The two candidates running to be Iowa’s attorney general for the next four years agree that drugs are bringing misfortune to many Iowans, but they offer different views on how to address the problem.

Republican candidate Brenna Bird says President Biden should secure the southern border to stop the flow of illegal drugs like meth and fentanyl. “We are seeing a ruralization of drugs where it is coming out of the big cities into the countryside and it is devastating,” Bird says. “Many of our crimes are related to drugs and those who are burglarizing and seeking funds for drugs.”

Democrat Tom Miller says one reason he’s seeking an 11th term as attorney general is to finish work on the national settlement with opioid makers. “We’re in the process of recovering $225 million dollars for Iowa in there,” Miller says. “…What we want to do is really make effective use of that in two areas. One is in prevention, cutting down the prescriptions, and the other is in treatment.”

President Biden has announced he intends to pardon people convicted in federal court of marijuana possession and Biden urged governors to consider doing the same for marijuana possession convictions at the state level. Miller says “maybe” Governor Reynolds should consider pardons in a “select number” of marijuana possession cases.

“I think additionally the governor should consider pardons in the area of opioids,” Miller says, “particularly those people that went in for surgery, got a prescription for 30 days and had no idea of the risk they were taking.”

Bird isn’t offering advice on whether there should be pardons for some marijuana possession convictions.

“The question of whether someone should be pardoned or not, that’s up to the president when it’s federal and that’s up to the governor when it’s a state issue,” Bird says.

The candidates made their comments during a debate on KCCI in Des Moines.