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We have all been through a great deal in the past two and half years, including the COVID pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the global protests that followed. Gun violence has been on the rise, and many in our community are understandably concerned or fearful about their safety.

My job as the next Hennepin County attorney will always be to keep everyone safe. Full stop. I will focus our resources on prosecuting violent crime, and especially gun violence. As I have done for my entire career, I will tirelessly seek justice for the people of Hennepin County and do the just and fair thing in each and every case.

I hear and understand our community's call for action and for change because the status quo is not working. To address our current crisis, we need to do more.

We need more accountability, more safety in our streets, and more trust and cooperation between police and the community. We need more data-driven solutions, more restorative options and more leadership with integrity.

We need more justice in the criminal justice system.

We need to fully fund public safety. In addition to police, we need better mental health responses, effective opioid treatment, more services for youth and violence prevention. I strongly support the Public Safety Innovation Act passed by the Minnesota House earlier this year that would fund all of these priorities, and I am proud to have the endorsement of House Public Safety Committee Chair Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, and Vice Chair Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope.

As Hennepin County attorney, I will depend on good police work to successfully prosecute those responsible for violent crime. I will partner with law enforcement to improve processes and accountability so that prosecutions aren't jeopardized. Unethical and illegal police conduct can threaten prosecutions and make our communities less safe. And, if a police officer breaks the law, they need to be held accountable just like anyone else.

We need a county attorney who will effectively prosecute violent crime to deliver accountability, but we also need to address root causes of violence and break these cycles before they repeat. We need a county attorney who will work with local leaders to build successful community safety and violence prevention strategies. Throughout this campaign and my career, I have built partnerships with public safety leaders from around the county to learn from their innovative work, particularly in suburban cities.

With 30 years of experience in Hennepin County's criminal legal system, including six leading the second-largest public law office in the state, I am the only candidate in this race who will be ready to lead this office on day one. I have taught new prosecutors at the University of Minnesota and at Harvard, exposed racially biased marijuana stings in downtown Minneapolis, and had one of my cases argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court.

My campaign represents a modern vision for public safety and justice in Hennepin County — one that will create more safety for everyone through data-driven, research-backed strategies that make our criminal legal system smarter and more just for everyone — whether you live in Bloomington, Minneapolis or Maple Grove.

My experience and that vision for justice have earned me the support of a broad, diverse, countywide coalition. I'm proud to have the endorsement of the Minnesota DFL Party, Moms Demand Action, Vote Pro Choice, Attorney General Keith Ellison, State Auditor Julie Blaha, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and over 40 state legislators, mayors, city council members and school board members across Hennepin County.

My pledge to you as your next county attorney is to work tirelessly for safety and justice: to prosecute violent crime, hold everyone accountable under the law, and make our cities safer for all. With early voting underway, I ask for your support and your vote by Nov. 8.

Mary Moriarty is a former chief public defender for Hennepin County and a candidate for Hennepin County attorney.