Gov. Jerry Brown’s best choice for attorney general – an appointment he must make after Kamala Harris’ election to the U.S. Senate — is obvious: his wife, Anne Gust Brown.

Call it nepotism if you want. But Anne Gust Brown is highly qualified. She not only had a distinguished career as a lawyer. But she helped run the attorney general’s office during her husband’s four-year stint there before becoming governor

And while there are many other qualified candidates interested in the post, the first lady is the only one who can redefine the job in the way it needs to be redefined. As teammate of the governor.

Among California’s many democratic deficiencies, there’s this: we are fools to have voters elect attorneys general, and all the other statewide executive positions. The reasons for this are many.

First, California is hard enough to govern without dividing up executive power among several elected politicians. The attorney general needs to work with the governor—and should work for the governor.

Second, while electing people to a.g. and other offices is supposed to make them independent, the reality is quite the opposite. The attorney general’s race, and other races for statewide executive positions, draw little public or media scrutiny. So the successful candidate isn’t really vetted. Instead, the races really serve as fundraising opportunities for ambitious younger politicians. Much of the money to support them comes from interests and industries that are deeply affected by the decisions of that particular statewide executive. These are pay-to-play elections.

There’d be more accountability in an appointed a.g. That person wouldn’t be compromised by political donations. And it’d be far easier to remove an appointed a.g. who behaved badly than an elected one.

Appointing Anne Gust Brown, thus, could be a first step to changing how we choose attorneys general—and insurance commissioners, controllers, treasurers and state superintendents of public instruction.