Gruenes settles into role as new Yellow Medicine County Attorney

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune

With Yellow Medicine County Attorney Keith Helgeson being appointed by Governor Tim Walz as District Court Judge, a vacancy was created and has now been filled by Mark Gruenes. Gruenes was appointed by the Yellow Medicine County Board as the new Yellow Medicine County Attorney effective Monday, October 11. 

Yellow Medicine County Attorney Mark A. Gruenes.

Gruenes, who currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, was an Assistant Yellow Medicine County Attorney since October 2018 before being appointed County Attorney. He has been an attorney for 21 years, practicing law in both the military and as a civilian. Gruenes said he applied for the position because he likes to keep taking on new and challenging opportunities. “When Keith was appointed Judge, I saw this as a chance to grow personally and professionally,” Gruenes said.  This kind of work appeals to Gruenes because of the rewarding environment. “The County Attorney’s Office is a workplace where, every day, we are called upon to exercise the four Cardinal Virtues - prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. It is a very rewarding environment in which to practice law,” he says.

When asked what he anticipates to be the most rewarding aspect of the job, Gruenes says, “I think the most rewarding aspect will be seeking and achieving fair and just outcomes on the various matters that come through the County Attorney’s Office.” The most challenging, he says, “The County Attorney’s Office must make hard decisions, and sometimes those decisions can be unpopular. But, it’s all about keeping a good attitude. Challenges should be seen as opportunities to learn.” Gruenes also says that what he appreciates most about where he works is the team of professionals he works with. “My goal is to lead an office that is known for integrity, service over self-interest, and excellence - the Air Force core values,” he says.

Gruenes and his wife Jennifer currently live in Minnesota. They have five children - Anna, Jonah, Eli, Sarah, and Simon. The office of the County Attorney represents Yellow Medicine County in cases involving criminal, juvenile, child protection, and civil/administrative issues. The office also provides advice to the county departments and Board.