Two Haute Mamas: Ripped off? "Call Brother Keith."

Ellison on his first six months as attorney general

Sheletta Brundidge
May 21, 2019 - 11:31 am

This post comes from the Two Haute Mamas podcast, a peek into the lives, experiences and perspectives of Sheletta Brundidge and Lindy Vincent, two fabulously fun, engaging and opinionated friends.

After making history as the first African American and Muslim to be elected to serve as Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison has not been one to rest on his laurels. In an effort to fulfill election promises coupled with his own convictions, Ellison has been working as hard as he campaigned. In addition to suing opioid manufacturers for allegedly lying about how addictive the drug is, his office is also working on cases to prevent wage theft, regulate HMOs, and protect senior citizens.

Halfway into his first year, one might think someone with such an aggressive agenda could already be facing burnout. Quite the opposite in Ellison’s case, who says he enjoys being busy, helping others, and making life better for all Minnesotans.

Ellison sat down for an interview with Sheletta Brundidge and Lindy Vincent of the Two Haute Mamas podcast to chat about what goes into being the state’s attorney general.

He explained how he didn't feel like he was able to make the impact he wanted to help Minnesotans as the 5th District congressional representative. 

"You make a bunch of speeches and rarely does anything ever happen," Ellison said. "I mean, it’s high profile, you turn on the television to watch Sunday morning news shows and members of Congress are on. But the truth is they don’t get to do very much.  This job I’m in now, we’re doing something on the daily, every day. So the profile is lower, but the action is much higher."

He's transitioned to the new role, but wishes some of the legislation he worked on came to fruition while serving in the House of Representatives.

"I did pass some bills and I’m very proud of those," he said. "I helped tenants in foreclosure. I helped credit card holders and people who are living in manufactured housing. But not very often — it’s very rare." 

Ellison says the role of becoming an Attorney General first caught his eye when several states were fighting for workers' rights.

"I saw all these attorneys general suing companies and getting results for people," he said. "I’m like, 'Wow, I want a job where I can get some results.' Right now, state attorneys general are suing the president over getting rid of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  Do you remember the Muslim ban? Well, they had to go back three times before they got it right — because state attorneys general kept suing."

He says his new position is having more of a direct and immediate impact on people who need his help.

"What I do impacts the real battles that affect people’s everyday kitchen-table concerns," he said. "Those concerns are being fought by your state attorney general."

Ellison believes not many people know what the attorney general’s office does. As attorney general, he says his highest priorities are to protect consumers, workers, and make sure Minnesota has a fair economy.

When asked what people should do if they are having problems with an employer or if they've been scammed and need help getting their money back, Ellison responded, "Call your AG. Call Brother Keith."

The Minnesota Attorney General office's phone number to receive complaints is (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787.

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