FAIRNESS FOR WORKERS
I am a champion for labor and workers’ rights, carrying the bill for a $15 minimum wage and leading the charge against wage theft at the federal level. As Attorney General, I will always be a friend to working men and women and their families. Period.
While most employers pay workers what they earn and deserve, some do not pay workers their full pay for their hard work, cheating them out of overtime pay or the minimum wage. I will partner with the MN Department of Labor and Industry to enforce wage theft laws and hold offenders accountable by forcing them to repay any stolen wages, plus interest. Last month, the Supreme Court voted to take away workers' rights to file a class-action lawsuit for employment law violations. This decision tilts the playing field in favor of large companies and their armies of lawyers. As the People's Lawyer, I will level the field by filing cases on behalf of all workers who get cheated out of their hard-earned pay.
Every American should have access to guaranteed, quality, affordable health care. That’s why I led the Medicare for All bill in Congress. It’s why as Attorney General I will fight to hold drug corporations accountable for price gouging and other dirty tricks to raise prices or keep generic-brand drugs off the market. In the midst of our nation’s opioid crisis, Attorneys General should lead the fight in taking on drug companies who have flooded our communities with narcotics, and ensure this continues to be treated as a public health crisis. This includes working in collaboration with tribes, whose communities have been hit particularly hard by this crisis. I will stand up for women’s reproductive freedom and access to abortion and contraception. I will also join my fellow Attorneys General nationwide in their fight to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid from on-going legal attacks.
Minnesotans shouldn't have to choose between their health and safety and their paychecks. But that is exactly what the Trump administration has made them do by rolling back and delaying the rules that keep workers safe on the job. I will put a stop to multi-billion dollar companies taking shortcuts on worker health and safety just to squeeze a few extra dollars of profits. This is especially important in Greater Minnesota, because agricultural work, logging, fishing, and iron and steel work are some of the top 10 most dangerous and fatal jobs in the United States.
Union Rights and Employment Discrimination
If you’re working hard on your job, no matter who you are or what your background is, you should have an equal shot of getting hired and promoted. Things like your age, race, religion, nationality, disability status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity should never be used against you. I will protect workers from employment discrimination. I will also protect workers who exercise their legal right to join together and fight for higher wages and better working conditions. With the Supreme Court poised to deliver a tough blow to state workers in the Janus v. AFSCME decision, state and local workers in Minnesota need an Attorney General with a long record of fighting for workers' collective bargaining rights. I have that record.
Everyone wins—consumers, retirees, investors, workers and businesses—when we get rid of fraud and unfair competition. In Congress, I have passed laws to fight credit card abuse and to stand up for the rights of tenants and renters, and founded the Congressional Antitrust Caucus. As Attorney General, I stand up to companies that deceive Minnesotans and violate our antitrust laws.
Fair Student Loans
Americans who borrow money to get a better education deserve fair treatment when repaying those loans. A few big companies control this business and they are misleading consumers by steering them into programs that leave them on the hook for years of extra payments at a higher cost. For some former students, especially those who attended for-profit private trade schools, the loans were part of a fraud that left them owing money for a worthless degree. U. S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is siding with the fraudulent schools and the big lending companies. As Attorney General, I would side with consumers with student loans and fight for fairness and debt relief.
Consumers and workers need a robust economy with businesses competing on a fair and level playing field, not an economy where more power is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer companies. Corporate concentration is killing small businesses. As Attorney General, I will work to crack down on the unfair competitive practices that stifle our economy by cheating workers and consumers. I will advocate for farmers throughout the state to stop supply and intermediary companies from violating antitrust laws that raise their costs and lower the prices they are paid. I will also fight employers who keep down wages by monopoly power even as profits improve, or who use anticompetitive practices like non-compete agreements to keep workers’ wages low.
Stop Predatory Lending and Financial Scams
No one should be subject to a loan with hidden and abusive terms when they need to fix their house or buy a car. All Minnesotans can agree it is wrong to use an internet solicitation to try circumventing our state protections and charge 500% interest on a payday loan. I have spent my career fighting against predatory lending and as Attorney General I will continue this work to stop predatory lenders who violate our consumer protection laws. As our state population ages, seniors are increasingly being targeted by scammers and crooks. As Attorney General, I will put a stop to the abhorrent exploitation of seniors. This type of behavior has no place in Minnesota.
Affordable and Fair Housing
When Minnesotans save their hard-earned money to buy a mobile home or a traditional home, the last thing they should be worried about is predatory and fraudulent mortgages. I’ll put a stop to mortgage fraud and abuse and fight back against lenders who trap senior citizens in reverse mortgages that erode their hard-earned home equity. I will also work to level the playing field between landlords and tenants and combat the eviction crisis that is putting too many Minnesota families out on the street. It’s been 50 years since Congress passed the Fair Housing Act under the co-authorship of Walter Mondale to eliminate discrimination in lending. But redlining is still alive and well and black and brown homeowners and renters are consistently charged more than whites. As Attorney General, I will sue lenders and landlords who violate fair housing laws.
CIVIL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE
As a former civil rights attorney for 16 years, I know the value of a good lawyer to protect the rights of all to be free from discrimination and harm.
Minnesota has a proud immigrant tradition, from those seeking economic opportunity to those fleeing warfare. As Attorney General, I will fight efforts by the Trump Administration to remove protections from Dreamers - remarkable young people who through their educational and work opportunities are contributing to our economy and society. I will ensure that our immigration detention system is humane, and free from mistreatment. I will also stand up to the un-American, discriminatory Muslim Travel Ban. Our country is at its best when we welcome those fleeing horrendous conditions, not when we fan the flames of bigotry and division.
Criminal Justice and Gun Violence
Partnering with our Counties
County attorneys often look to the Attorney General for resources and assistance when prosecuting complex and high profile cases. As Attorney General, I will ensure that every county attorney has the support and expertise necessary to fairly enforce our criminal laws. This will include particular attention to combating the sex trafficking that is all too prevalent in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s comparatively low prison population is growing and we have one of the highest rates of people on probation and parole in the county. Minnesotans on probation and parole face barriers to education, employment, housing, and political participation that make it harder to complete their sentence and become a productive member of their community. And Minnesotans with a criminal conviction continue to face barriers to finding a job, stable housing, and being able to support their families long after they have served their time. As Attorney General, I will work with county attorneys and the state legislature to reduce our incarceration, probation and parole rates and enhance public safety by helping people get back on their feet and successfully reintegrate into their communities.
Gun Violence Prevention
Gun violence has disrupted the lives of Minnesotans of all ages and all walks of life across the state. I saw firsthand Washington’s failure to act on public demands to enact common sense gun safety solutions. As Attorney General, I will ensure that Minnesota is a leader in preventing gun violence by fighting for laws that require universal background checks for gun sales, a ban of the sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and by keeping guns out of the hands of people who pose a risk to themselves or to others, including domestic violence offenders. I will also defend Minnesota’s laws by standing with the Attorneys General of 17 other states to fight bad federal legislation that will undermine our ability to establish and enforce our state gun safety measures.
Equal Access to Justice
We must ensure that every Minnesotan has equal access to justice. That starts by increasing support for our public defenders, a right secured in Gideon v. Wainwright by the advocacy of our own Walter Mondale when he was Minnesota’s Attorney General. As Attorney General, I will work with the Board of Public Defense and the legislature to ensure that every low-income Minnesotan accused of a crime has efficient and thorough legal counsel. I will also work to eliminate cash bail laws that prey on the poor and powerless in our system.
Minnesota has been hit hard with increasingly frequent major floods from Duluth to Waseca. Climate change impacts the vulnerable the most - working people, people of color, and seniors. Yet the Trump Administration actively denies and suppresses climate change science and is reversing the progress made under President Obama to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable. As Attorney General, I will stand up to efforts to undermine the Clean Power Plan, which would improve Minnesotans’ health and our environment by transitioning to clean energy. We don’t have to choose between a robust economy and a clean environment; we can and must have both.
Minnesotans need the Office of the Attorney General to fight for them every day.