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Olmsted County Attorney candidates square-off in debate

As we inch closer to the November election, candidates are pulling all the stops to get the vote.

Incumbent Mark Ostrem and challenger Senior Assistant County Attorney Geoff Hjerleid are running for Olmsted County Attorney and squared off Thursday at 125 Live in Rochester.

This election marks the first contested race for county attorney since 2008.

They touched on a wide range of important topics trying to create a clear choice for voters, including perspectives on the relationship between law enforcement and the county attorney office, race and persecution, immigration, and how they envision the county attorney’s role in the community’s domestic violence response.

Ostrem has been the Olmsted county attorney for 12 years. “Find a way to reach out to these events, in a way that we can keep our victims safe, and help the offenders learn to be safe in their relationships and to be safe in our community,” he said.

Hjerleid has served as both a criminal and civil prosecutor in Olmsted County for 22 years.

“We will have a specific goal towards prosecuting domestic violence, holding offenders accountable, and when you hold offenders accountable, that’s when you make the victim safe,” said Hjerleid.

Both emphasized a need for the county attorney to form strong partnerships…not just with law enforcement, but public and private agencies, and the court system, to ensure public safety.

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