Greg Zoeller has been on the road a lot lately.

Indiana’s Republican candidate for attorney general stopped in Terre Haute on Tuesday en route from Indianapolis to Evansville, hitting eight cities in all.

“We’re doing about six to seven a day,” he said, noting he will be campaigning with GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Jeffersonsville today.

“This new part of early voting will really change the way we campaign,” he said.

Zoeller noted he’s Indiana’s first candidate for attorney general to have actually served there first.

As incumbent Attorney General Steve Carter’s chief deputy, he serves as chief of the litigation division and advisory services, supervising about 140 lawyers, a position he has occupied since 2001.

And it’s that experience that he says makes him stand out against Democratic rival Linda Pence, an attorney in private practice.

“I want to press this idea that experience matters,” he said, adding that most county prosecutors have at least been prosecutors prior to running for office. “I know how to do this job. I served under Steve Carter,” he said.

One of Zoeller’s goals if elected is to protect public school teachers from lawsuits regarding enforcement of discipline.

Currently, if a school board finds that a teacher’s actions in disciplining students were appropriate, legal protection is funded through insurance money, often resulting in a cash settlement, he said, noting that “nuisance suits” can arise from people seeking an easy payout.

Many of these could be alleviated if the claimants knew the Attorney General’s Office would be defending the teacher, he said.

Zoeller also wants to see bonding requirements raised for officials who handle public money, noting that in corruption cases the funds are irretrievable by the time the case is settled.

“We need to protect the assets before they’re gone,” he said.

And advancing Carter’s work with online predators, both financial and sexual, as well as safeguarding the public from telemarketers are on his agenda.

“The next big challenge for prosecutors is going to be these online predators,” he said.

Zoeller helped handle a controversial 2003 election in Lake County, where 54 charges of voter fraud yielded 48 convictions and the state Supreme Court eventually required the election be rerun.

A New Albany native, Zoeller graduated from Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington in 1982.

From 1982 until 1991, Zoeller served as an aide for Dan Quayle, following him all the way to the White House as vice president.

“I’ve spent the better part of my career serving the public,” he said, noting that since 2001 he has worked in the Attorney General’s Office, where more than 1,100 appeals are heard a year, as all Hoosiers found guilty at the local level are automatically granted one appeal, which is prosecuted by the state.

“It’s a unique skill,” he said. “I have the experience to make a difference.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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