Interview with Pat Condon, candidate for Lancaster County Attorney
Condon is the incumbent in the race and running against State Senator Adam Morfeld
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - 10/11′s Bayley Bischof sat down with Pat Condon about his run for Lancaster County Attorney. Here’s the full interview:
Bayley Bischof, 10/11 NOW: If there’s a viewer out there who doesn’t know anything about you, what would you want them to know before they vote?
Pat Condon, running for Lancaster County Attorney: I was born and raised on a farm in Iowa. I’ve been married to my wife Carol for 29 years. We have two daughters. I have been working here in Lancaster County Attorney’s Office for the last 32 years and it’s been job that’s been my passion and and something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing.
Bayley Bischof: Why do you want to continue being county attorney?
Pat Condon: It goes to the service of this community to keep this community and protect the individuals in this community. As I said, it’s been a passion of mine. The job is working with the law enforcement and the other individuals in my office; it’s a wonderful job. I want to continue to work to keep the community safe and keep the people of Lincoln and Lancaster County safe.
Bayley Bischof: Your website and your ads all kind of really pushed your level of experience in this position. Can you give some more background on what that experience has been?
Pat Condon: Yes, my experience was back to you know, even in law school. I was in the Douglas County Attorney’s office when I was in law school. After law school, I found my way out to Hall County. I was in the Hall County Attorney’s Office for two years out there. Then I came here to Lincoln in 1990 and I worked for Mike Hamilton and then Gary Lacey. Then Joe Kelly, I was 20 years as a deputy county attorney and then under Joe Kelly, I was his chief deputy for seven years. Then I’ve been in the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office for the last five years and again, like Gary and Joe, Don Klein, this has been my my passion and what I want to do.
Bayley Bischof: What are your priorities when you’re making prosecution decisions every day?
Pat Condon: You know, the priority is always the safety of this community and again, making sure that we are doing all that we can do and working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that we are keeping this community safe and that we are fairly prosecuting and fairly enforcing the laws for everyone in Lincoln in Lancaster County,
Bayley Bischof: Your opponent, Adam Morfeld, I interviewed him a couple of days ago. He said he wants to focus on public safety by prioritizing and putting the most resources toward violent crime and not focusing on things like minor drug offenses or other non-violent crimes. Is this different from your approach? What do you think about that strategy?
Pat Condon: I don’t think it’s that different from my approach in the sense that my approach has always been the safety and security of Lincoln and Lancaster County. Focus is always going to be on violent crimes and individuals involved in the violent crimes. The difference is what the terms of the minor drug offense - what is a minor drug offense? We had just a stop yesterday or the day before with 13 pounds of fentanyl. One tablet of Fentanyl can kill several individuals. Is that a minor possession? You know that’s the thing that we look at, what’s a term for a non-violent crime? If you have somebody who has embezzled millions of dollars, the victim of that crime may not feel that it is a non-violent crime, because now, you know, they are left with nothing, much the same as if they were robbed. So I think, you know, that’s the difference between my opponent and I is that I believe we should prosecute all crimes. That’s what I’ve done and what I will continue to do.
Bayley Bischof: Right now in Lincoln, we are seeing an increase in homicides and looking at other crimes this year, violent crimes tend to be down, but weapons offenses and homicides are up. Just what do you think about public safety in Lincoln right now?
Pat Condon: I mean, Lincoln generally is a safe place, I think we have seen increases in violent crime and homicides and things of that nature. I think that’s driven a lot by the gangs and the drugs that we’ve seen an increase in. I think that’s, again, something that we have continued to work with our law enforcement partners to, to really work to deal with those problems with the gang problems with the drug problems. I think it also goes a little bit to this attitude of, you know, defunding the police, and taking a position of, you know, not respecting law enforcement and what they do. I think that that’s problematic.
Bayley Bischof: Also, in many of these, the homicides that we’ve had this year have been targeted, and the police chief has really pushed on the fact that they were targeted, they were not random, and those are harder to prevent. Is there anything more that can be done to prevent crimes like that?
Pat Condon: Well, that’s true, they were targeted. Again, I think a lot of that goes back to individuals that, you know, are involved in gangs that are involved in, in drugs and that’s why we’re seeing that. I think, again, if we can work, and I will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to battle those those types of issues, the gangs and the drugs that we see in Lincoln and Lancaster County.
Bayley Bischof: I’ve interviewed you about the subject of prison reform before - just jail and capacity numbers, just how does that factor into the decisions you make when prosecuting, given that we are in an overcrowding emergency?
Pat Condon: Well, I think you know, and, again, we have talked about this, and I appreciate the conversation we’ve had, I don’t believe that prison, the capacity of the jail or prison overcrowding should ever be a consideration when deciding what to charge. The legislature makes these laws, the legislature sets the penalties for these laws, including jail, and prison. So that is not anything that we consider when we decide what to charge. Now, that being said, I am acutely aware of that in there are things that we have done and again, things that we have talked about in the fashion of our problem solving courts in our diversion programs that we have enacted, that I have enacted, that allow people to remain in the community and to remain productive members of this community and avoid going to jail in prison and avoid the cost to society of doing that by being involved in these programs that I’ve started and that we have in Lancaster County.
Bayley Bischof: We’ve heard you mentioned in town halls, this election cycle that if abortion or if same sex marriage were to be made illegal, both are legal, right now, within certain requirements that you said you would enforce those laws. This is something your opponent said he would not do. Just what is your stance on that?
Pat Condon: I think you know, it’s really difficult to get involved in the answering of hypothetical questions because we don’t know what it’s going to be. I don’t anticipate that happening here in Lancaster County, in the state of Nebraska. It wouldn’t just be in Lancaster County, it would be a state statute that the legislature would have to look at and I don’t see that happening here in in the state of Nebraska. Again, though, I focus on enforcing all the laws. I don’t focus on picking the crimes that I’m not going to enforce as my opponent seems to do. He likes to tell you what he’s not going to enforce and I guess the question is, what other crimes is he not going to enforce? And, and I look to follow the statute in my oath of enforcing the laws of the state of Nebraska.
Bayley Bischof: That’s just one example of many things that have gone on social media that’s made this a pretty contentious race between you and your opponent. There’s pretty aggressive ads on both sides and there’s been social media posts with disparaging posters being hung up. Just why do you think that this has been a contentious race? What message do you think that sends to voters?
Pat Condon: I think if you look at at least my campaign, my campaign has been positive throughout. My campaign has not been responsible for any of the negative things that have been brought up on social media or TV or anything. That has not been my my campaign. My campaign has been focused on it. The comments that my opponent has made in public and his record that he has and that’s what it has been and that’s what it will continue to be. I’ll continue to promote the positive aspects of what I have done as Lancaster County Attorney and what I will continue to do as your Lancaster County Attorney.
Bayley Bischof: How are you feeling a couple of weeks out from from that big day, election day?
Pat Condon: Well, I’m feeling good. I think we’re doing real well. We’re going to be out canvassing again this week. We’re talking to people, we like the message that we’re hearing from the individuals in this community and I’m going to continue working through election day to make sure we get everybody out to vote that we can and get that vote out and hopefully have their support on November 8.
For more on candidates in the general election, visit 10/11′s 2022 Nebraska General Election Voter’s Guide.
Copyright 2022 KOLN. All rights reserved.