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Press Room

NAAG Leadership Changes at Summer Meeting

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) June 21 during the annual Summer Meeting, and upon accepting office, announced his intent to examine “Privacy in the Digital Age” as his yearlong presidential initiative.

“The Digital Age has transformed everything we do, from buying groceries to boarding an airplane, from treating an illness to socializing with friends and family. These changes have raised some unique and significant challenges to privacy,” said Attorney General Gansler. “With this initiative, we will bring the energy and legal weight of this organization to investigate, educate and take necessary steps to ensure that the Internet’s major players protect the privacy of online consumers while balancing their legitimate business interests.”

The Association elects its officers yearly, through geographical rotation by region. Election of the four officers—President, President-Elect, Vice President and Immediate Past President—takes place at the annual NAAG Summer Meeting. This year’s meeting was held in Anchorage, Alaska.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was elected President-Elect, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood was elected Vice President, and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna became Immediate Past President for the 2012-2013 term.

In his outgoing presidential speech, Attorney General McKenna noted the accomplishments of his “Pillars of Hope” initiative to combat human trafficking.

“I’m humbled and honored by the support of all of my colleagues over the past year,” said Attorney General McKenna. “Working together, we have made significant progress in raising awareness of the problem, pushing this issue into the spotlight and charting a new course for our nation to strengthen its efforts to end human trafficking.”

This initiative will continue as a standing NAAG Committee under Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s leadership.

Attorney General McKenna said, “State attorneys general demonstrate that our successful bipartisan collaboration to confront serious problems – such as human trafficking and the foreclosure crisis – is now the norm.”

The NAAG Summer Meeting is also when annual awards are given. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers received the Kelley- Wyman Award, the Association’s most prestigious honor given annually to the Attorney General who has done the most to achieve NAAG objectives. A committee of Attorneys General makes the selection.

“The peer recognition makes this award so meaningful to me, and Attorney General McKenna’s remarks at the ceremony were very touching. Through the entire ceremony, I was thinking about the wonderful people—in Colorado and across the country—I have the honor of working with,” said Attorney General Suthers. “I have one of the greatest jobs in the world, and serving the People of Colorado is what motivates me every day. To receive this recognition from NAAG is humbling.”

President’s Awards were given to five Attorneys General who were instrumental in reaching the February 2012 landmark settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers. The recipients were Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The Francis X. Bellotti Award, given to a former Attorney General who has served the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (SAGE) and worked diligently to further NAAG’s vision and mission, was presented to former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.

The Attorney General Staff Member of the Year Award, given to those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, expertise and achievement in advancing NAAG goals, was awarded to Al Lama of the New Mexico Attorney General's Office and Phil Lehman of the North Carolina Department of Justice.

The National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI), the research and training arm of NAAG, honored Duffy Jamieson from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office

with the NAGTRI Faculty of the Year Award. This award is given annually to faculty members who have significantly contributed to developing and presenting quality programs for their counterparts in Attorneys General offices.

The Laurie Loveland Award was presented to Matthew Berge with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The award recognizes individuals who have helped to advance the work of Attorneys General on tobacco-related issues.

Individuals from the Alabama, California, District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Texas offices of the Attorneys General were recognized for excellence in brief writing for the U.S. Supreme Court. Recipients of the NAAG Supreme Court Best Brief Awards are Solicitor General John C. Neiman Jr., Deputy Solicitor General Prim F. Escalona, Deputy Solicitor General Andrew L. Brasher, Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Reiland, and Assistant Attorney General William G. Parker Jr. of Alabama; Solicitor General Manuel M. Medeiros, Senior Assistant Louis Verdugo, Deputy Attorney General Antonette Cordero, Deputy Attorney General, and Jose Zelidon-Zepeda of California; Solicitor General Todd Kim of the District of Columbia; Acting Solicitor General William F. Brockman, Assistant Attorney General Joshua N. Auerbach, and Assistant Attorney General Stephen M. Ruckman of Maryland; Solicitor General John J. Bursch, Chief Legal Counsel Richard A. Bandstra, Deputy Solicitor General B. Eric Restuccia, and Assistant Attorney General Brian O. Neill of Michigan; Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood, Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke, Deputy Solicitor General Cecelia C. Chang, and Assistant Solicitor General Steven C. Wu of New York; and Solicitor General Jonathan F. Mitchell, Assistant Solicitor General James P. Sullivan, and Assistant Solicitor General Arthur D. D’Andrea of Texas.

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Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, left, accepts presidential gavel from Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna.
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L to R: Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, Alaska Attorney Geneal Michael Geraghty and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
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Washington Attorney General McKenna presents Kelley-Wyman Award to Colorado Attorney General Suthers, right.