Photo 2: Spokeswoman Jen Eyer introduces Pat Miles (far right) at the Detroit press conference announcing his candidacy. Second from right is Mark Totten, who ran as the Democratic candidate for Attorney General in 2014, and who says he is a staunch supporter of Miles.
by Cynthia Price
When Patrick A. Miles, Jr., left his position as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan in January, he told the Grand Rapids Legal News, “I’m giving it a lot of thought, but if I run again it would most likely be in a statewide race.”
The time for thinking has ended and the time for action begun, as Miles has thrown his hat into the ring for Michigan Attorney General.
During press conferences held in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit, Miles vowed he would be “The People’s Lawyer.”
“I will work to build bridges, and to help people in Michigan, from consumer protections to the opioid epidemic,” he said.
In a statement, Miles said, “We live in dangerous times and the office of Michigan Attorney General is more important than ever before. Michigan needs an attorney general who sees injustice in Flint or anywhere else and stands up to protect people regardless of their race, income, or who they love.”
He added that he felt the current Attorney General, Bill Schuette, who is not running for reelection, had wasted taxpayer dollars on “ideological” pursuits that were not in the best interest of Michigan.
Mark Totten, the 2014 candidate for Attorney General who got 44% of the vote despite Schuette, who has held many offices and governmental positions, having a lot of name recognition (and who got 52%), was among the supporters present. Others included the candidate’s mother, a former Grand Rapids Public schoolteacher, and his father, who worked in middle management for Steelcase.
Miles graduated from Aquinas College, and, as many people know, from Harvard Law School where one of his classmates was Barack Obama. Miles was the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Record, an independent paper circulating news about the law school.
From there, he became a partner at Varnum and, at 29, the firm’s first African-American partner. Miles followed that up practicing at Dickinson Wright.
Among his many community contributions, Miles established a scholarship for outstanding minority students to pursue a career in education or business, in honor of his parents.
But, as Miles points out, as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan he established a track record that speaks louder than words about what he will do as Attorney General of Michigan.
His accomplishments include vigorous and successful prosecution of offenders in child sex trafficking; prosecuting violent crime in the cities, work that resulted in, for example, disbanding the Latin Kings gang in Holland; creating prisoner re-entry programs to help avoid recidivism; working on law enforcement-community relations and working with law enforcement to warn teens of potential consequences of criminal activity.
“I wanted the... office to be proactive, not just to prosecute criminals but also to prevent crimes from happening in the first place, both because of the cost and because of the victims suffering,” Miles said at the time.
At the announcement press conference, Miles said, “I’m a strong believer in the rule of law, and I’ll be a tough prosecutor when the law is broken. But I will never sit by silently when I see injustice.”
Already having declared their candidacy are Democrat Dana Nessel and Republican Tonya Schuitmaker, with others expected. Candidates will be selected by the party conventions.
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