LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Attorney general-elect Daniel Cameron credits faith and family with getting him through a rugged campaign trail, and now he is ready to faithfully fulfill his responsibilities and “do what’s right on behalf of Kentuckians” who put him in office.
Cameron, who gave an exclusive interview to Kentucky Today on Dec. 3, will be sworn into office on Dec. 17 to fill the term of Andy Beshear, the current AG who becomes governor on Tuesday. Cameron will become the first African American in Kentucky to hold the position of attorney general.
Cameron, a former University of Louisville football player, worked as U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s general counsel and helped push through the nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. He has proposed opening satellite attorney general offices outside of Frankfort and partnering with federal agencies to fight drug trafficking in the state.
During a rally in Lexington the day before the election, Cameron joined Gov. Matt Bevin and McConnell on the stage at Rupp Arena and thanked McConnell, saying the senator “changed the trajectory of my life” by urging him to run for attorney general. “I’m proud to call him a friend, I’m proud to call him a mentor,” he said.
Cameron, who spoke only briefly, also pledged to make sure Kentucky is “never a sanctuary state.”
When Cameron was leaving the stage, President Donald Trump gave him kudos and a prediction: “A star is born.”
It was a ringing endorsement for a 33-year-old with humble beginnings in Hardin County. He grew up in Elizabethtown where his parents owned a small coffee shop. “I often say they were ahead of the Starbucks craze a little bit, but it was a good business for them,” he said of the place where a cross-section of the community would gather daily to talk over issues over a cup of coffee.
“If I wasn’t in there, I was either on the ball fields or in church. Church is part of my upbringing really instilled upon me by my parents — how important a relationship with Christ is.”
Cameron said it was in Baptist churches in the Elizabethtown area where his relationship with Christ began to blossom but, as he went out on his own, it became even stronger.
“But I think where you ultimately really find your faith is when you're out of your parents’ home and…you start to understand what your relationship with Christ is independent of your parents’ walk with Christ.”
Cameron found that independence and spiritual growth attending churches in Louisville and playing football at U of L, where he learned to encourage and be a team player even though he wasn’t a star on the team. The aspect of teamwork made him a stronger person, he said.
Cameron graduated from law school in 2011 and clerked a couple of years for a federal judge before going to Washington, D.C., and working as general counsel for McConnell, which he said, “was a transformative experience.”
He returned to Louisville working at Frost, Brown and Todd and had the opportunity to be a voice on crime in Kentucky while continuing his work with law enforcement around the state. That experience and McConnell’s encouragement provided the impetus to run for public office.
“Ultimately, what gave me the courage and empowered me to run for attorney general was those relationships that I've built across the law enforcement community, and I decided to jump in the race on January 22 of this year,” he said.
However, Cameron credits those who helped with his campaign as he reflected on the difficult journey. Campaigns are hard and exhausting, he said, crediting the encouragement and work of those around him as instrumental in his solid win over political veteran Greg Stumbo.
“I’d be foolish to tout my own abilities, when I know it’s the efforts of so many who made this possible,” Cameron said.
Anticipating his entry into the attorney general’s office, Cameron explained the values that will drive his work. “I just want to do what’s right on behalf of Kentuckians.
“The largest principle for me is that we seek justice in the attorney general's office and that we seek justice without fear of favor — without acknowledgement or being influenced by political affiliation.”
Cameron said three things he wants to accomplish while in the office of attorney general: fight against the drug epidemic, have a meaningful impact against child abuse and expand the presence of the attorney general’s office.
“I look forward to working with folks — whoever — without care of their political affiliation and really wanting to work to confront and to beat back the drug epidemic and to restore the role of the attorney general, the chief law enforcement office, and working closely with our law enforcement community in that endeavor,” he said.
Cameron also spoke about human trafficking as a critical issue.
“We're going to work diligently on the human trafficking front. The issues of human trafficking aren’t apparent to the everyday eye. You don't see it in our communities because we're just not looking out for it but, in the AG’s office, we've got some investigators who have a sense of when those things are going on.”
Cameron looks forward to defending pro-life legislation that passed under the Bevin administration, saying, “it’s something that weighs heavily on my mind and heart. But the number one value for me is to just seek justice and all that we're doing in the AG's office. And I think when we do that, then other things will fall into place.”