A new County Attorney
Cameron Davis replaces Kathryn Karjala
Cameron Davis was sworn in as the Faribault County Attorney by Fifth Judicial District Judge Troy Timmerman on Friday, June 25.
Davis, a native of Austin, was appointed to the position by the Faribault County Board of Commissioners following the resignation of Kathryn Karjala. Karjala had served as the County Attorney since Jan. 15, 2018, when she replaced Timmerman.
Davis will fill out Karjala’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2022.
Because he was appointed, Davis is not required to live in the county. However, should he decide to run for election to the post, he would have to establish residence within the county 45 days prior to the election, which will be held in November.
“I am already looking for a place to live in Blue Earth,” Davis comments. “I would not have applied for the job if I wasn’t going to run for election.”
Before assuming the duties from Karjala, Davis had his own law practice in Albert Lea.
“I opened my office in Albert Lea in 2015,” Davis says. “I did a lot of court-appointed work involving child protection, guardianship and child support. My initial plan was to build a family practice but the court-appointed work kept me too busy.”
It was through his court-appointed work he became familiar with Faribault County.
“Former assistant County Attorney Mindy Quitten and I ended up on the opposite side of many cases,” Davis notes. “I also got to know Kathryn Karjala.”
In fact, Davis explains it was Karjala who encouraged him to apply for the job she was vacating.
“She let me know she was resigning,” Davis shares. “One thing I enjoy about being a lawyer in southern Minnesota is the respect we show each other. We are pretty congenial and so even though we were often on the opposite side of cases, she still thought to urge me to seek the County Attorney position.”
Although Austin is his hometown, Davis has spent some years away from the area where he grew up.
“I received my undergraduate degree from Mankato State University,” Davis explains. “I then had scholarship offers from a school in Ohio and one in San Diego, California. I decided if I was going to have my head in a book I might as well be on the beach, so I headed to law school out West.”
It was while he was in California he met his wife Kristy, who is from the Bay Area.
“I worked in California for two years doing insurance defense and construction defense litigation,” Davis shares. “Then the law firm I was working for decided to move me to Las Vegas. They were trying to establish a foothold in the city.”
In 2008 Davis returned to Minnesota.
“Las Vegas was nice but it was not where we wanted to raise our family,” he says. “We also made the decision for economic reasons and to be closer to my family.”
In addition to Kristy, his family includes daughter Shyanna, who lives in Kansas City, daughter Maxine, son Olin and stepdaughter Kylee Hanlon.
“I worked for a firm in Austin before opening my own firm in Albert Lea,” Davis comments.
Kristy worked with him at his Albert Lea law practice.
“I will miss working with my wife,” Davis notes. “We complimented each other’s skill sets.”
But, Davis says, Kristy is all for him starting his new job.
“I shared with her that Kathryn had resigned and told me I should think about applying for the job,” he explains. “She said it sounded like a good idea, if I was interested. She has supported me all the way.”
One of the things he had to do after accepting his new position was to close down his Albert Lea practice. Davis said it was the right decision.
“I would not have taken this job in just any county,” Davis states. “I have a great deal of experience working in this county and I appreciate the way the courts treat people, the way Judge Timmerman treats people and the way the court administrator treats people.
“It is important for me to be practicing in a county where people respect each other and people are treated with dignity no matter the situation they find themselves in,” Davis adds. “I have seen the dignity the jailor treats the inmates with when I would come to consult those inmates. That kind of thing is important to me.”
So, what does Davis think about being on the opposite side of where he has been practicing law?
“It is part of the process, you have to be nimble,” Davis answers. “Generally speaking, being exposed to different perspectives enables me to be better at my job.”
One of his first tasks will be finding a new assistant because Quitten recently resigned to take a position in a different county.
“I also know working with the juvenile caseload will be a challenge,” he says. “The expectation of the office is to hold people accountable for their actions. I am excited to begin my work here.”