What interest compelled you to apply for a seat on the Council?
I applied for a seat when I was serving as mayor of Hopkins and co-chair of the Regional Council of Mayors. In these roles, I have seen the necessity of collaborating among our metro area cities to leverage our resources, to coordinate, and to work together on the essential services the Met Council addresses.
Prior to serving as mayor for nearly four years, I was on the city council for four years. In those almost eight years I was deeply involved in planning for the Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT). There will be three stations in Hopkins. I felt my historical knowledge would be of value as the project moves forward.
What are you most looking forward to during your service at the Council?
I am most looking forward to the diverse thoughts and expertise the other Council Members bring to the table. To truly thrive as a region and state, it is imperative that all voices are heard and considered in setting policy.
What do you think is most on the minds of people in your district?
In District 5, the two areas most often brought up as concerns are transportation and housing. These two issues are inextricably entwined. Families need to be able to put down roots in housing they can afford. Housing stability allows children to have access to a stable education. Convenient transportation allows individuals to access a larger pool of jobs. The world opens up more for our seniors and people with disabilities if they can get around more easily. Families can direct resources that may be going to an automobile to other household expenses.
What will be your priority focus area in 2019?
I am excited about serving on the Transportation and Community Development committees. They dovetail perfectly with the two areas most on the minds on those I will serve in my district, and two areas I have much history and experience with as a former mayor.
Recognizing that Southwest LRT is only one part of a robust transit system, much of my time will be devoted to ensuring fairness and equity as the whole transportation system is built out. As developers look to build along transit lines, I will work to ensure that the affordable housing that exists is protected and preserved, and that new housing developments include an affordable component so everyone can benefit and no one is pushed out due to soaring values or conversion of affordable housing to more expensive housing.
What are the biggest changes you’d like to see in the Twin Cities by 2040?
My vision for the region in 2040 is one where everyone thrives, everyone has a stable home, children have access to a great education, adults are able to find meaningful employment, businesses are able to find and retain their needed workforce allowing them to succeed and grow, where everyone has access to, and can afford, healthy food, and where all are able to experience the wonderful amenities that abound in the metro area because of a great transportation system.
My hope is that we will learn how to work cooperatively in a non-partisan way that focuses on the greater good — one that includes those who have not been at the table, and those who have been marginalized, and underrepresented communities, all who now will be full participants in mapping a future for everyone. It is so true that "we all do better when we all do better."
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When I am not working I spend much of my free time with my five grandsons, ages 11, 9, 6-year-old twins, and a 4-year-old in California. Four of them live within 10 minutes of us, and my husband and I are with them very often. They are the light in our lives! I also have been a volunteer with Helping Paws for 15 years, an organization that trains assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities, veterans and first responders with PTSD. It is humbling and rewarding work!