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Dakota County Attorney Vacancy Filled

Update: On May 11 the Dakota County Board of Commissioners appointed Kathy Keena as Dakota County Attorney. The position will be on the ballot in 2022. Media coverage of the appointment is available from Sun ThisWeek, the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press, and the Northfield News.

Background Information

On March 23 the Dakota County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to select three finalists to fill the vacancy resulting from the retirement of Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

The three finalists included:

  • Kathy Keena, the acting Dakota County Attorney who has worked for the Dakota County Attorney's Office since April 2000;

  • Elizabeth Lamin, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who has worked for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office since July 2008; and

  • Thomas Pugh, a Minnesota district court senior judge who served as a Dakota County District Court judge from December 2011 through August 2019.

More information about the finalists is available here. Mr. Pugh withdrew before being interviewed by the Board.

On April 21 the ACLU of Minnesota, the NAACP Minneapolis, Jewish Community Action, Gender Justice, and the Coalition of Asian American Leaders hosted a forum to hear from the finalists to fill the vacancy. The video is available here (Facebook). Kathy Keena was unable to attend but provided written responses to a set of pre-selected questions, which are available here.

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