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Kansas Attorney General Is New NAAG President

June 23, 2017

Washington, DC---Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) during its Summer Meeting, June 20-22 in Big Sky, Mont. The NAAG leadership transition took place last night. The Association’s members are the 56 state and territorial attorneys general.

“The National Association of Attorneys General offers a forum for the nation’s chief state and territorial legal officials to focus on issues that unite us,” Attorney General Schmidt said. “Commitment to issues like the rule of law, protecting vulnerable citizens from exploitation, the importance of states in our federal system, and promoting legal professionalism, are unaffected by political party affiliation or regional differences and are the real strength of our organization. I look forward to focusing on those sorts of matters that unite us during the coming year.”

 AG Schmidt said his 2017-2018 NAAG Presidential Initiative, which he will announce in July, will focus attention on an important issue that unites attorneys general across political and regional lines.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen concluded his 2016-2017 NAAG presidential term by acknowledging the work done on the year-long initiative, “Evolving Challenges in the American Health Care Marketplace.”

“It has been my honor to serve as NAAG president for the past year,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “NAAG truly embodies the spirit of collegiality that I believe empowers attorneys general, regardless of their political affiliation, to best serve the interest of their constituents in upholding and enforcing the law. I'm also extremely proud of the positive response to my presidential initiative, which I hope was both informative and helpful to fellow attorneys general and staff as we continue to address the rapid changes in our healthcare system. My congratulations to incoming president, Derek Schmidt; I look forward to working with him as he leads NAAG in the coming year.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry was elected President-Elect, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was elected Vice President, and Attorney General Jepsen became Immediate Past President for the 2017-2018 term.

The Association also announced its annual award winners:

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen was the recipient of 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.

The Attorney General Senior Staff Member of the Year Award, given to those who have provided exceptional service to NAAG and the attorneys general through exemplary leadership, expertise and achievement, was awarded to Deputy Attorney General James E. Cantor of the Alaska Department of Law and Assistant Chief Deputy Brian Kane of the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General Career Staff of the Year Award was awarded to Kevin Coakley-Welch, law librarian in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Executive Assistant Jean Marie Leisher of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and Timothy Sylwester, senior assistant attorney general and chief counsel to the District Attorneys Appellate Division of the Oregon Department of Justice.  

The National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI), a NAAG branch, honored Christine Hoffman, deputy director of the Criminal Justice Division in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and Dan Edwards, senior assistant attorney general on the Colorado Department of Law’s Violent Crime Assistance Team 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 legal training for their counterparts in attorneys general offices.

Individuals from the California, District of Columbia, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Texas offices of the attorney general were recognized for excellence in brief writing for the U.S. Supreme Court. Recipients of the 2017 NAAG Supreme Court Best Brief Awards are:

California:  Brief in opposition in The Gillette Co. v. California Franchise Tax Board. Authors were Solicitor General Edward DuMont, Deputy Solicitor General Kathleen Boergers, and Deputy Attorney General Lucy Wang.

District of Columbia:  Cert petition in District of Columbia v. Wesby. Authors were Solicitor General Todd Kim, Deputy Solicitor General Loren AliKhan, and Assistant Attorney General Carl Schifferle.

Florida: Brief in opposition in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Biegalski. Authors were Deputy Solicitors General Rachel Nordby, Denise Harle, Jordan Pratt, and Jonathan Williams.

Michigan: Cert petition in Snyder v. Does #1-5. Authors were Solicitor General Aaron Lindstrom and Assistant Solicitor General Kathryn Dalzell.

Ohio: Brief for respondent at certiorari stage in National Association of Manufacturers v. U.S. Department of Defense. Author was State Solicitor Eric Murphy.

Texas:  Merits brief for respondent in Davila v. Davis. Authors were Solicitor General Scott Keller, Deputy Solicitor General J. Campbell Barker, and Assistant Solicitors General Heather Gebelin Hacker and Jason LaFond.

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 SAGE’s vision and mission, was presented to former Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch.

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.

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG),, was founded in 1907 to help attorneys general fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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