Hilstrom enters the ring for 2018 attorney general race

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, announced her intentions to run for the office of Minnesota Attorney General in 2018. (File photo)

A Brooklyn Center legislator is throwing her name into the ever-growing hat of the 2018 race for Minnesota’s attorney general office.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, announced her intentions to run for attorney general should current Attorney General Lori Swanson officially run for governor next year. Hilstrom, a nine-term state representative for District 40B, lawyer and former Brooklyn Center City Councilmember, felt that this was the right time to continue her fight for citizens’ rights on a grander platform.

“I have spent my time in the Legislature working on consumer protection issues, and working on issues advocating on behalf of those who have issues with large corporations or credit card companies or utility companies, and making certain that their voices have been heard, and that they have a shot against big industry,” said Hilstrom. “Now that the current attorney general is considering running for governor, I would like Minnesotans to consider me as one of the candidates to be the next attorney general.”

As of this writing, Republican candidates Harry Niska and Doug Wardlow have entered the attorney general race. Hilstrom noted that should Swanson decide against running in the gubernatorial race and seek re-election for her current seat, Hilstrom would drop out and instead seek re-election for her House seat once more. However, Hilstrom’s platform for a potential attorney general run matches the issues she’s been advocating for during her time in the Legislature.

“We live in a time where accountability really has been missing from corporations and, sometimes, politicians,” said Hilstrom. “The powerful really have gotten a hand up over ordinary Minnesotans. I believe that we need to listen and hear the people, and we need to make certain that consumers are protected and treated fairly.”

Hilstrom noted her intention to continue working to ensure consumers are treated fairly by the health care and pharmaceutical industries, among others.

“I worked very hard to ensure that they can’t take billions out of our health care system while neglecting mental health,” she said. “I’ve worked for accountability (in the) prescription drug industry, as well as credit card companies (and) utility companies. And the office of the attorney general is the one office in government where ordinary Minnesotans have been able to … have their consumer needs addressed.”

In the meantime, however, Hilstrom said that she remains focused on her duties as a state representative, even after the culmination of the latest legislative session.

“I serve on the Commerce Committee, which deals with all these consumer protection issues,” said Hilstrom. “I serve on the Public Safety Committee, which also deals with making certain that … consumers and the public are safe and have what they need, and I serve on the Civil Law Committee, which also deals with the legal issues that regular Minnesotans have. I also serve on the Ways and Means Committee, which is the committee that decides how the budget is going to be spent.

“The Legislature is done for this year, unless we get called back to deal with the budget,” Hilstrom continued. “At this point, I will be talking to Minnesotans, as well as my constituents, to find out about their priorities, so that when we come back to the legislative session in February, we’re ready to go.”

Contact Christiaan Tarbox at christiaan.tarbox@ecm-inc.com.