Q&A with Goodhue County Attorney candidate Steve BetcherBetcher: Protect the public, uphold the rule of law
What are the most important functions of the county attorney's office?
The two most important functions of the office are protecting public safety and upholding the rule of law. The entire office works toward these goals on a daily basis. I am responsible for coordinating these efforts through division of the caseload, supervising and training attorneys, and trying cases myself.
I advise the County Board and county officials on their responsibilities under the Constitutions and laws of the United States and the state of Minnesota. Through the dedication of our skilled team, working with law enforcement and our elected and appointed officials, the goals of the office are met.
How would you, as county attorney, work to protect public safety?
I partner with law enforcement to aggressively investigate and prosecute criminal activity. I work to ensure that evidence is gathered and interrogations are done legally so that information obtained is admissible in court. I focus resources on violent crimes, sex offenses, gang crimes and other direct threats to citizens.
My efforts to prevent crime include developing seminars for senior citizens to educate them about financial scams. Additionally, I actively support DARE and anti-methamphetamine education programs and work with school liaison officers in threat assessment to assure that all school threats are immediately evaluated and students are kept safe.
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?
As county attorney I advise the Board of Commissioners and county department heads as to the legal requirements and implications of the policies and procedures they develop. I strive to offer impartial advice based on the law and on the most accurate factual information, research and resources available.
I advise county administration on the Open Meeting Law and Minnesota Government Data Practices statutes to assure that the County Board makes decisions based on facts and law, after meaningful public discussion has been held. Public participation coupled with comprehensive legal advice strengthens county policy decisions.
What differentiates you from your opponent?
Knowledge, skill and experience: I have 26 years of legal experience and lifelong roots in Goodhue County. I have been involved in the prosecution of every major criminal trial in the county for the last 20 years. I have trained the staff, managed the budget and advised the board. I answer the 3 a.m. phone calls from law enforcement.
There is nothing theoretical about my legal expertise, my managerial leadership or my commitment to protecting the public. Goodhue County is my home, personally and professionally, and I am honored to serve my community.