LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State Rep. Ryan Berman announced Wednesday that he will seek the Republican nomination for Michigan attorney general.
The Oakland County lawyer said in a letter from his campaign that he's running in the 2022 race to restore the rule of law and pursuit of justice, and that current Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, has used her office as “a political weapon."
Berman zeroed in on Nessel's longstanding efforts to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac as an example of her trying to dictate law rather than enforce it.
“Justice is supposed to be blind,” Berman said in the letter. “I will bring us back to a system that puts justice first. The Michigan Constitution is not a series of suggestions. Its checks and balances are supposed to protect us all. That must be the attorney general’s first loyalty.”
Berman is serving his second term as a state representative. He has led efforts for accountability related to Michigan State University's handling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal and victim rights at the University of Michigan in the Dr. Robert Anderson sex abuse scandal. He also has introduced legislation to create a Legislative Open Records Act.
A critic of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berman said in the letter that he will use his background in law as an attorney and reserve police officer to build trust and accountability.
In 2015, Michigan ranked last among states for state government accountability and transparency, according to The Center for Public Integrity.
“Our laws are not suggestions to be suspended on a whim, nor are they tools to be wielded against political opponents," Berman said. "At all levels, we must do everything we can to rebuild confidence in our government.”
Nessel has said she will seek reelection to a second four-year term.
Candidates for attorney general in Michigan are chosen at state party conventions.
Anna Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
This story was first published on Aug. 11, 2021. It was updated on Aug. 12, 2021 to correct that Nessel has said she will seek a second term.