Christy Jo FogartyHere is the profile on Christy Jo Fogarty:
Q: Please share some information about your family, your education, your career and community and government involvement.
A: I have lived in Dakota County for 13 years. I currently work for Children’s Dental Services in northeast Minneapolis, a non-profit dental clinic, where I work as one of the first dental therapists in the country. Prior to that I worked as a dental hygienist at the New Art of Dentistry in Hastings.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene and a Master’s degree as an Oral Health Practitioner. I have been a member of the Farmington City Council for the last 10 years, and have also been the Metropolitan Cities representative on the Board of Water and Soil Resources since being appointed by Governor Pawlenty in 2009. I was also recently appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court to represent District 1 on the Commission for Judicial Review, making recommendations to the governor on judicial appointments from Hastings to Waconia.
I have dedicated myself to volunteer work across the county helping with the Dakota Village, serving on the Dew Days Committee as the Chair of the Miss, Jr. Miss and Little Miss Farmington Pageant, and volunteering at several events at the Dakota County Fair, including being an annual salsa judge. I have served on the Vermillion River Planning Commission, the water vulnerability task force, the park and recreation task force, the Empire/Farmington Planning Committee and the Castle Rock Discussion Group. In addition, I was the president of the PTO for the St. Mathias School in Hampton.
On a personal note, I have been married for almost 19 years to my husband Steve, a Minneapolis police officer. We have three teenage children, Ashley, Jack and Thomas, who are in Farmington schools.
Q: What makes Dakota County a good place in which to live?
A: Dakota County is an amazing place to live and raise a family. The quality of life is among the highest in the state for so many reasons, including the great suburban life and our rural farmlands. We have excellent schools and public lands, including one of the best urban trout streams in the country. In District 1 we have also been able to maintain that “small town feeling” while being minutes from several great business centers, taking advantage of the friendly business environment that exists in Dakota County. In addition, Dakota County has generous people who give of their time and talent to make our community stronger, from volunteer boards to coaching little league.
Q: Financial issues are ongoing, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. Is the county taking the right approach to setting its budget and levy each year?
A: I think with the high quality of life and the lowest taxes of any county in the state, there is a lot that Dakota County is doing right. However, within every organization there is room for improvement and a need to continually examine the county’s requirements in a constantly changing world.
With the increase in technology we can always ask ourselves how we can utilize technology to increase efficiency and decrease costs. Using technology like LIDAR, a topographic mapping of the land in Dakota County, has saved time and money in creating necessary environmental and platting information as well as helping to define flood plains more accurately, saving residents money. Another simple but easy way technology has been utilized is going paperless, as we did in the City of Farmington. Even this small change has saved the City thousands of dollars in staff time and paper.
Q: The number of senior citizens living in Dakota County is among the fastest growing in the area. What should be Dakota County’s role, if any, in meeting possible needs of that age group?
A: Dakota County already has a great foundation to build on as our population continues to mature. While it is true that the number of people over 60 will likely triple in the next 15 to 20 years, the capabilities and health of our populations are vastly different than generations past, meaning costs will not increase at the same rate. However, new innovative ideas need to be incorporated to ensure financial stability of the county while giving support to those seniors that are in need.
Creating and working with existing programs, like the CDA, to utilize the talents and high education level we have in our community to help each other are some of the programs I would look to expand and create.
Q: Transportation — how people get around the county and through it — is a challenge. As the roads continue to get more congested, how should Dakota County address the need? Are we doing it right already?
A: One of the basic functions of government is to ensure a good transportation system, as it affects every aspect of our lives. For the residents of District 1 this primarily means roads and bridges. Good transportation systems start with good planning and working with townships and cities to determine what and where improvements need to occur. I have worked on many projects were we have worked with the townships, the city, the county and the state. Coordination is often needed to make a project successful and improve transportation in the county.
There also is the issue of public transportation in Dakota County. Here is where I have done my homework. When examining studies on public transportation, Rapid Bus Transit has been shown to be an effective means of transportation and can have an impact on congestion in addition to providing transportation to those who cannot or do not drive. Buses, in general, offer flexibility and can accommodate the changes that inevitably come to every community. On the other hand, light rail and heavy rail for commuters have been shown to do little to decrease congestion, nor do they spur long lasting economic development, so I do not support these expensive and non-flexible types of transit for Dakota County.
Q: Why should the voters on Nov. 6 vote for you as their next county commissioner?
A: I alone have the depth and breadth of experience to hit the ground running. I have served not only in my city and surrounding townships but at both the state and national levels. My experience is not solely derived from my service as a city council member but from a broad swath of committees, boards and volunteer work that expands to all of District 1 and Dakota County and the state of Minnesota.