Second-term Michigan State Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) this week became the first Republican to announce a 2022 run for state attorney general.
Whoever the GOP nominates at its state convention next year will likely face incumbent Democrat Dana Nessel. A 40-year old Oakland County legislator, reserve police officer, and attorney, Berman has proclaimed strong differences with Nessel, particularly on oil pipeline closures and on COVID-19 policy.
“We need someone in office who’s going to instill confidence and the respect that the office deserves,” Berman told The Michigan Star. “Someone who’s going to use the office not as a political tool to further their far-left policies and ideology that’s kind of happening now with Attorney General Nessel, but someone who’s going to dispense justice equally for everyone and put the people of Michigan over their political party.”
Nessel has worked alongside Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) to shut down the Enbridge energy company’s Line 5, an effort Berman has condemned as extralegal.
“She’s trying to shut it down and say that it’s unconstitutional when it was a duly enacted law by the legislature,” he said. “And the courts struck her down twice and rebuffed her attempt, saying ‘No, it’s fine.’”
The lawmaker also criticized Whitmer for enjoining an ongoing emergency declaration in response to the COVID outbreak and said Nessel “just stood by and let her do it.” In the legislature, Berman championed litigation against the governor for her actions which he said severely damaged Michigan’s economy and violated citizens’ constitutional rights. Last October, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against a state law permitting the governor to extend such declarations indefinitely without legislative approval.
“The attorney general should have known better,” Berman said. “She should have been there to stop her.”
In contrast to the position Berman wishes Nessel adopted, the attorney general aggressively took action against small businesses over COVID-emergency violations.
Another Nessel action with which Berman took issue was to sue the owner of Edenville Dam on the basis that the dam allegedly threatened a wildlife habitat, a move the lawmaker said led to worsened flooding in the Midland area.
“She contributed to that and people need to know her role,” he said, “because she’s kind of flown under the radar.”
A graduate of Detroit Country Day School, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University Law School, Berman has practiced law for 16 years.
Since his election to the legislature, he has authored several bills pertaining to law enforcement. Those include a bill to teach non-lethal takedown tactics to police and a proposal to provide police-academy tuition assistance, work-study programs, and other aid to aspiring police officers.
Other Republicans who have been discussed as potential candidates for attorney general include lawyer Matthew DePerno and former House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt).
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