Q: Please share with us your background information, including information about your family, your education, your career and community and government involvement.
A: I was born and raised in Hastings and have been a resident of Hastings for more than 30 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, MN. I am a realtor with Keystone Real Estate in Hastings and I am owner and president of Hometown Laundry, LLC. My wife, Maria (Werner) and I are active members of the Hastings community. Currently, I serve on the Hastings YMCA Board of Directors, the Hastings High School Alumni Board, as well as my church finance committee and parish council. I am currently in my second term as an at large member of the Hastings City Council. During my time on the council I have served on a variety of council committees including public safety, planning, parks and recreation, operations, administration and finance. Currently I serve on the Board of Directors for the Dakota Communications Center, which is the consolidated 911 center for all of Dakota County. I am also the elected official representative on the Highway 61 Visual Quality Team, which makes recommendations on all visual aspects on the new Hastings Bridge.
Q: What makes Dakota County a good place in which to live?
A: Dakota County is comprised of great people and great communities! Many opportunities exist for residents, communities, and businesses to thrive. Dakota County residents are well-educated and the tax rate is one of the lowest in the state. There is great economic diversity, ranging from small business to large companies, as well as strong viable agricultural business. We have incredible natural resources and access to parks and trails throughout the county.
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: Yes, Dakota County has a history of being a well-run county, and that is a tradition that must continue as we face these ongoing challenges. I believe the right approach is a balance of good management and budgeting while also seeking out innovative ways to do county business and provide services. I have a strong record of being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and asking the important questions when tax dollars are being spent.
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: As someone with 15 years experience working in senior care, I know firsthand how necessary it will be to seek innovative, flexible, and more effective ways of providing services as the population ages. There are ways the county can utilize technology wisely to streamline service delivery and remove unnecessary administrative complexity. Additionally, the work of the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) has made providing income based senior housing like Mississippi Terrace and Rivertown Court in Hastings and Vermillion River Crossing in Farmington a priority. With a growing senior population, these efforts must continue.
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: District 1 has a diverse set of transportation needs that are unique compared to other districts in the county. In order to provide the accessibility necessary for good economic development for all areas of the district (townships, small towns, and growing cities), a balanced approach to transportation is necessary. In decisions regarding transportation, whether it be rural county roads or mass transit, the County must engage in careful planning to make sound, forward-thinking decisions about transportation infrastructure to keep Dakota County competitive both regionally and globally. Given the financial realities, Dakota County has done a good job developing a transportation plan that focuses on getting residents to and from work, businesses and fields safely and efficiently.
Q: Why should the voters on Nov. 6 vote for you as their next county commissioner?
A: My roots are firmly planted in Dakota County District 1. My family has lived, farmed and owned businesses in the district since the late 1860’s. As a native of area, who was born and raised in the district, I best understand the diverse needs of the cities and townships and will work hard to represent all parts of the district. As an elected official and small business owner, I bring a unique mix of public and private experience, passion, and dedication necessary to serve District 1. I have an established record of being responsive to resident concerns, being a good steward of taxpayer dollars, and working well with my colleagues.