Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) continued his statewide listening tour Thursday in North Minneapolis where he said his office will sue President Donald Trump if it has to.
During the Minneapolis stop, Ellison began to outline his agenda for when he takes over as Minnesota attorney general next week. His agenda, as it stands, will be two-fold: ensuring economic equality and protecting civil liberties as defined by the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
Ellison also said he plans to continue hosting listening sessions after he takes office and will adjust his agenda as he sees fit.
“One of the things we’re going to do with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is we’re going to listen a lot. This is not just something we’re going to do leading up to the time that I actually get sworn in. We’re going to do it now, and we’re going to keep doing it,” he said, and went on to share how he’s “envisioning the priorities of [his] office.”
“First of all, we’re here to do this listening session based on the priories that you’re going to help us set, but I’m telling you the reason I ran and gave up a congressional seat that I felt pretty confident that I could get back into—the reason I did that is really it keeps me up at night when I think about how difficult it is for people to just afford their lives,” Ellison continued, saying “income inequality” will be a top priority.
“If you can’t afford your insulin, you can’t afford your life. If you can’t afford your rent, you can’t afford your life,” he said. “I am going to be the attorney general whose goal, aim, and purpose is to help you afford your life.”
Ellison then revealed that he’s frequently asked if he’ll “fight the Trump administration.”
“The answer is: sometimes we’re going to have to, and I’m going to need your support for that. But the main goal is not Trump. The main purpose is to support Minnesotans. So if we have to sue him, we will, but it’s not just to sue him, it’s because we have to make sure people can afford their medication,” he said.
“This is what we’re fighting for. Fairness for consumers, fairness for workers, fairness for small businesses, fairness for everyone,” Ellison added.
His second priority is to “make sure everybody has dignity and respect in our society,” and claimed that there are “some people who believe that only some people count, and only some people matter.”
This has become a common theme of Ellison’s journey to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. During his first listening session in December, he attacked his former opponent Republican Doug Wardlow for working with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
“But I do want to say that he stood for, he worked for this institution that said that their religious liberty entitled them to discriminate against other people who their religion didn’t approve of,” Ellison said. He was referring to ADF’s representation of a St. Cloud couple who is in a legal battle with the state over an effort to deny videographer services to same-sex weddings.
“We want to be able to put a sign up that says we don’t serve them,” Ellison said of the couple’s lawsuit. He reiterated those claims Thursday, though more discretely.
“We’re going to stand up for people no matter who they are. We’re going to make sure that people are not suffering discrimination based on their zip code, based on what they look like, based on where they come from, based on what their color is, based on who they love, based on what their religion is,” he said. “We believe that people should be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Background Photo “Keith Ellison Listening Session” by Keith Ellison.