Candidate profile: Nessel targets clean water, civil rights for AG bid
Name: Dana Nessel
Occupation: President, Fair Michigan Foundation
Hometown: Metro Detroit
Education: University of Michigan, Wayne State University Law School
The Democratic candidate vying to be Michigan’s top law enforcer said she never thought about running for the position until after the 2016 Presidential election but believes she has the right experience for the job.
Democrat Dana Nessel got her law degree from Wayne State University’s Law School and started working in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office as an assistant prosecutor. Since then, she has worked as a defense attorney and most recently, Nessel serves as the leader of Fair Michigan Foundation, which aims to fight against discrimination.
Attorney General Outlook
For Nessel, she said she decided to run for AG because she wasn’t happy with the way the current office ‘was conducting itself.’ To her, the current AG was putting personal interests over the needs of Michigan.
“There are so many things that the office of Attorney General can do to really protect people in this state and I want to be leading the way on that,” Nessel explained. “What about regular people, what about working class people, what about poor people in this state?”
She said she will ‘the peoples’ attorney.
“What about regular people, what about working class people, what about poor people in this state?” asked Nessel. “They need to have somebody in their corner and that’s what I want to be, I want to be the lawyer that everyone else needs.”
Line 5 and Clean Water
Nessel has made it a campaign platform to shut down Line 5, the oil pipeline lying at the bottom of the Stratis of Mackinac. She said shutting down the pipeline owned by Canadian company Enbridge would be one of the first things she does if elected.
“I want to make certain that Line 5 is shut down before we face any of those cataclysmic issues,” she explained.
Those issues she is referring to would be a potential spill into the Great Lakes if something were to happen to the pipeline. Despite Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge striking a deal to create a new tunnel under the lakebed and a new pipeline within that tunnel, Nessel said she believes the pipeline needs to be shut down.
“Will I be holding the oil and gas companies accountable, yes I will. Will I be holding the chemical companies accountable, if they poisoned people’s water and they’re responsible, absolutely, you can bet I will,” she said.
Flint Water Investigation
The pending litigation with several members of the Snyder Administration likely not wrapping up before a new attorney general takes over, Nessel said she would like to go back and take a look at everything.
“I’m concerned about the way the process has moved forward, I’m concerned about the fact that you have a special prosecutor that’s been paid millions and millions and millions of dollars,” Nessel added.
She explained that her investigations could mean new charges are brought forth even after current AG Bill Schuette brought charges against a handful of people. Now, she said she wants to make sure everyone who was responsible is held accountable.
“But I can tell you this, when I take office, the statute of limitations will not have run on any potential crimes committed during the Flit Water Crisis and if there are people that still need to be held accountable, I will ensure that justice is done,” Nessel said. “Thera’s nobody that should be excluded from that. Anyone that was involved in this, if they committed a criminal act, they ought to be held liable, no matter who they are.”
Nessel was at the forefront of same-sex marriage equality when she brought forth the landmark case that struck down the ban on gay marriage.
“The biggest case in American history,” she said when describing her work.
She said she believes in using her position to ensure all Michiganders have equal protection under the law. Because of her work as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Nessel believes she has the necessary experience to work as Michigan’s next attorney general.
“I’ve seen some of the great successes in our criminal justice system, but also its many failures so I do believe it’s time we had somebody who had experience on both sides,” she added. “I will always make certain that the people of this state are protected; that’s what you’re charged with doing when you hold public office and that’s what I’m going to make certain is done when I become Michigan’s attorney general.”
Read more about Nessel’s platforms on her campaign website.