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In Montana, Mercer Reflects On Tenure, Cotter Lays Out Goals
Posted By Stephanie Woodrow On January 11, 2010 @ 12:48 pm In News | Comments Disabled
Outgoing Montana U.S. Attorney Bill Mercer says his time in public service has led him to one conclusion — never again, The Great Falls Tribune reported  yesterday. He told the newspaper, “After 21 years of public service, it’s safe to say I won’t be in public service again, but that’s about as much as I want to say about it for now.”
Mercer told The Tribune he’s proud of improvements he made in communication and cooperation between government on the federal and local levels. However, he credited then-Attorney General John Ashcroft with initiating the push. He also cited progress in Indian Country crime issues as a success of his tenure.
As for his successor, Mike Cotter, who was sworn in Dec. 30, Mercer told the newspaper that the incoming prosecutor’s focus likely will be on prescription drug abuse. “The thorniest problem of this decade for Montana is going to be prescription drug abuse,” Mercer said, adding, “It’s shocking the tremendous number of people reporting prescription drug overdose deaths.”
Cotter said his first week as the state’s top federal prosecutor has been a whirlwind of briefings and meetings, adding that the job has a “pretty steep learning curve,” The Independent Record  of Helena, Mont., reports. He joked the learning curve is similar to “drinking water through a fire hose,” the newspaper reported.
Among the issues he cited as priorities are economic crimes, crime in Indian Country and crime against children, The Independent Record reported. Cotter said he will work on goals set forth by the Barack Obama administration in addition to continuing the efforts of Mercer, The Associated Press  reports.
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