Dakota County Attorney election between Kathy Keena and Matt Little

2022 Dakota County Attorney Election: Abortion

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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 philosophy, criminal justice reform, public safety, mental health, and drug policy. This time we’re asking about abortion.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, abortion has become even more front and center. While Minnesota currently allows abortion, a new governor and state legislature could change that. If you are elected and new abortion restrictions are enacted, will you enforce them? Will you cooperate with out-of-state agencies where abortion is restricted?

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)

If elected Dakota County Attorney, Matt Little will join the 83 elected prosecutors across the nation who have already agreed to not prosecute any abortion that follows the legal structure of Roe. The elected leaders’ statement says,

“Prosecutors make decisions every day about how to allocate limited resources and which cases to prosecute…. Enforcing abortion bans runs counter to the obligations and interests we are sworn to uphold. It will…take resources away from the enforcement of serious crime, and inevitably lead to the retraumatization and criminalization of victims of sexual violence.”

County Attorneys can, and will, play a role in the fight for bodily autonomy and privacy rights. Matt has made his stance clear: he will fight to change policy in partnership with women. Some of his top priorities include:

  • Matt will fight for a MN constitutional amendment explicitly protecting a woman’s right to choose, and everyone’s right to contraception
  • Matt will fight any attempt in MN and Dakota County to prosecute or extradite woman from other states seeking abortion, contraception or family planning services in MN
  • Matt will fight for expanded funding and access to family planning services in MN

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.

One comment

  1. Kathy Keena provided a complete answer in her note when she said that the role of the county attorney is – “…to oversee the appropriate enforcement of constitutionally sound laws enacted by our state legislature…”. Abortion is a sensitive and emotional issue but it is the legislature that will make any rule changes. I will not support a candidate for County Attorney who promises to selectively enforce the law.

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