Q&A with Goodhue County Attorney candidate Victoria MuchaMucha: Advocate for public safety, provide unbiased advice
What are the most important functions of the county attorney's office?
Two key responsibilities of the county attorney are to zealously advocate for public safety in criminal and juvenile delinquency cases and provide comprehensive, unbiased legal advice on civil matters to county departments. The county attorney is a unique office - while the county attorney is publicly elected, this office should not be subject to partisan politics.
In a time of strained budgets, an added responsibility of the county attorney is to innovative and collaborate with law enforcement, judges, social services, and probation, and even public defenders when appropriate, to ensure effective and efficient resolution of overflowing caseloads.
How would you, as county attorney, work to protect public safety?
As county attorney I will protect public safety and provide justice by zealously and fairly prosecuting crime. I will use judgment in charging and trying criminal cases to remove dangerous offenders from the community. In lower-level offenses not calling for extended incarceration, I will support probation in providing accountability, appropriate consequences, and social services to offenders in the community in order to decrease recidivism.
I will work to provide sufficient crime victim advocacy and services within the county attorney's office. Finally, I will collaborate with social services to provide safety for all children in child protection cases.
The county attorney acts as a legal adviser to county officials as they shape public policy. How would you use your role to ensure sound policy decisions?
First, I will ensure that elected officials and county departments receive training on the different roles of elected officials and county employees as well as the services and duties of the county attorney related to their work.
Next, in public matters, legal opinions requested by elected officials will be provided publicly. Where possible, they will explain the range of options and not narrowly answer the question asked. These opinions will be careful to provide information and legal bounds without political influence.
Additionally, the county attorney's office will be present at public hearings to explain legal opinions and field questions.
What differentiates you from your opponent?
I bring new ideas from various experiences in prosecution, defense, public policy, and organizational leadership. I will maintain a tight budget while dedicating resources and grants to important projects, such as a renewed focus on early and innovative interventions with truancy, as chronic truancy can be an early indicator of future criminal behavior.
Additionally, an increased involvement in the Minnesota County Attorney Association will allow Goodhue County prosecutors to benefit from the collective experience and expertise of Minnesota prosecutors. Finally, I will continue to improve the public safety and public good by guiding the county commissioners in sound, legal decisions.