Mark Totten for Michigan Attorney General

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Michigan, the son of a single-parent and first-grade public school teacher. After paying my way through college, I graduated from Yale University with my law degree and a Ph.D. in Ethics. Before returning home, I served in the U.S. Dept. of Justice and clerked on a federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C. Today I am a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law and recently stepped down from serving as a federal prosecutor. I'm married to Kristin, an advocate for children with disabilities, and have two children -- Grace (age 7) and Jake (age 5).

Why am I running?

I'm running to give Michigan an Attorney General who protects families and to stop a politician who has done immeasurable harm and will otherwise be running for Governor in four years. The current officeholder, Bill Schuette, is arguably one of the most far-right AG's in the nation. He's asked courts to allow CEOs to deny insurance coverage for contraception; he organized state AGs across the nation to oppose limits on greenhouse gases, he vigorously opposed marriage equality in a circus of a trial that gained national attention, and he has strongly supported restrictions on organized labor. As AG, I will take on predatory and discriminatory lenders that devastated families across this state -- as well as the investment banks that financed them; I'll protect our Great Lakes and great outdoors; I'll work to restore consumer protections in Michigan; and I'll be a voice for people who otherwise would have no access to justice.

My Goals

(1) Restore Michigan's consumer protection law. Every state in the nation has such a law, except for Michigan since the law was gutted by the state supreme court. The balance between the rights of corporations and the rights of individuals is badly out of balance and as AG I'll use the informal powers of my office to push the legislature to restore the law.
(2) Form a financial crimes strike force that will take on not only the small, local wrongdoers, but join with other states where appropriate to take on the large financial and other institutions that have caused so much harm in the years leading up to and during the Great Recession.
(3) Protect Michigan's Great Lakes, especially from emerging threats like the 65-year old oil sands pipeline that travels under the Straits of Mackinac.

My DFA Values

As a former federal prosecutor, I was blessed to protect the public from armed criminals, women from domestic abusers, seniors from predatory lenders, and children from sexual predators. As Attorney General I'll embody this same commitment to the value of security. And I'll carry with me an understanding of crime that includes not only violent crime and sexual crime, but financial and other white collar crimes that have devastated so many families across Michigan.

At the same time, I'll also be a champion for liberty. I'll defend the state FOIA law and other laws to ensure transparent government. I'll use my formal opinion powers to close the gap right now that potentially allows government workers to use private emails to avoid FOIA accountability. And I'll also strengthen our campaign finance rules by using my regulatory powers to require all 501(c)(4)'s and other nonprofits spending otherwise dark money on elections to disclose the sources of their funds when spending on state elections.

My Campaign is People Powered!

While I have taken very seriously my outreach to key stakeholders within the party, my campaign from the start has been grassroots-driven. I started a full 20 months before the General Election and since then have traveled to over 70 counties, with more than 300 stops, traveling more than 25,000 miles, to talk to over 10,000 people about why the office of attorney general matters, the harm done by the current officeholder, and my vision for reform. Along the way I've signed up volunteers at every stop and built a grassroots organization that cares about winning this office in 2014. I'm continuing to build this organization and will do so until the election.

Voice support


  • Dorothy Johnson, MI
  • Scott Urbanowski, MI
  • Timothy Johnson

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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