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You can tell what a leader will do in the future by looking at what they did in the past.
Some leaders can give a good speech, but don’t do very much. Others make promises, but it’s just empty rhetoric.
Attorney General Swanson has a proven track record of results that have gained national recognition from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, NBC National News, National Public Radio, MSNBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and many others for improving the lives of millions of Minnesotans.
In short, she is the "People's Attorney General."
Read more about Lori's accomplishments for the people of Minnesota below.
(Select the categories below to learn more.)
“The true test of a character is to face hard conditions with the determination to make them better.”
- Helen Keller
Attorney General Swanson gets results which make a difference in the lives of people. She has been doing it for nearly 20 years in the Attorney General’s Office. Take a look:
The National Consumer Law Center awarded her the Robert Drinan “Champion of Justice” award for this work, saying: “Attorney General Swanson has been a tireless champion of consumers in America, whether leading the charge against predatory mortgage lending, protecting seniors from marketing abuses, or defending our basic American right to have credit card disputes resolved impartially and not through a stacked deck.”
A newspaper wrote: “Consumers using credit cards, cell phones and other forms of credit—meaning most Minnesotans—got a major victory” through her investigation. The national publication Lawyers USA named Lori one of the top 10 attorneys in America in 2009, saying: “She toppled the dominant player in debt arbitration in the country and changed the face of consumer credit card arbitration overnight.”
The Park Rapids Enterprise said: “Cheers to Attorney General Lori Swanson for making Minnesota the first state in the nation to tackle the pernicious problem of debt collectors hounding people for old, forgotten debt.” Attorney General Swanson then persuaded the state legislature to require debt buyers to present evidence that they are pursuing the correct person for the correct amount.
The New York Times said: “An excellent example of how to strengthen protections for borrowers is a 2007 Minnesota law that forbids some of the predatorymortgages that became common during the boom,” such as negative amortization loans, loan churning, prepayment penalties, and collusion between brokers and lenders.
- Online payday lenders that charged exorbitant rates of interest.
- Mortgage foreclosure assistance companies that tricked homeowners into charging high fees but did nothing to help.
- Debt settlement companies that tricked cash-strapped borrowers to pay thousands of dollars for phony help with credit card bills.
- Companies that sent people “refund checks” which, when cashed, unwittingly signed people up for unwanted services.
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
- Betty Friedan
With prescription drug costs soaring, retirement plans becoming a thing of the past, and the cost of living spiking, many senior citizens live on tight incomes. Bad guys want to drain their retirement savings. Attorney General Swanson has been a tireless champion for our seniors.
When Attorney General Swanson later testified against these practices in the United States Congress, there were over 50 insurance lobbyists in the gallery—but no room for consumer representatives. This happens way too much in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, the overflow of the swamp is beginning to seep into the State Capitol in St. Paul too.
“Now I have the possibly old-fashioned theory that when you have problems to solve, when you have objectives to achieve, you cannot get very far by just talking about them.”
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Jobs bring dignity to families. American workers are more productive than ever before but are paid lower wages. With student loan debt, child care, and housing costs soaring, many people struggle to get by, let alone to get ahead. Attorney General Swanson has written extensively on the need to strengthen the economy and grow high-paying jobs.
“America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”
– Walter Cronkite
Health care costs are out-of-sight, and many patients are squeezed by a system that seems more focused on greed than patients. As a young lawyer, Lori got her start battling insurance companies on behalf of patients in need of lifesaving coverage. She will never forget the ordeal these patients faced—the devastation of a critical illness and the arrogant indifference of large insurance companies.
In 2012, the national publication "Health Leaders" magazine recognized Attorney General Swanson as one of 20 Americans who is making a difference in healthcare.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
- Nelson Mandela
In the past, each generation of Americans created a better standard of living for the next generation. We need to correct our course so that ours is not the first generation that neglects to do this. It’s not easy to be a young person today. Lori gets it. The cost of college has gone up 1,000 percent in 30 years. Over 44 million Americans owe almost $1.5 billion in student loans.
Minnesota has the fifth highest student loan debt in the country. College cost just $600 a semester when Lori started at a public university. Not so today. She wants young people to have the same opportunities she did to get ahead through education.
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
- Gen. George Washington
Attorney General Swanson learned respect for the military at an early age from her dad, who served as a ballistics specialist in the Minnesota National Guard. She honors and respects the service and sacrifice of our veterans and service members. The U.S. Department of Defense recognized her with the Pro Patria award for her advocacy on behalf of armed service personnel.
“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”
- Marion Wright Edelman
Families nurture and inspire our next generation. But they can’t prosper unless they’re secure.
“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.”
- Aretha Franklin
“The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.”
- Thomas Jefferson
Attorney General Swanson respects the separation of powers between the various levels and branches of government. The framers of our state and federal constitutions set up a system of checks and balances and divided government in which one branch or level can put the brakes on another if it overreaches. Attorney General Swanson has served as a check on encroachments by the federal government.
“God said, 'I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.' So God made a farmer.”
- Paul Harvey
Agriculture is vitally important to Minnesota’s economy, and our farmers put food on our tables. Attorney General Swanson doesn’t forget that her family’s roots - like those of many Minnesotans -started with farming.
"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value."
– Teddy Roosevelt
Minnesotans value clean water and clean air. We owe it to our children to protect the climate and our natural resources.
“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival, but a tolerable life.”
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For a brief stint in college, Lori worked in a GM factory and was a member of the UAW. She saw the dignity that good jobs bring to families. As Attorney General, Lori has been a steadfast friend of working men and women. She received the Public Official of the Year Award from the Minnesota Nurses Association in 2010. SEIU Healthcare recognized Swanson with the Betty Bednarczyk Courage Award in 2013, which is awarded to individuals who “with integrity and some personal risk, take a public stance to advance truth and justice, and who challenge prevailing conditions in pursuit of the common good.” She received a special citation as an Honorary Firefighter in 2015 from St. Paul Firefighters Local 21 for defending the benefits owed to our firefighters.
“Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
People deserve a government that works hard for them. The general fund appropriation to Attorney General Swanson’s office is down 50 percent (adjusted for inflation) from 15 years ago, but her office delivers more “bang for the buck” than ever before, with caseloads double from 20 years ago.
“The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography....”
- Francis Perkins
Attorney General Swanson believes that Minnesota succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot and plays by the same rules. That we do best when we grow from the middle out, not the top down. And that our children should be able to dream bigger, aim higher, and do better than their parents. The work she has done as Attorney General reflects these values.
Like most people, Lori’s ancestors left countries where the privileged were few and the underprivileged many. They came to Minnesota for the opportunity to work hard, make a decent living, and climb the economic ladder as high as their talents and work ethic could take them. But today, our backbone, the middle class, has been shrinking. The cost of higher education is rising above the reach of students. The cost of healthcare and pharmaceuticals are spiraling at a sickening rate. The cost of housing and child care are skyrocketing beyond the hopes of young families. And wages have not kept pace with inflation. As a result, too many people feel that their place in the middle class is sliding.
Simply put, Attorney General Swanson’s achievements have helped to provide balance in the economy and make a more level playing field for all Minnesotans.