Letter to the Editor: February 19, 2014


I have been with the County Attorney's Office representing the citizens of Wright County for 30 years, the past 16 as your elected County Attorney. I am announcing my bid for re-election because I desire and would consider it an honor to continue serving as your County Attorney. The goal of the County Attorney's Office is to promote justice, public safety and effective government by prosecuting crime, protecting those in need and providing the best possible legal advice to Wright County.
I have been married for 34 years to my high school sweetheart, Holly. We have been blessed with two children, Megan, 25, and Matthew, 22. We have lived in Buffalo for the past 29 years and continue to believe Wright County is a great place to live and raise a family. We enjoy sports and fishing. We are members of Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo. I am a member of the Buffalo Lions, President of the Wright County Law Library Board, member of the Wright County Criminal Justice Team Committee, Secretary of the Wright County Leadership Team and a Director on the Board for Safe Communities of Wright County. Previously,  I served four years as a Director on the Board for the Community Health Foundation of Wright County.
I have experience in prosecuting crime, grand jury presentations, civil duties, administering, setting policy, supervising, delegating, hiring, working flow charts and the budgeting process. I have a great support staff, legal administrative assistants and assistant county attorneys who work hard at representing the citizens of Wright County. My office would not be what it is without my Office Manager, Cindy Hohl, Chief Deputy, Brian Asleson, and Chief of Criminal, Brian Lutes. Jenny Paripovich, runs my Victim/Witness Assistance Program. She does a great job aiding victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and other crimes in understanding the criminal process, obtaining restitution, providing support, making appropriate referrals and providing a forum where the victim's concerns are respectfully considered. Our office has a good working relationship with the County Board and other departments,  and we have been responsive in a timely fashion for both civil and criminal matters.
I sit on Safe School Committees throughout the county, dealing with issues that affect the education/safety of our children. I have been a recipient of the Kurt Weiche Friends of Education Award for School District 877. My office participates in a "Stop Truancy Program." Every year I speak at many schools throughout Wright County talking about life, our great country, our criminal justice system, sexting, drugs, alcohol and what it takes to be a good citizen.  I have now spoken to more than 10,000 students. Also, I have participated with schools that conduct Mock Crash programs during prom season to raise the awareness on the dangers of minor consumption and drinking and driving. Working with other agencies, we have been able to launch a Sober Cab in Wright County and pass a Social Host Ordinance.     
In February, 2004, I was proud to have been a founding member of MEADA (Methamphetamine Education and Drug Awareness Coalition of Wright County). I am still a Director on the MEADA Board. We believe MEADA has made a positive impact in Wright County. We work closely with schools.
My office works with the Sheriff's Department and Safe Communities of Wright County to administer Drive Wright and Teen Drive Wright which are traffic diversion programs. These programs provide education to drivers without the negative consequences that come from a conviction. No funds are used to supplement the Attorney's or Sheriff's budgets. We are currently working with the legislature to keep these programs alive. 
My office continues to collaborate with other agencies on how we deal with Domestic Abuse, combat veterans and minor consumption within our criminal justice system. I continue to give presentations to the public on various topics and have been honored to give a number of Memorial Day and Veteran's Day speeches.
Between 1990 and 1998 I served as Chief of Criminal Division. I continue to stress the "Team Approach" to prosecution which requires a working relationship between my office and law enforcement that instills credibility, confidence, cooperation, teamwork and efficiency. I am proud of the working relationship between my office and law enforcement. I am grateful for the continued support and endorsements from Wright County Sheriff,  Joe Hagerty,  Buffalo Police Chief,  Mitch Weinzetl,  Annandale Police Chief, Jeff Herr, and Howard Lake Police Chief, Dave Thompson.
I believe I possess the common sense, dedication and experience to continue leading the Wright County Attorney's Office into the 21st century. I have appreciated all the support over the years and ask for your continued support. I will continue to be open with the media. Communication is a good thing. Any questions, thoughts or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me at 763-682-7348. Thank You.
Tom Kelly, 
Wright County Attorney