INDIANAPOLIS — Saying that Indiana’s attorney general should be an advocate for Hoosiers, Democratic state Sen. Karen Tallian announced Wednesday that she is jumping into the race.

Tallian, of Ogden Dunes in the northwest corner of the state, took a shot at the current attorney general, Curtis Hill, saying that “he has not brought integrity and reason to this office.”

The Valparaiso University Law School graduate said that the state’s top lawyer should be an advocate for citizens instead of filing lawsuits that take away the legal rights of Hoosiers.

“The Attorney General’s office should not be trying to promote a right-wing agenda to overturn healthcare for pre-existing conditions and take away the ability for Hoosiers to have affordable insurance coverage,” Tallian said in a news release announcing her candidacy.

Tallian, the caucus chair for Senate Democrats, has been in office since 2005 and was re-elected to another four-year term last November. She is the ranking minority member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Democrat delegate on the state Budget Committee and serves on the Pensions and Labor and Environmental Affairs committees.

She has also advocated for the reform of marijuana laws and has repeatedly offered bills to decriminalize marijuana possession and to allow medical use.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said other candidates have been considering running for attorney general but could not release those names.

“We need to get that office back to its mission,” Zody said, “which is to be an advocate for Hoosiers.”

The attorney general nominees for Democrats and Republicans will be chosen at party conventions next summer.

Hill, who is finishing his first term as attorney general, has not announced whether he will run for re-election. He faces calls from leaders of both parties, including Gov. Eric Holcomb, to resign over allegations that he groped four women — three legislative staff members and one member of the House — at a post-legislative session party in March 2018.

Investigations by the state’s inspector general and an independent prosecutor determined that Hill may have engaged in bad behavior, but there were no grounds for further action.

Meanwhile, the women have filed a lawsuit against Hill and the state alleging that they have been discriminated against as a result of their raising complaints about the attorney general’s behavior at the 2018 gathering.

In addition, Hill is facing a hearing in October before the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, which accused him of committing both felony-level and misdemeanor battery while acting “with the selfish motive to arouse his sexual desires.” Hill, a former Elkhart County prosecutor, could face the loss of his license to practice law, which could cost him his office.

Hill, who has denied the allegations against him, faces opposition for the Republican nomination from John Westercamp of Zionsville. He announced his campaign June 27 at the downtown Indianapolis law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans where he is an attorney. Westercamp, in his announcement, said his focus is on pro-life issues.

Lacey Watt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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