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Staff Photo by Emily Crisman / Democratic nominee for Hamilton County district attorney John Allen Brooks speaks to a group gathered at the old Hamilton County Courthouse for the launch of his campaign.

John Allen Brooks launched his campaign Thursday for Hamilton County district attorney as the Democratic nominee.

Brooks told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in an interview Thursday that his goal, if elected, is to build the best district attorney's office in the state of Tennessee.

"The first thing I would do is put together a task force of district attorneys to deal with crimes against children," he said. "I'm passionate about taking care of kids. I think that my job, or the job of a district attorney, is to protect the weakest, and the children are the weakest."

Brooks said the district attorney's office should focus its resources on violent crime and making communities safer rather than spending time and money on prosecuting crimes such as simple possession of marijuana.

"I think marijuana should be legal," he said.

(READ MORE: Tennessee legislators push for ballot question to test marijuana views)

Brooks said he would like to see law enforcement officers, particularly Hamilton County deputies, get paid more.

"I'd like to know why we're spending so much money redoing the jail out at Silverdale and have no results," Brooks said, adding that he visits clients at the jail every Christmas. "In fact, it's in the worst condition I've ever seen."

Brooks told a group gathered for his campaign launch at the old Hamilton County Courthourse on Thursday that electing him as the next district attorney is critical to the future of Hamilton County.

"It is the job of the district attorney to run an office that is fair, efficient and professional," said Brooks, a former Hamilton County commissioner for District 6 and a former Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman. "A vote for me is a vote for honesty, transparency and effective leadership."

Brooks will face Republican nominee Coty Wamp in the Hamilton County general election Aug. 4.

Contact Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6508.

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Staff Photo by Emily Crisman / Democratic nominee for Hamilton County district attorney John Allen Brooks speaks to a group gathered at the old Hamilton County Courthouse for the launch of his campaign.
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