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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ST. CROIX COUNTY — Two Republican candidates will be on the ballot for St. Croix County district attorney in the August 11 primary: Karl Anderson and Amber Hahn.
No Democratic candidates registered for the primary.
Incumbent St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes decided not to run for re-election.
Karl Anderson currently serves as an assistant district attorney in St. Croix County.
He is originally from La Crosse and went to high school in La Crescent, Minnesota. Anderson double majored in Criminal Justice and Spanish at St. Cloud State University. He studied abroad twice in Lima, Peru and in Concepcion, Chile.
After graduation, Anderson returned to La Crosse for two years, where he worked at Logistics Health and Gundersen Lutheran. He also volunteered as a reserve officer for the Onalaska Police Department.
Anderson received a scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin Law School and represented the law school at a Moot Court competition in Washington D.C. and volunteered at the Veterans Law Clinic.
He interned for The Wisconsin Innocence Project, United States District Court Judge James D. Peterson, Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan, the Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse Unit of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and the La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office.
Anderson earned his Juris Doctorate degree at the UW law school with a specialization in criminal law.
After law school, Anderson was hired as an assistant district attorney in St. Croix County by District Attorney Eric Johnson, who served as district attorney from 1989 to 2017.
As an assistant district attorney, in addition to prosecuting a variety of cases from traffic tickets to serious felonies, Anderson has a specialized case load of prosecuting felony drug cases.
During his four years as assistant district attorney, Anderson also has worked on creating the St. Croix County Elder Abuse Task Force; serves on the St. Croix County Traffic Safety Committee; is the head prosecutor for the St. Croix County Veteran’s Diversion Program; represents the district attorney at the St. Croix County Association of Towns meetings; has served on the St. Croix County Circuit Court’s COVID-19 Task Force; and has testified before the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on pressing needs in the criminal justice system.
Anderson enjoys remodeling his late 1800s home in Houlton. His other hobbies include playing hockey, oil painting, fishing, hunting, and spending time with friends and family. He is a member of the Hudson Daybreak Rotary, and he has volunteered his time to serve as a mock trial prosecutor for local school programs.
Amber Hahn currently serves as an assistant district attorney in Dunn County.
She graduated from high school in Chippewa Falls and then earned a bachelor’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in Law, Politics and Society. Hahn graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2008.
She worked in Jefferson County as an attorney advocate for People Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse, and in 2009, began serving as an assistant district attorney in St. Croix County.
Three years later, Hahn worked with Assistant State Attorney General Gary Freyberg prosecuting a homicide case, and in 2015, she joined the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office as an assistant attorney general in the criminal litigation unit of the Wisconsin Department of Justice where she worked on prosecuting drug trafficking and drug-related deaths.
During her time in St. Croix County, Hahn also served on the St. Croix County Drug Treatment Court for six years.
While working for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Hahn served as one of the attorneys who reviewed the newly-tested evidence associated with more than 1,000 cases in the sexual assault initiative and helped prosecute cold sexual assault cases.
Hahn says she is looking forward to returning to St. Croix County along with her husband and two children.