'I will keep working to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect'

Attorney General Ellison sworn in for 2nd term with ‘renewed vigor and commitment’


January 3, 2023

January 2, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison was sworn in today for a second term as Minnesota’s 30th attorney general. Below is the text of his inaugural remarks as prepared for delivery.

Four years ago, I came here to share my vision of a just and fair economy in which all Minnesotans can afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect.

I told you then the story of how Alec Smith lost his life because he couldn’t afford his insulin. I said Alec would inspire me to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect.

And he did. In the last four years:

The Legislature passed the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. And when Big Pharma attacked the law in court, your Attorney General’s Office went to court to defend it — and so far, we’ve won. No matter what Big Pharma does to try to keep the cost of insulin and their profits high, you can count on my office and me to protect the lives and health of Minnesotans.

In the last four years, we’ve also held opioid companies accountable for the death and destruction they’ve caused.

We’ve gone to court to hold corporations like JUUL, Fleet Farm, and ExxonMobil accountable for the harms they’ve caused us.

We’ve gotten millions back from companies that defrauded student-loan borrowers.

We’ve fought for economic security for women and to protect farmers and rural communities from corporate monopolies. And much more.

But four years ago, I didn’t know what else was coming our way. None of us did.

There was the worst global pandemic in a century. Four years ago, my mother was in the audience as you are today. Today, she is not, because we lost her in the early days of the pandemic. I’m so grateful for my family who are here today, including my brother Rev. Brian Ellison, his wife Sharon, and their son Nehemiah, who traveled to be here.

I know Lt. Governor Flanagan is also feeling the loss of her brother today. All of us know the pain of loss.

There was the murder of George Floyd that focused the world’s attention on Minnesota and sparked a nationwide racial reckoning.

There was a spike in violent crime that came out of the pandemic and the economic inequalities it made worse.

There was the Supreme Court overturning 50 years of settled law that guaranteed the right to choose.

And on January 6, we witnessed the biggest assault on democracy since the Civil War. For Governor Walz and me, it was an attack on our former colleagues and our former workplace — a cathedral of democracy.

We rose to those challenges.

We kept people and communities safe from violence and a virus.

We successfully protected our democracy.

We stood up for the right to choose and our most personal freedoms.

And in prosecuting the murder of George Floyd, we showed that no one is above the law, and no one is beneath it.

Today I come before you to pledge to continue the work we started four years ago. I come with renewed vigor and commitment — plus four years of experience and, God willing, the wisdom that comes along with it.

In these next four years, I will keep working to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect. This means:

Fighting inflation by stopping price-gouging, antitrust violations, unconscionable drug prices, and wage theft.

Continuing to fight for fair competition in our economy, including by investigating the Fairview-Sanford merger from the perspective of what’s best for Minnesotans.

Continuing to fight the fentanyl crisis and hold opioid companies accountable for the loss of 5,500 Minnesotans’ lives and uncounted public dollars.

Continuing to fight for our democracy, our right to choose, and our most personal freedoms.

And it means standing for Minnesotans’ right to be safe — which starts with our right to not be shot. We will use the full range of the law to create truly safe communities — not only through expanded criminal prosecution, but by using civil law as well.

I’ll never forget when a little more than a year ago, Mayor Melvin Carter called me after a horrific shooting in Saint Paul. He said, we know the shooters will be prosecuted, but what about the people who are recklessly selling these guns to them? Because of his call, we are already going upstream in our efforts to help communities be safe. We will do much more of it.

Of course, the last four years have shown us we don’t know what will happen in the next four years. Whatever they bring, I pledge to you that every decision we make will be based in helping you and your family thrive in this economy — because everybody counts and everybody matters, no exceptions.

I’d like to thank the people of Minnesota for giving me the honor of serving as your attorney general. I’d like to thank my staff or their outstanding work over the last four years. I’d like to thank my wife and my family, including the ones who traveled to be with us today. And before I leave the stage, I’d like to remember once again my mother Clida Ellison. We will never forget the inspiration she provides every day.

Thank you.


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