L.A. District Attorney Candidates Debate
The race for the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney will garner national attention. It will decide who runs the largest local prosecutorial agency in the United States, one that is grappling with justice policies for homelessness, mental health care, policing and public safety.
It’s also the latest in a series of elections around the country in which reform candidates have run on a platform that says prosecutors need to shift from the traditional tough-on-crime approach to one focused on keeping people out of prison. Reformers have been elected in Chicago, Philadelphia and, most recently, San Francisco.
Now, the spotlight is on Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Jan. 29, KPCC and the Los Angeles Times brought together DA Jackie Lacey and her two challengers—former San Francisco DA George Gascón and former public defender Rachel Rossi—for a discussion and debate at the Aratani Theatre on the campus of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in downtown LA.
KPCC senior politics reporter Libby Denkmann and LA Times editorial writer Robert Greene moderated the debate. The primary is March 3; the debate came just a few days before early voting begins on Feb. 3. The discussion was designed to help voters better understand each candidate and informed in part by questions from members of the community.