Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom retiring after 33 years

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom is retiring after serving as the county attorney for over 33 years. (Dakota County Attorney's Office / FOX 9)

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom is retiring next month after serving as the county attorney for over 33 years. 

In a letter to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners Friday, Backstrom announced his resignation as the Dakota County Attorney and retirement, effective Feb. 27. He said he was making the decision due to some health issues that have become worse in recent years.  

Backstrom has spent nearly the entirety of his legal career with the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, beginning in 1977 when he was hired as a law clerk in the office’s civil division while still in law school. Following his graduation from William Mitchell College of Law, he was hired as an assistant county attorney and eventually promoted to head of the office’s civil division.

He was appointed by the county board to serve out the remainder of then Dakota County Attorney Robert Carolan’s term after he resigned to serve as a judge in the First Judicial District. Backstrom was officially sworn in as the 23rd Dakota County Attorney in September 1987. 

He is the longest serving county attorney in Dakota County’s history.   

"I am very proud of the work I have done as Dakota County Attorney," Backstrom wrote in his resignation letter. "I could not have chosen a more meaningful and fulfilling career."

Backstrom’s current four-year term expires on January 1, 2023. The county board will appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the next Dakota County Attorney election on November 8, 2022.