County commissioner - Mike Slavik, incumbent
Q: Please provide us with some background information, including your education, job position, community service and any previous or current connection with government.
A: I was born and raised in Hastings and have been a resident of Hastings for more than 34 years. I am a graduate of Hastings High School and I have a B.A. in Political Science from Saint John’s University in Collegeville. I am a realtor with Keystone Real Estate in Hastings and I am part-owner and president of Hometown Laundry, LLC. My wife, Maria (Werner) and I are active members of the Hastings and greater Dakota County community. I am currently the president of the Hastings High School Alumni Association, and past chair of the Hastings Area YMCA Community Board.
I was elected to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners in 2012. I currently serve as vice chair of the Dakota County CDA, Chair of the Vermillion River Watershed, and Treasurer of the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging. I also serve on the board of directors for the Dakota Communication Center (the consolidated 911 center for all of Dakota County), the Dakota County Extension Committee, the Cannon River Watershed Partnership Board, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District Board, and the Red Rock Corridor Commission. Prior to my election to the Dakota County Board, I served six years as an At Large Member of the Hastings City Council.
Q: Why did you decide to run for this position?
A: I am running for re-election because I want to continue to work hard for the residents of District 1 in Dakota County. From advocating for important investments in transportation and infrastructure, to voting to reduce the 2014 property tax levy, I have established a record of strong leadership and a commitment to the people, businesses, and issues that are important to the district. I greatly enjoy serving District 1 and I am proud of the many ways I have been able to support residents and businesses in my first term. In the next four years, the county will continue to face a new generation of challenges and I represent a unique mix of private and public sector skills that can meet those challenges.
Q: What are the major issues and challenges facing Dakota County? How should they be addressed? Is the county doing a good job for its residents?
A: Dakota County has a long-standing tradition of supporting opportunities for residents and businesses to thrive. In order for this to continue, the county board must ensure good use of taxpayer dollars by reducing debt, ensuring high-quality taxpayer investments, and keeping property taxes low. Dakota County is a large county with an extensive transportation system. The county must have a comprehensive transportation plan that safely and efficiently moves residents to and from work, promotes the accessibility necessary for small and large businesses to stay competitive, and serves the needs of our agricultural community. Economic development efforts must also include a commitment to the agricultural economy in District 1, through the preservation of farmland, infrastructure investments, and ensuring that regulations are not overly burdensome. The county must also ensure responsible management of our natural resources, through efforts to keep our lakes and rivers clean for both current use and for future generations.
Q: With ongoing budget constraints, how does the county continue to meet the needs of a growing population while continuing its standard of services?
A: In order to address ongoing budget pressures, the county must start with good fiscal management. As a Dakota County commissioner, I am committed to making good use of taxpayer dollars. I have voted to reduce county debt ahead of schedule and ensure that high-quality taxpayer investments are made, while still having one of the lowest property tax levies per capita in the state. At the same time, bold leadership and vision is necessary to find ways to do county business more effectively and efficiently. Dakota County is held in high regard by other counties around the state and nation because the county has been able to implement some truly innovative initiatives to streamline county government through the use of technology and collaboration. This approach is increasingly necessary as growing and aging populations create a greater demand for county resources.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A: In my first term, I have been a strong advocate for the residents of District 1. I voted for a reduction to the 2014 tax levy, individual property rights, good financial stewardship of taxpayer dollars and transportation investments that improve both safety and commerce in District 1. I have also been actively engaged with residents and the leadership of all 22 townships and cities in the district on important issues. I have the knowledge and experience necessary to serve the diverse needs of this district, and I have proven my dedication and commitment to represent this district well.