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Baker sworn in as new Kandiyohi County Attorney

Shane Baker was appointed Kandiyohi County Attorney on Tuesday and will fill the unexpired term of Jenna Fischer. Baker said that in his more than 12 years of experience working under five different county attorneys, he has dealt with a broad array of cases. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

WILLMAR — Shane Baker was sworn in Tuesday as the new Kandiyohi County Attorney.

He will fill the unexpired term of Jenna Fischer, who resigned this month after she was appointed to serve as an Eighth Judicial District judge.

After a unanimous vote of appointment by the Kandiyohi County Board, Baker said he was “humbled by the moment” and recognized the “great responsibility” that comes with the County Attorney’s Office of providing “justice in the community.”

Two other assistant Kandiyohi County attorneys — Stephen Wentzell and Dain Olson — had also sought appointment for the position.

An interview committee made up of County Administrator Larry Kleindl, Kandiyohi County Commissioners Roger Imdieke and Jim Butterfield, Sheriff Dan Hartog, Community Corrections Director Deb West, Health and Human Services Director Ann Stehn and Human Resources Director Lynn Travaglio recommended that Baker be appointed to the position.

Baker said he intends to file for election next year to seek a full four-year term as county attorney.

Baker, 43, grew up in Kandiyohi County and is a 1989 graduate of New London-Spicer High School.

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and his law degree from Hamline University School of Law in 1997.

He has served as an assistant Kandiyohi County attorney for the last eight years.

Before moving home to Kandiyohi County in 2005, Baker worked as a judicial law clerk for Judge Jon Stafsholt in Pope County and worked in county attorney’s offices in Mahnomen County and Renville County.

In his letter of application Baker said that in his more than 12 years of experience working under five different county attorneys, he has dealt with a broad array of cases typically handled by a county attorney, ranging from all levels of criminal prosecution to family service matters.

“I have seen what makes a county and a county attorney’s office work and what makes it suffer,” he wrote in his letter of application.

“The county attorney needs to be a person of steadfast dedication, a person available to meet and assist the other departments, open and willing to put in the hard work to get the job done.”

Baker said an effective county attorney also needs a “commitment to teamwork.”

In a biography he provided, Baker said he sits on a number of boards, including the Kandiyohi County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, the Domestic Violence Risk Assessment team, the Children’s Justice Initiative and the Minnesota Alliance on Crime. He is also a leading member of the Restitution Working Group, created during the 2013 legislative session to study how criminal restitution is ordered and collected by the courts in Minnesota.

He attends Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar and serves on its social concerns committee.

He currently serves on the board of the Willmar Area Food Shelf.

He has also captained fundraising teams for American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and for Safe Avenues and its campaign called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

Baker lives in Willmar with his wife, Kasey, and their 8-month-old son, Alexander.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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