Term: 4 years

Salary: $100,000

QUESTION: Explain how you interpret the attorney general's responsibility to protect and inform consumers, and what would you specifically do?

Vote for one:

Edward L. Blanton Jr. (Republican)

J. Joseph Curran Jr. (Democrat)

Edward L. Blanton Jr. (R)

5025 Long Green Rd., Glen Arm

Age: 59

Partner and lawyer, Blanton & McCleary, 1972-present; assistant attorney general of Maryland, 1965-68; initiated Consumer Protection Division; chairman, Hughes Subcommittee to Revise State Income Tax; chairman, Subcommittee to Revise State Election Laws; chairman, Citizen Advisory Committee of Hickey Training School for youth offenders; former counsel, Maryland Industrial Financing Authority, State Fiscal Research Bureau, Bank Commission; active in United Christian Citizens, Exchange Club, Presbyterian Church.

A. I established the Consumer Protection Division in 1966 and drafted the legislation that made it a permanent fixture in the State Law Department in 1967. The staff I assembled to assist in the investigation of a conspiracy between small loan companies and used-car dealers to violate the Maryland Retail Installment Sales Act remained after our work was finished and became the staff of the division. It is the responsibility of the attorney general to make certain that: a) fraud and deceptive practices are exposed and, when appropriate, prosecuted, and b) legitimate business does not lose market share to unscrupulous competitors. To protect the consumer fully, the attorney general, through the Securities Division, should: halt the sale of junk bonds to banks and savings institutions; halt the sale of worthless insurance policies; and assume the role of advocate before the Public Service Commission in utility rate cases.

J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D)

5203 Springlake Way, Baltimore

Age: 59


Attorney general of Maryland, 1987-present; lieutenant governor, 1983-87; Maryland state senator, 1963-82; Maryland House of Delegates, 1958-62; chairman, National Association of Attorneys General Insurance Committee; member, committees for consumer protection and criminal law; chairman, numerous task forces, including those on the drinking driver, the insanity defense, victims' services, medical malpractice insurance; chairman, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee for 16 years; grew up in Baltimore; received undergraduate and law degrees from University of Baltimore; married; five children.

A. As attorney general, I have and would continue to pursue two primary objectives through my Consumer Protection Division: to educate the public and to enforce Maryland's consumer protection laws. That is, I believe, the best way to assure a fair market place. There are some who will attempt to take advantage, for example, those who now offer "miracle" energy saving devices. Then there are life crises that can require difficult decision-making that can be overwhelming, such as placing a loved one in a nursing home. These are but two of the many areas in which I have worked hard to educate the public. I would expand our educational efforts to expose our young people to the skills they will need to be wise consumers. At the same time, our enforcement efforts must continue, because deceptive practices cannot be tolerated. The victims are both the consuming public and honest businesses.