Dana Nessel

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Dana Nessel
Dana Nessel 20190202 110126.jpg
54th Attorney General of Michigan
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
GovernorGretchen Whitmer
Preceded byBill Schuette
Personal details
Born (1969-04-19) April 19, 1969 (age 50)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Alanna Maguire
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BA)
Wayne State University (JD)

Dana Nessel (born April 19, 1969) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 54th Attorney General of Michigan. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Nessel is the first openly LGBT person elected to statewide office in Michigan.

Early life and legal career[edit]

In 1987, Nessel graduated from West Bloomfield High School in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. She played soccer and was named All-State. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School.[1] She worked as a prosecutor in the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.[2][3]

In 2014, Nessel successfully argued for the plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, which declared that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional;[4] the case was eventually combined with others and appealed to the Supreme Court as Obergefell v. Hodges. In 2016, she founded Fair Michigan, a nonprofit organization that supports LGBT rights.[1]

Michigan Attorney General[edit]

In 2018, Nessel won the Democratic Party nomination for Michigan Attorney General over Patrick Miles Jr.,[4][5] and defeated Republican Tom Leonard and three other candidates in the general election. She succeeded term-limited Republican Bill Schuette who ran unsuccessfully for the office of governor.[6]

Nessel was sworn into office on January 1, 2019.[7] She is the first openly gay person and first openly LGBT person elected to statewide office in Michigan.[8][9] She is the first Democrat to serve as attorney general since Jennifer Granholm left the office in 2003, a gap of 16 years.[10]

Upon taking office, Nessel joined two federal lawsuits against a 2017 rule change to the Affordable Care Act by the Trump administration which exempted moral or religious groups from providing contraceptive coverage for employees.[11][12] She said that one of the top priorities of her office would be to scrutinize two bills passed in 2018 during the lame-duck session which loosened environmental regulations in Michigan.[13]

Nessel also withdrew Michigan from federal lawsuits initiated by Schuette.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Nessel is Jewish.[15] She and her wife Alanna Maguire have twin sons, Alex and Zach.[16]

Electoral History[edit]

Michigan Attorney General election, 2018[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Dana Nessel 2,021,797 49.01% +4.82%
Republican Tom Leonard 1,909,171 46.28% -5.83%
Libertarian Lisa Lane Giola 86,692 2.10% +0.24%
Independent Chris Graveline 69,707 1.69% N/A
Taxpayers Gerald Van Sickle 38,103 0.92% -0.08%
Majority 112,626 2.73% -5.19%
Turnout 4,125,470 +34.07%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing


  1. ^ a b Gray, Kathleen (October 19, 2018). "Dana Nessel run for Michigan Attorney General: What fuels her". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  2. ^ "Dana Nessel: To fight for environment, most vulnerable as Attorney General". Bridge Magazine. September 17, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Counts, John (October 18, 2018). "Dana Nessel hopes to bring power to the people as Michigan attorney general". MLive.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Gray, Kathleen (April 15, 2018). "Dana Nessel wins Democratic endorsement for Michigan attorney general". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Lawler, Emily (August 26, 2018). "Michigan Dems make it official with Dana Nessel as AG candidate". MLive.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  6. ^ "Schuette: No direct talks with Nessel, no regrets on election loss". Detroitnews.com. December 17, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Gretchen Whitmer inaugurated as Michigan's 49th governor". mlive.com. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Elliot Imse. "Dana Nessel Becomes First Out LGBTQ Person Elected Statewide in Michigan; Second Attorney General in U.S. – LGBTQ Victory Fund". Victoryfund.org. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "LGBTQ History: Dana Nessel Becomes Michigan's First Openly Gay Attorney General – Pride Source". Pridesource.com. September 5, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  10. ^ Eggert, David (November 7, 2018). "Whitmer sworn in as Michigan's 49th governor | State News". theoaklandpress.com. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  11. ^ "Nessel joins legal challenge to Obamacare birth control mandate exemptions". Detroit News. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "AG: Michigan to challenge rules allowing employers to deny birth control coverage". WXYZ. January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "AG Nessel to scrutinize new lame duck environmental laws". mlive.com. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  14. ^ https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/01/31/nessel-nixes-state-involvement-8-federal-lawsuits/2735691002/
  15. ^ "Penis joke helped lesbian lawyer Dana Nessel get elected as Michigan attorney general - PinkNews · PinkNews". www.pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Lessenberry, Jack (April 27, 2018). "Dana Nessel makes a run for Michigan attorney general". The Blade. Toledo, OH. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "2018 Michigan Official General Election Results - 11/06/2018". Mielections.us. Retrieved January 1, 2019.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Bill Schuette
Attorney General of Michigan