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Acting St. Louis County attorney makes bid for office official

Kimberly Maki announced her run for office Thursday in her hometown Virginia.

Kimberly Maki
Kimberly Maki has been acting county attorney for St. Louis County since October 2021, finishing the final 15 months of the retired Mark Rubin's term.
Contributed / St. Louis County
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VIRGINIA — Acting County Attorney Kimberly Maki launched her campaign for the office Thursday outside the county courthouse — the same building her interest in the law began 30 years ago when she joined the high school mock trial team, she noted.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as the St. Louis County attorney for the past three months,” she told the News Tribune. “I want to continue doing that work not only for the next 10 months, but also the next four years. We’ve done a lot of good work to bring the office out of the pandemic and into a more updated form.”

Maki was the unanimous choice by the St. Louis County Board in September to take over for the retiring Mark Rubin. She began her appointment at the start of October.

As he prepares to retire, Rubin sat down with the News Tribune to reflect on high-profile murder cases, the evolution of evidence in the courtroom, his relationship with law enforcement and the nearly 11 years he spent as elected county attorney.

The Iron Range native is the only county attorney candidate to announce so far for the Nov. 8 election.

“I love the county, that’s what motivates me and let’s me want this position,” Maki said.

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County attorney’s race will be joined on the ballot by races for county sheriff, county auditor and three county commissioner seats, representing downtown Duluth, and the Ely and Virginia areas.

Maki hasn’t used her acting role to maintain status quo. Instead, she described addressing structures that were impacting the number of candidates who wanted to come work in the office.

“We’ve had a tough time attracting the same numbers of attorneys we used to attract,” she said. “I was able to implement change that puts people where they should be, rather than how cheaply we can get people to come. It caught up with us.”

She also noted an ongoing six-month trial of a work-from-home practice within the office, including the adjustments the office is making to conducting more online hearings in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the cusp of her appointment to fill the office being vacated by County Attorney Mark Rubin, Kimberly Maki, 45, shared her thoughts on growing up with the law on her mind and why she wants to review the office top to bottom.

“We’ve had to adapt to online court and online meetings and doing business virtually, and to some degree that’s here to stay,” Maki said. “It’s important for us to be able to pivot and adapt to situations as they arise.”

Maki made clear, though, that through office and even social upheaval, she’s intent on delivering for the county.

“We want to make sure we accommodate the individual desire to work from home, while still providing a level of service we have been known for and provided throughout the years,” Maki said. “Getting back to calls in a timely manner, enhancing our services and employee experience — I want to stay around for all of that for a long time.”

Brady Slater covers St. Louis County and transportation for the Duluth News Tribune. He's a veteran journalist, and a University of Pittsburgh graduate who was born and raised in the Northland. He can be reached by emailing bslater@duluthnews.com or by calling or texting 218-721-2724.
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