On Friday, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointments of Stephanie Beckman and Thomas Van Hon to the Eighth Judicial District Trial Court Bench.
Beckman will replace the Honorable Steven E. Drange who is retiring from his post located in Meeker County. Van Hon will be stationed in Montevideo where he will replace Judge Paul Nelson, who is also retiring.
Beckman serves as the Meeker County Attorney where she is responsible for the civil work and criminal prosecutions. She previously served as Assistant Meeker County Attorney and worked as an Assistant Stearns County Attorney within their civil division. Beckman received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Hamline University in Saint Paul in 1999, and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul in 2003.
Van Hon maintains a general law practice where he assists individuals and businesses with civil matters and criminal defense. He also serves as the City Attorney for Fairfax, and is an Assistant Public Defender representing indigent persons in Redwood and Brown Counties for the Minnesota Board of Public Defense. Previously, Van Hon was an Associate Attorney with the Rowley Law Office and was an Assistant County Attorney for Redwood County. He received a B.S. from Iowa State University in Ames in 1981, and a J.D. and M.A. from University of Iowa College of Law/University of Iowa Graduate College in Iowa City in 1984.
Van Hon has chaired the Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop School Board for 16 of his 20 years of service as a school board member, and was a member of the GFW Writer’s Guild. He also served as a board member of the Thunderbird Foundation and was involved with Fairfax Habitat for Humanity. Van Hon resides with his family in Fairfax.
“As accomplished attorneys and dedicated public servants, Stephanie Beckman and Thomas Van Hon have demonstrated that they will serve the Eighth Judicial District with excellence,” said Governor Dayton in a press release. “I thank them for their willingness to serve, and wish them very best as they take on these new roles.”
Yellow Medicine County Attorney Keith Helgeson had been named as one of the four finalists vying for the two bench seats. He was also considered a finalist for vacated judge posts in the Eighth District the previous two years.
The Eighth District sprawls 13 counties from Renville to Wilkin and is presided over by 10 judges.