ELKHART — Indianapolis attorney John Westercamp stopped in Elkhart on Thursday to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for state attorney general, a seat held by former Elkhart County prosecutor Curtis Hill, who has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election.
Westercamp made his announcement at the Lex 530 Metropolitan Event Center. Elkhart was Westercamp’s second stop after Indianapolis.
Before his remarks, Westercamp was introduced by state Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, before a small crowd of local residents and media members.
Westercamp, 30, is a lawyer at the Indianapolis firm Bose McKinney & Evans and calls himself a “pro-life, principled, conservative Hoosier.”
During his speech, he said his decision to run for attorney general was a calling.
“Over the last six months, I’ve explored running for attorney general,” he said. “I’ve visited 42 different counties … I’ve spoken with Hoosier voters and sought to learn their mind and benefit from their advice.”
The new leadership of the Office of the Attorney General, Westercamp said, should bring a private-sector perspective to the office both to improve government services and state representation.
Regarding his pro-life policies, Westercamp said the federal courts have misread the Constitution and created a constitutional right to abortion that isn’t in the text of the constitution.
“As attorney general, I would defend Indiana’s right to protect all life,” Westercamp said. “No life is safe as long as any life is threatened. The court’s holding is effectively a writ of death on the most vulnerable in society that should have no place in our republic. It further offends our enduring commitment to the principle of self-government.”
Too often, he said, federal bureaucrats from Washington formulate a “one size fits all” policy that applies to all states and exceeds the federal government’s constitutional jurisdiction.
“As attorney general, I would vigorously resist these encroachments on states’ rights and Hoosier rights.”
During his tour of the state, Westercamp said one of the biggest issues he’s heard Hoosiers complain about is the overwhelming number of robocalls and Social Security fraud calls they receive. This is a primary reason why many avoid answering their phones unless the call is from a number they recognize.
“Too little has been done to address this issue,” he said. “If elected, I would work with the state to negotiate contracts with telephone providers to reduce the number of robocalls Hoosiers receive on their phones.”
As an attorney, Westercamp focuses on business services, economic development and incentives, and real estate. He acknowledged that he has minimal experience in criminal law, but said he doesn't believe that puts him at a disadvantage to serve as the state attorney general.
"The attorney general is the chief legal officer of the state so it has to deal with a number of legal issues," he said. "While criminal law is an important part of the office, it’s a small part and there’s a lot of other areas that my experience will be beneficial in."
Westercamp is the first candidate to challenge Hill.
The Republican nominee for attorney general will be selected at the state party convention next year.
Wesco said he believes Westercamp would be the best choice as the next attorney general.
“First and foremost, he’s a qualified conservative candidate who’s going to advance constitutional principles and fight for our state,” Wesco said after the news conference. “And secondly he doesn’t have baggage, and I think he is our best conservative shot at Republicans retaining the attorney general office in the General Election.”
Westercamp’s tour was scheduled to continue in Fort Wayne and Evansville.