Insight News readers helped send me to Washington more than 12 years ago to fight for greater justice, more affordable health care, and peace. Standing up for our values in Congress has been one of greatest honors of my life. But now, I have to pursue a new challenge as Minnesota’s next Attorney General.
Here’s why: I can do more good for more people faster, as Attorney General. As one example, conservative Attorneys General from North Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas are working right now to try to strip out the promise of the Affordable Care Act which says that you can get health care insurance, even if you have a preexisting condition like asthma, diabetes, or countless others.
The Trump Administration refuses to defend the law in court. As a Member of Congress, I can speak against the Administration’s actions on the floor or in the press, or I can draft a bill opposing them, but I cannot stop it. As Minnesota’s Attorney General, part of my job will be to defend the law protecting pre-existing conditions, to ensure more affordable health care for Minnesotans.
While we need inspired leaders who will continue to champion great laws in Congress, I feel an urgent call to get into the fight to protect health care, economic rights, and greater opportunity for all Minnesotans right now. With fundamental rights under threat from the current Administration in Washington D.C. and powerful special interests, Minnesotans need a People’s Lawyer now, who will fight for them.
A lot of families, including many of our neighbors in Minneapolis, feel like the deck is stacked against them. People are working harder than ever, but seeing less and less for it. Jobs do not pay the wages and benefits needed for a good life; health care is getting more expensive and harder to reach; and savings have evaporated for many families.
As Attorney General, I can enforce antitrust laws so companies do not get so big they roll over the rights of workers, consumers, and small businesses. I can hold corporations accountable for pollution, to keep our environment clean and our communities healthy. And I can ensure workers are paid fairly for the work they do, from women’s equal pay to holding companies accountable when they do not pay Minnesotans fully for the work they do.
When Republicans have pushed efforts to strip people of their affordable health care, it is Attorneys General who have stepped up to defend health care access. With Roe v. Wade now being targeted by President Trump and the conservative Supreme Court majority, we need strong fighters at the state level to defend women’s reproductive rights.
Minnesotans need a People’s Lawyer who will stand up to the Trump Administration, to defend the civil and human rights of all. When Trump issued his discriminatory Muslim travel ban, which cut off many Minnesotans from their families abroad, it was Democratic state Attorneys General who fought back and sued.
Whether it is corporate special interests or the federal government, Minnesotans need someone who will hold the powerful accountable to the people of Minnesota.
This is work I have been doing for decades. Before entering public service, I was a civil rights lawyer for 16 years, including 5 years I spent leading the Legal Rights Center, a public interest law firm providing legal defense to those with nowhere else to turn.
In Congress, I have championed protections for workers and consumers, fought to expand access to affordable health care, supported reproductive rights and equal pay for women, and worked to expand greater opportunities for all.
As your next Attorney General, I will continue that work, and fight to protect the rights and freedoms of all. Minnesotans will always have a fighter on their side.
Keith Ellison has served the people of Minnesota in Congress since 2006 and is running for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nomination for Minnesota Attorney General.