CHEYENNE – Wyoming has a new chief federal law enforcement officer, which also means there’s a vacancy on a local school district’s board of trustees.
Mark Klaassen took the oath of office to become the U.S. attorney for the District of Wyoming this week, following his nomination by President Donald Trump and confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Wyoming’s congressional delegation roundly applauded Klaassen’s nomination and
He’s served as an assistant U.S. attorney for Wyoming for the past eight years.
“It was an exercise in patience, but the day has arrived,” Klaassen said Wednesday. “This is a dream come true in terms of being able to lead an office of people who I’ve been privileged to work with for a number of years.
“I have immense respect for all the attorneys and support staff that make this office work. It’s a real honor to be chosen to lead and continue to work with my colleagues here, just in a different capacity.”
One of the requirements for assuming that position is Klaassen must resign from his obligations on the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees, which he said he did this week.
“It’s something I was disappointed to have to do, but it’s part of the process,” he said. “Unfortunately, I can’t do both.”
In his capacity as U.S. attorney for Wyoming, Klaassen said finding ways to reduce violent crime will be a top priority. Stemming the tide of illegal drugs in the state and addressing opioid abuse – which Trump declared a health emergency in October – are also going to be a focus of Klaassen’s tenure. Incidents of fraud against government and individuals are on his radar, as is protecting children from human trafficking and child pornography.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump was clear in his intent to take a tough stance toward crime. Klaassen said that’s a message he’s heard in his communications with the attorney general’s office.
“From the attorney general on down, there’s a real focus on the rule of law and ensuring that when there’s a law on the books and Congress has seen fit to put a framework in place for particular kinds of offenses, we need to abide by those,” he said.
While it’s not as much of an issue in Wyoming as in other states, Klaassen said the administration’s tough stance on immigration will be upheld in the Cowboy State during his tenure.
“Some of the issues of the day in terms of immigration and immigration enforcement and controversies around sanctuary cities, that’s a priority,” he said. “We’re going to follow the rule of law here. That will be a priority for our office.”
Raised in Gillette, Klaassen began his career as an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP. He clerked for the Hon. Wade Brorby of the 10th Circuit United States Court of Appeals. He received his B.S., summa cum laude, from Oral Roberts University, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School.