January 31, 2019 | Office of Attorney General Keith Ellison

Press Release

Attorney General Ellison names Solicitor General and Government Affairs Director

Liz Kramer to serve as Solicitor General and former State Rep. Carly Melin as Government Affairs Director on staff team helping Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity

January 31, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that he has selected Liz Kramer, a partner at Stinson Leonard Street, to serve as Minnesota Solicitor General. He also announced that former State Representative Carly Melin will join his staff as Government Affairs Director in the Office of the Attorney General.

“I’m proud to build a team that has proven their commitment to improving people’s lives. They will work with the many dedicated lawyers and staff of the Attorney General’s office to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity and respect,” Attorney General Ellison said.

Liz Kramer will start as Solicitor General on February 19. Kramer, a partner at Stinson Leonard Street with 15 years’ tenure, is a highly experienced and successful litigator, with a specialty in complex business and construction disputes. Kramer is an experienced appellate attorney, having handled dozens of appeals in Minnesota state courts alone. She is a past chair of the Appellate Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and co-founded the Appeals Self-Help Clinic at the Judicial Center, which assists people who are representing themselves in appellate courts. She is also a noted expert in the emerging field of arbitration law, and has published the award-winning “Arbitration Nation” blog since 2011.

Kramer was named Minnesota Lawyer’s “Attorney of the Year” in 2016, has been rated a “Super Lawyer” by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine for four consecutive years, and was previously named a “40 Under 40” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Kramer clerked for former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Helen Meyer and the Minnesota Office of Attorney General. She is admitted to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. She is a graduate of Yale Law School.

The Minnesota Solicitor General defends the constitutionality of laws passed by the Legislature, represents State agencies, boards, and officials in all appellate activity, and protects and saves taxpayer dollars by defending the State against claims for monetary judgments.

Carly Melin will start as Government Affairs Director on February 1. She has served most recently as executive director of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council, an association of labor unions that collectively represent more than 70,000 workers. From 2011–17, she represented the Iron Range as state representative for District 6A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. During her legislative tenure, she led efforts to pass the Women’s Economic Security Act and legalize medical marijuana, among others. She has also served as an assistant county attorney in St. Louis County. She will oversee the legislative agenda of the Office of the Attorney General and will work with federal, state, and local government officials.

Kramer and Melin join a staff team that is already at work helping Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity.

As announced on November 7, 2018, Donna Cassutt is serving as Attorney General Ellison’s Chief of Staff. Cassutt served as chief of staff to then-U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison immediately before joining the Office of the Attorney General. Before that, she served as executive director of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, an alignment of faith, labor and community organizations focused on economic and racial equity, for six years. Prior to that, Cassutt served as Associate Chair of the Minnesota DFL party from 2005–11. She oversees the communications, outreach, government affairs and policy work of the office.

As announced on December 28, 2018, John Keller will serve as Chief Deputy Attorney General. He will begin serving on February 1. Keller is completing more than 20 years at the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, where he has been the executive director since 2005. Under his leadership, ILCM has become Minnesota’s leading provider of free, high-quality, and comprehensive legal, policy, and education services for immigrants, immigrant families, and immigration-reform efforts. Keller has twice been named Minnesota Lawyer’s Attorney of the Year. He and ILCM have received many other honors and commendations. The Chief Deputy Attorney General serves as the number-two attorney in the Office of the Attorney General and oversees the day-to-day management of the legal work of the office. He and Chief of Staff Donna Cassutt will work with Attorney General Ellison to implement the Attorney General’s vision for the office to best serve the people of Minnesota.

Kramer, Melin, Cassutt, and Keller are joined in Attorney General Ellison’s office by the following staff members that have been serving in their roles since Ellison was sworn in as Minnesota’s 30th attorney general on January 7, 2109.

Keaon Dousti is serving as Attorney General Ellison’s Outreach Coordinator. In that role, he will ensure that all Minnesotans are included in Attorney General Ellison’s work and priorities. Before joining the office, he served as organizing director for then-Rep. Ellison’s campaigns for Congress and Attorney General. He also previously worked for the Minnesota DFL Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for president. Dousti is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Sadaf Rahmani is serving as Policy Research Associate. In her role, she helps advance Attorney General Ellison’s top policy priorities through research and community engagement. Before joining the office, she worked in then-Rep. Ellison’s congressional office, where she held many roles. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and holds a master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of London.

John Stiles is serving as Deputy Chief of Staff. He manages communications and outreach and is currently serving as the media point of contact for the Attorney General’s office. He also assists Chief of Staff Donna Cassutt in management and strategy. Stiles previously served as chief of staff for former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, communications director for former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and communications director at the Minnesota DFL Party.

Jillian Sully is serving as Attorney General Ellison’s Executive Assistant and Scheduler. She joined the Attorney General’s office after 10 years of service with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where she managed complex administrative functions for principals and staff, and served as a point of contact for internal and external customers and community organizations, among other duties. She received a variety of recognitions for her work there. She also served as the elected president of Local 1969 of the American Federation of Government Employees.