MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that he will retire at the end of February, two years before the end of his term.

He said the decision was driven by ongoing health issues, which have gotten worse in the last few years.

“While I look forward to my retirement, I am also saddened to be leaving my work for this great community after so many years of service,” he said.

Backstrom started working at the Dakota County Attorney’s office in 1977 as a law clerk and was hired as an Assistant County Attorney a year later.  When the previous county attorney Robert Carolan was instated as a judge in the First Judicial District in 1987, Backstrom was appointed to serve out the remainder of his term, and has stayed in the position ever since. When he retires on Feb. 27, he will be the longest serving county attorney in Dakota County history.

According to Minnesota law, if a county attorney seat is vacated, the county board has the authority to appoint someone to fill the position until the next election, which will be on Nov. 8, 2022.

“I am very proud of the work I have done as Dakota County Attorney. I could not have chosen a more meaningful and fulfilling career. I wish all of you continued success in your leadership of this great County in the years ahead,” he said.