DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado voters have elected Democrat Phil Weiser as the state’s new Attorney General.

Weiser, a former dean of the University of Colorado Law School, defeated Republican George Brauchler.

Phil Weiser (credit: CBS)

He said he views the role as being a lawyer for the people of Colorado.

PHOTO GALLERY: Election Day In Colorado 2018

“Whether it’s issues like health care, marijuana or methane rule, I’m acting only when necessary to protect Colorado consumers,” Weiser said during the campaign.

State attorney generals have become major political players on the national stage. Democratic AGs sued the Trump administration 35 times in just the first year of his administration. Republican AGs sued the Obama administration 46 times. They have slowed and even stopped major policy decisions.

Weiser says the job is more important than ever, “And the reason state AGs are more important right now is because Congress is not doing its job. It’s disfunctional.”

That has created a vacuum for activist AGs, who
are increasingly shaping national policy by banding together in partisan coalitions and filing lawsuits to block or force action on everything from health care to the environment to immigration.

Weiser says it’s about consumer protection. “And if you want dismantle all those protections, you’re saying, ‘Let people fend for themselves or let states fend for themselves’ and that’s not what United States of America is about. It’s a compact of states working together to provide key critical protections.”

ELECTION RESULTS: See The Complete Colorado 2018 General Election Results

Weiser will replace Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, who announced she was leaving her post to run for governor but she ended up dropping out of the race.