Mary Moriarty has been in public service for 31 years. For six of those years she served as Chief Public Defender for Hennepin County. She says running for Hennepin County Attorney is her way of giving back to the community where she’s lived for most of her life.
“After George Floyd and the events that followed, I saw for the first time an opportunity for us to have a reckoning on not only race but also our criminal legal system,” said Moriarty. “I see it slipping away… and people need to step up.”
Moriarty says she wants to bring a trauma-informed approach to public safety, and offer restorative justice practices to victims. She says while Minnesota has a low incarceration rate, it has among the highest racial disparities in incarceration rates in the country.
“What we’ve been doing is not keeping people safe for decades and decades and decades,” she said. “It has criminalized many Black and brown youth. The system has done a great deal of harm.”
Moriarty says it’s important for young people to participate in local elections, because criminal law can have a huge impact on their lives.
“The county attorney's office pretty much controls whether somebody gets into the system and what happens to them. If you get some sort of felony conviction or as a youth you get some sort of juvenile adjudication, you may not be able to get a house, or rent any place, or get a job, because of that conviction.”
Early voting for the 2022 General Election in Minneapolis begins on Friday, September 23.
Editor’s note: Next week we’ll have a profile of Hennepin County Attorney candidate Martha Holton Dimick.