Attorney General visited MSU with a keynote speech

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison visited Minnesota State Tuesday to discuss the intersection of law and business.

Before being sworn in as Minssota’s 30th attorney general, Ellison represented Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, advocating for consumer, worker, environment and human rights protections for state citizens. Ellison made a keynote presentation on antitrust in agriculture and the importance of environmental and social investing. 

The event, organized by the College of Business, was open to the public. Ellison’s presentation aimed to help students understand economic trends and make better choices as business owners while considering the environmental consequences.

Additionally, Ellison gave a speech about human rights in the economy. He described a lawsuit against a company that was steering students away from loan forgiveness to loan forbearance.

“Forbearance means the student debt is still there, and it’s gaining interest, but they never become aware that you may be eligible for a loan forgiveness program,” said Ellison. “What does that mean? It means that we’re going to protect you and your housing circumstances. We’re going to go after bad landlords.”

Following his speech, faculty members Wade Davis and Anaam Hashmi asked additional questions and discussed topics such as business, law and environmental sustainability.

Hashmi asked, “Governor, you have been a big advocate of carbon-free power generation by 2040, which is a very ambitious goal. However, that is only 16 years away and I’ve been told by quite a few people in the field that the approval process is very complicated. Counties have their barriers. Is your office looking into the issue of harmonizing the approval process?”

“We don’t know if we’re going to hit the goal, but we got to have a goal. We can’t just say we’re going to hope for the best. We’ve got to have a goal and work toward it,” said Ellison. “Some very important thing about our economy is the principle of creative destruction. We think, ‘Oh my goodness, this is industry, the oil industry; what’s going to happen?’ Well, what’s going to happen is new stuff is going to come up. People will innovate as they do all the time. People are innovative and creative and will make the proper adjustments, and as some industries go down, others always come up.”

Davis continued the conversation and brought up potential hardships that students might face when entering the workforce and joining the economy. 

He asked, “How do you think we can approach that as a community and as students?”

“We believe that you’re resilient, you’re creative and you’re going to find a way. My job is to help you navigate this economy and society in a way where you have a fair opportunity,” Ellison said. “We can make sure that you don’t have illegal, unfair barriers tripping you up. So this is why we brought lawsuits against some student loan lenders because we don’t want you to start out in your professional life with a massive debt burden that’s not even fair.”

The session ended with a Q&A session, where students were given an opportunity to ask additional questions.

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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