What compelled to you apply for a seat on the Council?
As an elected official, I received a letter from Gov. Walz about the upcoming process to seat a new Met Council. I gave it serious consideration as I was a current long-time Plymouth council member and mayor, and I thought I could bring a local and regional perspective to the work. I believe in getting engaged and I have a deep love and appreciation for public service. We have many issues and opportunities throughout our region and I want to be part of building a stronger future for generations to come.
What are you most looking forward to during your service at the Council?
I am really honored to be part of such an amazing group of people. I am already learning a lot and building some great working relationships at the Council and in my district. My hope is that we make positive impacts not only in what we do, but just as importantly in how we do it. I am a big believer in partnerships and collaboration — having everyone at the table. Thrive MSP 2040 will only be realized if public, private, and nonprofit leaders and organizations align around the work. No one organization or body of government can or should do the work alone.
What do you think is most on the minds of people in your district?
District 1 is still a growing part of the region. With that comes challenges. Infrastructure is always at the top of the list – including the Met Council's plans to acquire and eventually replace the wastewater treatment plant in Rogers.
Transportation and transit are critical to developed and developing communities. I am pleased to see that the I-94 Corridor through the "Corridors of Commerce" program is receiving funding and plans are underway to make significant improvement from Maple Grove past Rogers. This is a major improvement that will benefit communities all along the corridor, but it is as important to businesses and commerce who rely on I-94 to move goods and services — it’s key to moving our economy forward. The Highway 55 Corridor Coalition continues to focus on building capacity and improving safety. This is a great group of leaders committed to ensuring this important corridor remains a top priority in our region.
Housing also is a priority for my communities. Part of the concern includes ensuring adequate affordable workforce and senior housing that is located near jobs and mobility options. As communities age, more and more leaders are looking at what multimodal transportation options will be available, including a desire to expand Metro Mobility service.
What will be your priority work areas in 2019?
I serve as the chair of the Audit Committee, vice-chair of the Management Committee, and serve on the Community Development Committee. In addition to all the things noted in previous responses, I want to ensure we are an inclusive region that puts a strong focus on equity. For me, that starts with us in our own lines of business at the Council and in our work across the region.
I also want to build stronger relationships with local communities – elected and appointed officials. I want to bring more accountability and transparency into our work. The Met Council is a great organization doing important work. But we are a planning agency and need to rely on strong working relationships with cities and counties and other stakeholders to move our region forward.
What changes would you like to see in the Twin Cities region by 2040?
I envision a region where all people have a chance to thrive and feel great about calling our region home. I want to see gaps in opportunity, education, wealth, health, housing, transportation, and access to assets and amenities eliminated. I want to see leadership at all levels reflect its citizens, so everyone has a seat at the table. I want our region to be a standout in innovation and a place where we are solving global challenges.
More personally, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love spending time with my family — four adult children (two married), and two awesome grandchildren. (Also two cats and two dogs — all rescues!) I love going up north to the lake and unplugging with them — it's good for the soul. My goal is to spend more time making memories and laughing together.