County commissioner? Now there’s a race people don’t know much about and aren’t very excited about. While this can be a snoozer of a race, it’s important because county services really fill in some of the gaps between the state and the city.
Here in district two (West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Sunfish Lake, and parts of Inver Grove Heights), incumbent Commissioner Kathleen Gaylord is facing South St. Paul city council member Todd Podgorski.
I won’t pretend to be thoroughly up to speed on all the ins and outs of county government. But I did attend the League of Women Voters candidate forum held in West St. Paul. I came away with a clear and simple verdict: Kathleen Gaylord is an impressive public servant and she gets my vote.
Two things impressed me throughout the forum:
- Dakota County is doing pretty well. We’ve got pretty low property taxes, especially compared with the rest of the metro. The county board has a high approval rating (88%) and people rank the quality of life very high (95%). There’s always room for improvement, but it seems like Dakota County is doing a good job.
- Kathleen Gaylord knows her stuff. I didn’t realize this, but Gaylord has been a Dakota County Commissioner for 16 years. She’s an efficient and knowledgeable bureaucrat—and I mean that as a high compliment. She demonstrated her insight throughout the forum, noting things the county is already doing that her opponent suggested and at one point correcting a question that had the facts wrong.
So things are going well, and I think we can thank Commissioner Gaylord for that.
I didn’t hear anything from Podgorski that made me think we need to change course. He seems like a dedicated public servant, but he doesn’t have anywhere near the knowledge or experience Gaylord brings to the table. I can’t think of a reason why we would want to say no to that kind of proven expertise.
Short and sweet: Vote for Kathleen Gaylord for Dakota County Commissioner District 2.
Vote November 6
That’s my take. I encourage you to do your own research and make up your own mind. Then go vote on November 6 (or earlier).
Here are a few forums and articles that may help: