Photo provided by Mark Ostrem


Official Bio:

For over 30 years, Mark and his family have called Rochester, MN, home. During this time, Mark has been involved in a number of organizations with the aim of improving our local community and the state of Minnesota as a whole.

Mark was first elected Olmsted County Attorney in November 2006 and began his first term in January 2007. Mark has been re-elected to two subsequent terms. Prior to serving as the Olmsted County Attorney, Mark was in private practice in Rochester. Mark has practiced law for nearly 22 years.

In 2009, Mark was elected to the Minnesota County Attorney Association (MCAA) Board of Directors. Mark has played an active role on the board, chaired a number of committees and served as President of the MCAA in 2016. Mark is also a member of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) and currently serves on the NDAA Board of Directors.

Mark served as President of the Minnesota Urban County Attorney Association from 2010-2014 and has served on a variety of statewide committees and task forces, including the Safe Harbor Legislation workgroup, the Governor’s Sexually Dangerous Persons Task Force, and was an essential part of the Minnesota Drug Sentence Reform of 2016.

Your key platforms:

  1. Veterans Court: Continue the effort to bring a District Veterans Court to Olmsted County. Veterans who experience service or combat trauma sometimes struggle after deployment to safely reintegrate into our community.
  2. Community Mental Health needs: Continue my collaboration with providers and state agencies to bring an urgent care mental health center for Olmsted County citizens in crisis, doing our best to keep those persons out of the jail and emergency department.
  3. Pre-trial Release Services: Develop a program to reduce low-risk offenders in pre-trial detention by providing services to maximize court appearance and public safety.

Why should Olmsted County vote for you?

As the Olmsted County Attorney, the foundation of my job is to protect public safety.  I do that not only as the chief prosecutor, but as a community leader.  I have built significant collaborative relationships with other public entities such as law enforcement, social services and the schools.  I also have extensive collaborative relationships with community leaders such health care providers, chemical and mental health treatment providers and community business leaders.  Together we have changed lives for abused children by developing the Child Advocacy Center; Changed the paradigm of Human Trafficking by recognizing trafficked persons as victims and aggressively prosecuting Johns and Pimps; Assisted schools and parents to keep children in school by changing the protocols for truancy in Olmsted County.

We have much to do.  It is from my proven progress and experience that you can count on safe growth for the next four years.

Our listeners frequently ask about light sentencing and plea deals. What is your stance when to pursue these deals?

Felony sentences are largely dictated by the Minnesota Sentence Guidelines.  All prosecutors have an obligation to attempt pre-trial resolution of cases.  Such discussions are made in good faith and in consideration of sentencing guidelines, admissible evidence, victim input, defendant’s admission and remorse and the ability to rehabilitate the defendant in our community.

My office, like most prosecutor offices, have established written guidelines for plea negotiations to guide the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.  My office policy is designed to find resolution that provides appropriate sanction, is consistent with victim input, provide for continued public safety and, to the best of our ability, is not disparate amongst the various demographics of our community.

What’s one thing you want the Rochester community to know about you?

For the past 12 years my personal mission has been to use my office to help the entire community grow safely, not just be the chief prosecutor.  We have created many community solutions like Drug Court, the Child Advocacy Center, initiatives to curb Human Trafficking and a Truancy protocol to keep kids in school as ways to move the entire community forward safely.  I am currently pursuing the creation of a Veterans Court for our community, enhancing our work to assist persons in mental health crisis for urgent care, working to reduce our jail population by creating a Pre-Trial Release Program and continuing to vigorously prosecute violent crime.  The progress you know from my experience demonstrates what I can do for our community’s future.