Kathy Keena was appointed Dakota County attorney by the Board of Commissioners on May 11.

According to a press release, Keena most recently was chief deputy in the Dakota County Attorney’s Office and served as acting county attorney since February. She is the first woman to serve as Dakota County attorney.

The appointment process was reportedly prompted by the retirement of James Backstrom Feb. 27. Under state law, when the elected county attorney position is vacant mid-term, the board of commissioners appoints a qualified individual to serve as county attorney until the position can be filled by voters at the end of the current term. That will be the November 2022 election.

Keena was one of two finalists interviewed by the board. According to the release, the other finalist interviewed was Elizabeth Lamin, an assistant Ramsey County attorney. Thomas Pugh, a third finalist, withdrew prior to being interviewed.

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