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Letter: Forum endorsement was wrong -- Keith Ellison does the right thing even when it isn't easy

It was Republican state senators who refused to support Ellison’s request to fund more prosecutors so he could better assist criminal prosecution statewide. Some admitted that they voted against needed funding because they wanted him to fail. Sadly, they are the ones who actually have allowed the cause of justice for crime victims to fail.

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Voters will make many important choices this November. Those choices will determine the future direction of our state and country.

They will determine how committed we are to the historic principles of our civil democracy and our founders’ concept of the rule of law.

Some choices may be difficult, others not so much so.

One of the choices that we, a retired 19-year Supreme Court Justice and a former 16-year Minnesota Attorney General, do not find difficult is who will be our Minnesota’s chief legal officer – our Attorney General.

When the backgrounds, experience, beliefs, policy statements and actions, especially past statements and actions, of the candidates are compared and scrutinized, the choice is clear: We should re-elect Attorney General Keith Ellison as our state’s chief minister of justice.

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Keith Ellison has served us well. He has led the charge to fight fraud, the abuse of power and acts of impunity, whether they are being committed by rich and powerful persons and corporations, government officials or individuals who prey upon our citizens.

For example, holding drug companies accountable for causing the opioid crisis and tobacco companies and ExonMobil for their deceptive practices.

He has protected one of our state’s most valuable assets, our environment. He has placed a high value on education of our children and young adults, as shown by his support for our educational institutions and his mentoring of young people.

For many he is an inspirational role model.

Ellison has placed a premium on hiring good people who provide solid nonpartisan advice to state agencies, something that is not always noticed but is important for our state government to run efficiently.

He has done well despite the failure of the Republicans to provide his office with the resources needed to do the job. Not only have they denied him
adequate resources, but after doing so they make false claims criticizing him for not doing enough to fight crime.

They hypocritically speak of failure, a concept they know well because they have failed so miserably when asked to step up to the plate to protect Minnesotans.

Ellison’s Republican opponent perpetuates this hypocrisy, deception and fraud when he knows that it his Republican colleagues who purposely deprived the Attorney General’s office of the resources it needed.

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It was Republican state senators who refused to support Ellison’s request to fund more prosecutors so he could better assist criminal prosecution statewide. Some admitted that they voted against needed funding because they wanted him to fail. Sadly, they are the ones who actually have allowed the cause of justice for crime victims to fail.

The Senate Republican majority failed to change the law making it easier for county attorneys to prosecute crimes or request the assistance of the Attorney General.

When voters scrutinize Ellison’s opponent's proposals with respect to fighting crime, they see that they lack substance and are at best shallow and murky.

Voters need to be wary. These proposals are deceptively clever in how they prey upon people’s fears and promote feelings of anger and angst in an attempt to garner votes. Keith’s opponent likes to use the word failure.

Republicans know much about failure. It is their policies that have failed in the past and will continue to fail in the future if their candidate is elected.

Despite efforts to impede his work, Ellison has done remarkably well. The successful prosecution of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd is a prime example. He did a superb job. Minnesota has received national and international acclaim for how well this difficult case was handled.

Ellison has leveraged his experience from this case and others to foster significant positive law enforcement reforms and to advocate for better police training and more effective means to apprehend criminals and successfully prosecute them.

Ellison is a strong supporter of good law-enforcement. He knows that we need more and better-trained police and first responders to keep our communities safe.

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Ellison’s energy and passion for doing his job are evident when a person interacts with him. This positive energy is something much needed when so many are sowing seeds of doubt, cynicism and hopelessness. We not only need Ellison’s legal skills to serve us, we also need a good dose of his upbeat personality and attitude of hopefulness to inspire us and rehabilitate our faith in American democracy, and our hope for a better future.

Courts, including our own Supreme Court, have said that those who hold the awesome power of government attorneys have a duty to be a minister of justice. Ellison knows what justice and injustice are and is committed to seeing that justice is done.

He knows that justice comes in many forms and can sometimes be harsh, unbending and even, at times, unfair. This is why his quest for justice has an extra added quality to it, a commitment to do the right thing. He candidly admits that the hardest part of his quest for justice is to do the right thing.

Minnesotans need to support Keith Ellison in his quest for a more just society by doing the right thing this November, casting their vote for him as Attorney General.

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