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I began my legal career in the Hennepin County Public Defender's Office in 1985, moved to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office in 1994, and served as a prosecutor under both Amy Klobuchar and Mike Freeman until 2018. I have known Mary Moriarty since she was a law clerk in the Public Defender's Office, where she immediately impressed me with her intelligence and tenacity.

In my opinion, Moriarty may be the most qualified candidate ever to run for the office of Hennepin County attorney ("Advance Dimick, Winkler in race to be top prosecutor," Star Tribune Editorial Board endorsement, July 31). Not only has Mary led the second-largest public law office in the state for six years as the chief public defender in the county, she is also nationally known as a gifted trainer and teacher of both defense attorneys and prosecutors alike. As county attorney, she will swear to uphold the laws of the state of Minnesota and the Constitution of the United States and to always seek justice, regardless of where that takes her.

Moriarty has devoted her entire legal career to the pursuit of justice. As a former public defender, she brings to the office a broad spectrum of experience and exposure to a world unknown to most prosecutors. Under her leadership, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office can better bring a trauma-informed approach to public safety. She recognizes that unaddressed trauma can lead to behavioral and physical health conditions, including mental health issues — anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress — and substance use, which can lead to contact with the criminal justice system. As a former public defender and prosecutor myself, I can state unequivocally that her defense background will make her a better county attorney.

During my last seven years in the county attorney's office, I was a senior attorney in the Mental Health Division, and in that capacity, I served with Moriarty on a multiagency committee that worked on criminal justice for persons who suffered from mental illness. Although we didn't always agree on everything, I admired her devotion to justice, her vision, and her collaborative approach to problem-solving rooted in research and data.

In addition to Moriarty's extensive experience, she constantly builds bridges and alliances with a wide variety of people. The breadth of people and organizations who have endorsed her campaign shows that she is a tested leader who embraces community and will represent it with passion and fairness. It also demonstrates her ability to successfully partner with community organizations, schools, law enforcement and other levels of government on evidence-based prevention and intervention approaches to address the underlying causes of violence.

As a former prosecutor in the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, I can think of no one more suited to be the next Hennepin County attorney than Mary Moriarty.

Carla Hagen is a former assistant Hennepin County attorney. Mary Moriarty is one of seven candidates in the nonpartisan race for Hennepin County attorney. The top two finishers in the Aug. 9 primary will move on to the general election in November.