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Civil Rights Attorney Announces Candidacy For State Attorney General

Aug 16, 2017

Civil-rights attorney Dana Nessel will run for state Attorney General


Two years ago, Nessel stood in a small park in Ann Arbor to celebrate the same-sex marriage decision of the US Supreme Court.  Nessel was an attorney for the Michigan couple in the case. 

Nessel returned to that same park to announce her candidacy for state Attorney General Tuesday.

Nessel is running for an office she once fought in court.  During her announcement, she expressed frustrations with the way the office has been run.  Nessel said she could spend the rest of her life upset with how the office is run or, “I could seek to fill the office the Attorney General with the values that I believe the 10 million residents of Michigan really care about.”

Dana Nessel was an attorney for a same-sex couple whose case went on to be part of the US Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.  More recently, the Democrat is part of a task force with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office to investigate hate crimes against the LGBT community. 

A former prosecuting attorney, Nessel said she isn’t worried about only being viewed as the LGBT candidate. 

“You name it, I handled it,” she said.  “So I think I have the depth and the breadth of experience for this job.  And yes, I feel like I’m going to work very hard on behalf of the LGBT community, but I’m going to work hard on behalf of all kinds of communities.”

Nessel has a list of issues she hopes to tackle as Attorney General – from hate crimes to marijuana.  But she says a top priority is shutting down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline.  That’s the controversial line that carries crude oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac.  

“It’s an economic and ecological calamity waiting to happen in our state,” Nessel said.  “And I think that it’s been far too long, there’s been too many studies.  We know it needs to be shut down and I intend to do that.”

Current Attorney General Bill Schuette is term limited and cannot run for this seat again.  But he is widely expected to run for governor in 2018. 

Democrats and Republicans pick their attorney general candidates at party conventions next year. 

Other Democrats rumored to be considering a run for Attorney General include former House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel and former US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Patrick Miles

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org