Mille Lacs Assistant County Attorney Mark Herzing threw his hat into the ring as a candidate for county attorney for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which was people asked him to.
“People made the request that I run after they saw the candidate pool,” Herzing said. “I believe they were expressing belief in the things that I can do for Mille Lacs County.”
Herzing believes he has several qualities that those who asked him to run said would make him a good candidate for county attorney.
“I think I have a broad experience, at all sorts of levels, and all different kinds of issues that are facing the county,” Herzing said.
Herzing said that he has lot of trial experience, as well as experience at levels of courts including the state Supreme Court and throughout the federal court system. He said he has experience in the past 10 years with Mille Lacs County working with other county departments, the County Board and the Sheriff’s Office.
“I think that I’m uniquely qualified for this position and that I have the experience that others lack in the things that are relevant to this office,” Herzing said. “Specifically trial experience and working with other departments.”
One specific case that Herzing believes puts him ahead of other candidates is his pending proposal for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“I don’t know if there is another attorney in the state that has done as extensive a job of working on an issue as I have with this report,” Herzing said.
Perhaps Herzing’s most unique piece of background for the job is that he was involved in education.
“I come to this with not just my law school degree. Prior to being a lawyer, I was a full-time teacher,” Herzing said. “I have a teaching license and work with families in different capacities, not just seeing families as defendants or victims.”
He said that his work as a teacher really helps as an attorney in an unique way.
“That experience teaching, helps remind me who I serve every day as an assistant county attorney,” Herzing said. “It’s not just about defendants and jail, it’s about people and people trying to do the best for their families, and how can the government make that happen.”
Herzing also stated that he has taken various law courses, seminars and other trainings after finishing school and has put those things that he has learned to practical use.
Why Herzing is
As for the reasons that Herzing decided to run besides being asked, his main concern with the current state of affairs hinges on conviction rates. He said that to his knowledge, in 2014, not one felony case in Mille Lacs County has ended in a jury conviction. Yet, there have been six acquittals in that same time frame. He believes that a poor success rate such as that is not what the citizens want.
“It is about time the community had a discussion about effectiveness, because failed convictions are a public safety risk,” Herzing said.
He has noticed a swelling budget, a poor conviction rate and a bad reputation for openness and fairness, which helped persuade him into the race.
However, the biggest reason is much more simple.
“This is a community that I care about, and a community that I have spent a number of years working for in different capacities,” Herzing said. “I want the opportunity to continue to serve, and I think I can continue to help more people.”
Goals if elected
Herzing said that he has some pretty simple goals if he is indeed elected as Mille Lacs county attorney.
“I want to serve the people fairly. I want to serve the people effectively, and I want to serve the people efficiently,” Herzing said. “I think people can recognize when people are trying to be fair, and I think people respect that and want to see that happen.”
Herzing added, “I think that any government owes it to the residents to be effective and efficient.”
Another big goal he would like to see accomplished would be a level of transparency and honesty, which would include an open dialogue with the people.
“I would also like to see a level of openness in my service as county attorney,” Herzing said. “I want to see the budget and current effectiveness discussed more, because I think that in discussing those things is what advances them in the public good.”
Herzing has his chance on Aug. 12 as the county attorney’s race between Herzing, Jan Jude and Joe Walsh goes into the primary. The top two candidates from that will face off in the general election in November.