Laurie Halverson has lived and worked in Dakota County more than 20 years. She and her husband Jason chose to put down roots in Eagan, where they are raising their son and enjoying life with their rescue dogs.
Laurie was first elected to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners in 2020. She served 4 terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives prior to joining the county board.
As a policymaker, Laurie has demonstrated leadership and achieved results on policies such as improving access to mental health, preventing homelessness, improving public health and increasing bike and pedestrian safety.
Prior to her career in public service, Laurie worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, advancing grassroots and public health initiatives. An active community volunteer, she has served as chair of the Eagan Advisory Parks and Recreation Commission and secretary of the Eagan Foundation. Laurie can be found volunteering for ISD 196 schools, the Open Door and the Eagan Art Festival. She is a member of the board of directors of Wayside Recovery Services and the Eagan Kick-Start Rotary.
Laurie holds a degree in Political Science from St. Catherine University and attended the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Dakota County Public Health was recognized as the top Local Public Health Department in the nation in 2019. Ensuring the health of all residents is a vital county priority and I support growing vital programs such as the visiting nurse initiative, the Birth to 8 programs to help kids reach developmental milestones, vaccination outreach, and increasing bike and pedestrian initiatives, parks programs and more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dakota County public health has worked to provide innovative outreach and partnerships to ensure access to all communities, especially those historically underserved and most impacted by COVID-19. The results are that COVID-19 vaccination rates among all populations are higher than the state average. We have also engaged in important community partnerships with leaders of color to address ongoing racial health disparities and work together for a healthier Dakota County.
EQUITY IN ALL POLICIES
Creating a just and fair world is an important priority, but too often leaders are unable to move beyond talk into action that will dismantle systemic racism. The fact is, Minnesota has some of the worst racial disparities in the country when it comes to education, housing, poverty and health outcomes. It is also abundantly clear that we must improve the criminal justice system so that all residents of our communities feel safe and protected. I am committed to the hard work of closing opportunity gaps in our state. In addition, as we work for change, we must make room for people of color to be the lead voices for change. I am a committed to working for racial justice, and I will work with communities to listen, build understanding, and advocate for justice.
BIKE & PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
We need to increase the number of safe bike and pedestrian routes in Dakota County. I am a long-time advocate for Safe Routes to School to provide planning grants and technical assistance to local governments to increase safety for our kids so they can walk and bike to school. It is also important to ensure that we prioritize safe crossings for bikers and walkers along our greenway corridors. I’ll continue to be a strong voice for increasing our greenway connections and increasing bike and pedestrian safety throughout our county.
Growing concerns about mental health issues are impacting families throughout our communities. Dakota County is a significant provider of mental health interventions and services. I am advocating for new and innovative approaches to serving families all along the continuum of mental health needs from addressing acute crises by increasing the number of staff to partnering with local law enforcement agencies to provide social workers to assist in mental health calls. The county is also working to improve access to both acute and on-going services by creating a new mental health facility that will provide crisis intervention, residential treatment and preventative interventions and ongoing services for individuals and families.
Clean water is a priceless resource for our communities, and it is vital that we preserve wetlands, fight invasive species, and protect groundwater—the number one source of drinking water in Dakota County. We must commit to growing clean energy options and finding opportunities to offer renewable energy in Dakota County. Rooftop solar and wind energy are important growth opportunities for clean energy in our communities.
Public land conservation is an important priority for the people of our communities. We have to continue to prioritize support for our great county parks system, ensuring that our residents can have access to nature and outdoor play. Open spaces provide recreation opportunities and preserve habitat for wildlife and pollinators, preservation of natural habitats and the reintroduction of keystone species such as bison will help us build a future toward building a healthy environment.
TRANSIT & TRANSPORTATION
Dakota County is home to 440,000 people and growing. The county is responsible for 424 miles of roads and 83 bridges. Maintaining investments in our infrastructure is vitally important as our roads and bridges age. Road safety, maintenance, and traffic management are important priorities to make sure that residents are able to travel safely and efficiently through our communities.
We must also recognize that travel needs are changing. More and more residents are turning to multi-modal transportation making trips by foot, by bike, or by public
transit. Seniors in Dakota County are looking for convenient and affordable transit options that allow them to continue to be active in their communities. A robust transit system is also important for our county businesses to help recruit and retain employees.
Safety for bikes and pedestrians must be a top priority. More and more people are looking to get around the community through walking and biking—not just for recreation, but for transportation. It’s time to invest in safe bike and pedestrian routes on our Dakota County roads.