It’s certainly not an office one would typically expect of a successful attorney and candidate for Utah Attorney General. It’s an office situated above Dr. John’s lingerie and adult novelty boutique in Midvale. It’s decorated haphazardly with eclectic prints and mannequins, and I even spotted a QSalt Lake logo on one wall. It’s not an office built to impress, it’s an office where people work, and work hard.
As I enter the office, Andy McCullough comes from behind the reception desk to lead me inside. He’s friendly but professional. His passion for what he does is obvious as we talk.
McCullough has been practicing law for over 40 years, mostly as a defense attorney, helping people “stick it to the man,” he proffers with a smile. He affiliates with the Libertarian Party, and his positions reflect those values. He’s committed to ending the war on drugs, promoting equal treatment for all under the law, and for reversing the growing influence of the police state.
In ways he’s the prototypical Utah candidate — he was raised LDS, he doesn’t drink liquor or coffee, and doesn’t do drugs. Yet, he left the church years ago, having felt ostracized by the faith because he “didn’t fit in.”
He’s realistic enough to realize his candidacy is a long shot; in fact, he holds no illusions about his chances to succeed. That, however, isn’t the point, he says. His point is to change the debate. There are issues in society that he feels need a broader discussion and more attention.
He speaks, with tears in his eyes, about a young lady he defended years ago. She was pulled over on a minor traffic violation. The officer, because she spoke slowly due to a minor speech impediment, decided she was under the influence of marijuana and proceeded to search her and her vehicle. After finding nothing, she was taken to the county jail and subjected to a body-cavity search.
This is where, McCullough says, he made the decision to enter the political fray. As he tells it, he doesn’t do it to win, he does it because he has a voice and feels an obligation to use it. He likes to “shout from the rooftops,” and every now and then he gets in his own shot at the man.
He is committed to ending the “disastrous” war on drugs. A war that, he argues, has caused nothing but unnecessary pain to millions. He is a fierce defender of civil liberties and fully supports marriage equality.
“The arguments presented to the 10th Circuit Court [by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and his outside counsel] make me sick,” he says.
McCullough hopes this is the year he’s seen as a “viable candidate” and allowed to participate in the live debates scheduled for later this year.
One thing is for certain, whether you agree with him or not, Andy McCullough is a man of passion and principle.