Hennepin County attorney primary/Saraswati Singh: I’m running because I care about our community

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My name is Saraswati Singh (pronounced sir-swa-tea) and I’m running for Hennepin County attorney.

The Hennepin County attorney is the top prosecutor and I’m a prosecutor. I deal with murder, sexual assault, carjackings, domestic violence cases and everything in between. I advocate for justice every step of the way, including jury trials and sentencing.

I’m running because I care. I live here, I work here and I love it here. I want to use my passion, skills and experience to make our community safer by making our criminal justice system more fair.

We have a rare opportunity to elect a new Hennepin County attorney. This will impact who, what and whether people are charged, including police officers. This will impact whether we are effectively addressing violent crimes. This will impact whether we address racial equity in the criminal justice system.

I’ve spent years fighting for justice in the courtroom. I handle the toughest cases as a prosecutor, working closely with victim-survivors on a daily basis in one of the largest counties in Minnesota. I work with little kid victim-survivors all the way to older folks, plus business owners, refugees and people of all ages, races and genders.

I intentionally gained criminal and civil legal experience. I managed a civil rights caseload for the US Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis. At the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, I worked in the Public Safety Division, traveling to 62 counties on civil and criminal cases. I’m a prosecutor in the Trial Division at the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. I’ve worked with Legal Aid, advocating for clients. And I’ve worked in Hennepin County itself for years. I know the people, the cases, the courtrooms and the sheriff deputies.

I have the leadership and management experience critical for the job. I was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz to oversee a state agency. We represent about 300,000 Minnesotans and as vice chair, I set vision, and manage staff and the budget.

I’ve run a government affairs department. As a prosecutor in a County Attorney’s Office, I recruit, hire and train attorneys. I was nominated by my colleagues and received the County Attorney’s Office Public Service award for leading difficult conversations on race and the law after George Floyd was murdered. Management recognized my work and for simultaneously handling a full caseload that included violent crimes. As a result, I was awarded the highest promotion a trial attorney could receive at the County Attorney’s Office.

I’ve been elected to four terms as co-president of the American Constitution Society-Minnesota Lawyer Chapter, earning a national leadership award, overseeing prosecutors, defense attorneys, civil attorneys and handling personnel issues. I graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, magna cum laude.

I have the life experience critical for this job. As a person of colour, I’ve experienced discrimination inside and outside the system and so have my parents and grandparents. The inequities of the criminal justice system are not theoretical or “data” to me. There are some life experiences you can’t teach. We need someone with these lived experiences to effectively work towards a more fair justice system.

My priorities are public safety, racial equity and police accountability. Informed by my life experiences, I understand that the criminal justice system cannot deliver on public safety and justice without addressing all three at the same time.

I will advocate and seek justice for all Hennepin County residents, including women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the victims and their families, our law enforcement who risk their lives on a daily basis, and those who suffer abuses at the hands of police and the justice system. I will protect a women’s right to choose and not prosecute women and doctors who provide health care.

We deserve a safe community for all Hennepin County residents. At this historic time, I’m here to meet the moment. I’m an experienced prosecutor, a Hindu and the daughter of Indian immigrants. I’m ready to be your next Hennepin County attorney.

Saraswati Singh is a Ramsey County prosecutor. She is one of seven candidates in the nonpartisan race for Hennepin County attorney. The top two finishers in the Aug. 9 primaries will move on to the general election in November.

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