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BEST POLITICIAN Minneapolis 2000 - Mike Hatch's

Never mind whether state Attorney General Mike Hatch's corporate watchdoggery is motivated by altruism or political self-interest: We're just glad someone has come along who's willing to split hairs and pick nits on behalf of Minnesota consumers. The Duluth native and former sailor did battle with the insurance industry way back in the Eighties, when he headed Rudy Perpich's Department of Commerce. Later, as an attorney in private practice, he earned himself a reputation as the go-to man for folks with health-insurance problems. Most recently he's been making the Attorney General's Office a citizen-friendly place: Since Hatch's election in 1998 we've called about an intractable problem with a local megabank, an auto-insurance company that wouldn't pay up, and a too-good-to-be-true offer from a mortgage company. Hatch's crack attorneys didn't fix the snafus for us, but they answered their own phones and patiently doled out self-help advice. The AG Office's Web site offers answers to frequently asked questions about consumer and legal affairs and even boasts a scam-of-the-month alert.

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