Saraswati Singh says she found her calling when she went to work as a prosecutor in St. Paul, trying some of the toughest cases in the criminal justice system.
“They’re so difficult, emotionally, and those cases can be harder to prosecute, just lots of pieces,” she said in an interview. “It’s really meaningful, and I feel lucky that victims can feel comfortable opening up to me to share some of the worst moments of their lives.”
Singh said that push for public safety, police accountability and a need for racial equity inspired her to jump into the 2022 race to succeed retiring Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman.
A New York native and the granddaughter of India’s former U.N. ambassador, Singh said the University of Minnesota Law School and the local legal community helped her feel at home, and a place to continue her family’s tradition of public service.
Singh has worked as an extern for U.S. District Court chief Judge John Tunheim, as a staffer in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis, working on civil rights cases, and as a law clerk for Hennepin County District Court Judge Jay Quam. Singh’s resume includes serving as assistant Minnesota attorney general, and as a member of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and as co-president of the Twin Cities chapter of the American Constitution Society.
Although she hasn’t been elected to office before or managed a large enterprise like the county attorney’s office, Singh believes she is ready.
“I have leadership experience, and I'm good at it. People follow me because they want to, because they know I am clear about what I want to do and I work collaboratively,” she said.
Former Hennepin County chief public defender Mary Moriarty, state Rep. Ryan Winkler and Richfield City Council member Simon Trautmann have announced they are running to succeed Freeman.
The county attorney’s office is nonpartisan, but there will likely be a partisan endorsement by DFLers in Hennepin County. They’ve scheduled a county convention, and possible endorsement, May 14. Singh says she’ll seek the endorsement but hasn’t decided if she’ll still run if she doesn’t get it.
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