I have been a resident of Dakota County for 20 years. For the past 8 years, I have served in the Minnesota House representing Eagan. My policy leadership in areas such as public health, disability services, Safe Routes to School, youth homelessness prevention, affordable housing, and fair and clean elections demonstrate my ability to lead and create change on issues that are important to our communities.
I hold a degree in Political Science from St. Catherine University and I attended the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. I’m an active community volunteer and served as chair of the Eagan Advisory Park and Recreation Commission and on the board of the Eagan Foundation.
Did you know that Dakota County Public Health was recognized as the Local Health Department of the year in 2019? Ensuring public health is a vital county priority. I support strong public health programs such as the visiting nurse initiative, Birth to 8 programs supporting our kids reaching key developmental milestones, and creating a healthy future by reducing smoking rates and increasing physical activity.
The county is also a major resource for the health and well-being of our senior citizens. I support efforts to assist seniors in their ability to age in place by providing community supports such as chore assistance, nursing care, meal delivery and more. Senior housing is a growing need in Dakota County. Seniors want to stay in the communities where they have put down roots, raised their kids, and built relationships. We we must do all we can to empower housing choice for seniors and ensure the availability of safe and affordable senior housing.
Bike and 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 corridor.
Transportation and transit
Dakota County is home to 425,000 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. In Dakota County, bus transit options have been growing. With investment in bus rapid transit (BRT) and suburb to suburb bus routes, transit options are growing. However, there is still work to do to effectively meet the transit needs of our community.
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 a safe bike and pedestrian routes on our Dakota County roads. Utilizing tools like the MDOT’s Safe Routes grants and technical support, we increase both the vitality and safety of our communities.
Environment and Sustainability
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 community 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, and preservation of land and support for citizen initiatives like Lawns to Legumes (https://bwsr.state.mn.us/l2l), recycling and composting will help all of us to secure a healthy future for our community.
Tax fairness is an important issue in Dakota County, and our county has delivered the lowest per capita tax rate of any Minnesota county. At the Capitol, I fought hard to ensure that our county taxpayers receive value for their dollar and worked to prevent our dedicated tax dollars from being diverted to other counties. It is important that Dakota County residents receive value for their tax dollars, that’s why I support a budget that meets the needs of people in the county through careful resource allocation. A budget is a values document, and the people of Dakota County deserve investments that maintain amenities such as parks, trails, and libraries while still providing high-quality service that our residents have come to expect.
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 the opportunity gap in our state. In addition, as we work for change, we must make room for people of color to be the lead voices for justice. I am a committed ally for racial justice, and I will work with communities to listen, build understanding, and advocate for change.
We are living in the midst of the worst public health crisis of our time. COVID-19 is putting pressure on our health care systems, our economy, and the safety of Minnesotans. Dakota County is fully engaged in the battle against this global pandemic. Dakota County Public Health is on the front lines of managing the response and preventing the spread of COVID-19. In addition, our local workforce centers are key response agencies to support workers who have lost jobs, and Dakota County housing and human service agencies are working to support families in uncertain times. We must also work to support economic development and redevelopment in the county. I am working with our Dakota County legislative delegation to ensure that our residents have the resources available to fight COVID-19 and recover our economy.