, in his lawsuit.
                                                                     So what’s in story for Edmondson now? It’s likely he will go
His claims included they were polluting the water and said           into private practice, which is what he was doing prior to
Tyson Foods was one of the biggest contributors to this              entering the political arena in the mid 1990s. He remains
pollution. Each winter and spring, these companies continued         a member in good standing with the Oklahoma state bar,
to dump massive amounts of animal waste (this is when                the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council and also served as
they cleaned out thousands of poultry houses) and with               President for the National Association of Attorneys General
each passing year, Edmondson insisted it was only growing            between 2002 and 2003.
worse. Each year, too, summer would follow, complete with
swimmers, skiers and campers. Unfortunately, the cases               He will continue to live with his wife in Muskogee, Oklahoma
remain unresolved. The new AG, Scott Pruitt, is already raising      and says he looks forward to taking a step out of the spotlight
questions since it’s come to light his acceptance of thousands       for a while. Those who know him, however, say it’s not likely
of dollars in campaign funds from several of the poultry             he’ll remain out of that light for long.




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