CONWAY, Ark. – The candidates running to be the next Arkansas attorney general talked about many legal issues facing the Natural State during the third day of a weeklong debate series.

Republican Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Democrat Jessie Gibson gave voters a chance to hear why each should be the state’s top lawyer Wednesday during the Arkansas PBS event.

Arkansas has made a lot of headlines this year because of some laws passed, including the state’s abortion trigger law and new restrictions to gender-affirming medical care for minors.

Both Griffin and Gibson were eager to make their pitches to Arkansas voters as to why they should be the next AG.

“There isn’t another office that touches more lives than the attorney general’s office,” Gibson said.

Griffin, who has served as lieutenant governor for the last eight years, stressed his dedication to the state.

“This is where I live,” he said. “I’ve lived on the same street for 21 years.”

While both men agreed on the importance of the office, they split on many of the issues facing it.

Griffin said the ban on gender-affirming care for young people is legally and morally sound, telling moderators that he believes the law shows the state has, “chosen to protect minors from life-altering, irreversible surgery and medical treatment.”

Gibson, a trial lawyer from Little Rock, disagreed, calling the measure “empty rhetoric from politicians who want to pass harmful legislation” and saying the law would “come into trouble when it comes under legal scrutiny.”

As the debate moved on to the topic of the trigger law that banned abortions in Arkansas with only a few exceptions just hours after a Supreme Court decision, the Democratic candidate said that while he thinks abortions should be legal, he thinks challenging the law itself will be difficult.

Griffin noted that had always “supported exceptions for rape and incest” but also clarified that “as attorney general, I will defend whichever laws I’ll have to defend.”

Each candidate talked also about crime, and specifically how the attorney general’s office would fight it.

Griffin, a former U.S. Attorney, said he feels the state has to “deal with rehabilitation in a meaningful way” and also expand mental health services.

Gibson countered by advocating for programs geared to provide opportunities to stop someone from getting into crime before they break the law.

“I think it’s about economic opportunity,” he said. “I think it’s about having educational programs that allow people to achieve their best and there’s a feeling of hopelessness when you don’t have those economic opportunities.”

The week-long debate series will continue Thursday with debates between candidates in the races for U.S. House Districts 1 and 2. Friday will see those running in the Arkansas governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race debate.

For more on the debate series, head to