The Aug. 11 primary for the St. Croix County District Attorney will see two Republican candidates on the ballot. No other candidates have filed for the position.

In-person voting will be held. Absentee ballots must be requested by Aug. 6 for most voters and must be received by Aug. 11.

The Star-Observer asked candidates Karl Anderson and Amber Hahn the following questions.

Karl Anderson

Karl Anderson
Karl Anderson


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  • Age: 31
  • Address: 42 Church Street, Houlton
  • Education: B.A. Criminal Justice and Spanish, summa cum laude, St. Cloud State University, 2011 and J.D. University of Wisconsin Law School, Honors in Criminal Law Concentration, 2016
  • Occupation: Assistant district attorney, St. Croix County
  • Civic involvement: Hudson Daybreak Rotary, Moot Court prosecutor for local schools
  • Family: Mother, Anne, small-business owner; father Craig, engineer; Brother Shawn, engineer and St. Croix County Board Supervisor; sisters Kate, human resources professional, and Kelli, social worker.

Why do you want to run for this position?

I want to be district attorney because I want to continue to do all I can to make sure St. Croix County, where I have devoted my entire career, remains a safe community. I also want to accomplish my objectives to improve criminal justice in the county. Those objectives include continuing to implement the Elder Abuse Task Force, improving how we deal with defendants with mental illness, continuing to run and expand the Veteran’s Diversion Program, and doing all I can to make the trial process less stressful for victims of crimes.

What qualifies you for this position?

My entire education and professional experience is tailored towards prosecution, and in my current role as assistant district attorney. I have taken every opportunity possible to take a leadership role in the office. Specifically regarding my education, I was a criminal justice major in university, where I studied, among other topics, the history of criminal justice in America, policing theories, criminal justice statistics, recidivism, and interviewing techniques. In law school, I completed the criminal law concentration with honors, which means I completed all required criminal law courses and had a GPA of 3.5 or higher in those courses. I also completed every criminal law internship possible, including interning for United States District Court Judge James Peterson; Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan; the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Medicaid Fraud Unit; the La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office; and the Wisconsin Innocence Project. I have been an Assistant District Attorney in St. Croix County for over four years, including being the felony drug prosecutor, as well as handling a general caseload (everything from traffic tickets to major felonies). I have prosecuted numerous jury trials, been the DA representative to the St. Croix County Association of Towns meetings, and spearheaded the creation of the Elder Abuse Task Force. Voters can feel secure that I am qualified for the role as district attorney given that I am supported by both current District Attorney Michael Nieskes and retired longtime district attorney Eric Johnson, who have both mentored me in my role as ADA.

What challenges does the county district attorney office face right now?

A significant challenge facing our county, given recent events and our proximity to the Twin Cities, is a lack of confidence in law enforcement and the criminal justice system in general. However, we are very fortunate to have excellent leadership and law enforcement officers in St. Croix County. You can’t have one without the other, and it’s important to acknowledge the great service they provide to our communities and encourage more good people to give this challenging career a chance. As for accountability, I think it’s pretty clear that this is also a priority of our law enforcement leadership. You’ll find many stories in the HSO archives to prove this out. As district attorney, I will do all I can to support our law enforcement agencies -- whether it’s training assistance or collaborating on improvements to our processes -- it’s important to have a good working relationship with each agency in the county. If elected as your District Attorney, I will continue the work of delivering justice for our residents, while ensuring fair treatment for all.

What will your main priority be if elected?

My main priority if elected will be protecting the public and ensuring justice for victims, which should be the main priority of any prosecutor, but especially so for the district attorney. On any given case, the means of protecting the public and achieving justice will look different. Sometimes the focus will be on rehabilitating an offender. On serious cases involving victims, sometimes the only way to protect the public is to ensure the offender is confined to prison. The focus of any district attorney must always be safeguarding the community and fighting for justice for victims. I have many objectives that will aid in protecting the public, such as implementing the Elder Abuse Task Force, and coordinating with local resources to get mental health treatment to defendants who need it as soon as possible. In the end, all objectives and goals must be in service to that ultimate priority of protecting the public and obtaining justice for victims.

Amber Hahn

Amber Hahn
Amber Hahn


  • Age: 37
  • Address: 3138 Derby Street, River Falls
  • Education: BA from Drake University and JD from UW Madison Law School
  • Occupation: Assistant district attorney for Dunn County
  • Civic involvement: We just moved back, but in the past I was a member of the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra
  • Family: husband, Scott, and two children ages 5 and 3

Why do you want to run for this position?

I've been a prosecutor for over eleven years. I have worked in St. Croix and Dunn counties and as an assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice where I prosecuted cases in over 16 different counties in Wisconsin. I want to take all of the experience I have gained from my over 11 years in prosecution in Wisconsin and bring it home here to St. Croix County to serve the community where we are raising our family. Having strong, experienced leadership in an elected DA is important and that is what I can provide.

What qualifies you for this position?

I have experience prosecuting nearly every type of criminal case, holding individuals accountable for their crimes whether it involves homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, traffic, misconduct in public office or controlled substances. I have experience working with and leading teams of attorneys. I have provided statewide training to law enforcement and attorneys on many topics from Wisconsin hemp laws to DNA analysis. I have provided advice to the legislature in my role as AAG where I was considered one of DOJ's experts in the area of controlled substance prosecution.

What challenges does the county district attorney office face right now?

There are challenges in keeping the court system running, continuing to provide services to victims, accountability to defendants and keeping cases moving through the justice process despite COVID-19 concerns. There are also challenges in tensions between law enforcement and minority members of our community. Drugs and alcohol problems that plague our community and increase crime are also a continual challenge for DA's offices.

What will your main priority be if elected?

Protecting the rights of the citizens of St. Croix County and providing law enforcement with the support they need to protect our community. Developing and maintaining positive relationships with county law enforcement, county officials and community members to maintain strong communication about criminal justice issues. Managing staff within the office to maintain high standards of efficiency, professionalism, and ethics.