Dakota County Attorney election between Kathy Keena and Matt Little

2022 Dakota County Attorney Election: Public Safety

Thanks to Minnesota Locks for their support.

The county attorney is on the ballot this year in Dakota County, the first time the race has been contested since 1994. We’ve asked the candidates a series of questions to see where they stand on the issues. We’ll share one question and the responses at a time leading up to the general election on November 8. See our 2022 voter’s guide for more.

Previously we asked about guiding philosophycriminal justice reformmental healthabortion, and drug policy. This time we’re asking about public safety.

What trends in crime and public safety do you see today and how will you keep the community safe?

Here are the candidates’ responses:

Kathy Keena

(campaign site)

Editor’s note: Kathy Keena opted not to answer our questions and instead submitted the following note. (She did answer most of our questions during the primary.)

First let me thank you for contacting me regarding the questions for the West St. Paul Reader.  

That being said, my position as the Dakota County Attorney and the Oath of Office which I swore to uphold, require that my positions on matters of legislation and the law remain non-partisan. I truly believe that justice can only be served fully and appropriately by remaining such. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience answer your questionnaire. 

As the Dakota County Attorney, I must support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Minnesota. In that role, one of my primary responsibilities is to oversee the appropriate enforcement of constitutionally sound laws enacted by our state legislature and to seek justice for victims. I believe that the people of Dakota County expect this and will accept nothing less than objectivity, fairness and equity in carrying out the duties of the office. Anything else is partisanship and visual bias. 

Thank you to your readers for their understanding. 

Matt Little

(campaign site)

Matt will prioritize the following responsive public safety measures:

GUN SAFETY: When gun violence occurs in Dakota County, it’s up to the County Attorney to pursue justice for victims and their families. Matt’s extensive work on gun safety and gun violence as Mayor and a State Senator have given him a deep understanding of these issues and an established record of leadership to reduce needless gun violence while protecting the rights of gun owners. While the state of Minnesota has laws that govern the safe and legal usage of firearms, it falls to the County Attorney’s office to enforce measures that are already part of Minnesota state law. As Dakota County Attorney, he will enforce straw person purchaser laws and press state and federal legislators to pass background checks and red flag laws—proposals favored by over 88% of gun owners.

GOING AFTER DANGEROUS DRUGS: Working with law enforcement to detain and charge distributors of these dangerous substances is a key priority for Matt. Matt also understands that purely punitive policy only encourages disparities and closes the door on rehabilitation. This means working not only with the police, but also with addiction treatment organizations.

COMBATING THE RISE IN CARJACKINGS: Creating a special unit devoted to investigating carjackings, and appointing prosecutors dedicated to stopping these crimes will help arrest the criminals and deter future crimes. Matt will dedicate two office attorneys, one for adults and one for minors, that will ensure that carjackings will face consequences quickly.

Vote on November 8

The general election is on Tuesday, November 8. Learn more about where and how to vote. You can also vote early with an absentee ballot, either by mail or by stopping at the Dakota County offices.

See our 2022 voter’s guide for more on the candidates and other races.

Thank you to the candidates for taking the time to respond to our questions.

This local election coverage only happens thanks to the support of our members. Consider joining West St. Paul Reader to ensure local election coverage continues. Membership starts at just $3 per month.

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