There are many issues that should be addressed but the most important is that County Government needs to be more transparent, and more friendly to the residents of the county whether they live in Cities or they live and work on farms. All citizens should be treated with dignity and respect everyone who does business with the county should be treated kindly especially by those who work for the county whether they work in the office or are the elected officials who serve the county, County Commissioners being the elected representatives who help govern the county should make an effort to listen to everyone who wants to meet with them, from State Representatives to ordinary citizens, nobody should be turned away or ignored.
In Nicollet County those questions are addressed mostly by City Councils and there are three cities, North Mankato and St. Peter, and a smaller city- Nicollet -isn't as bad a problem, whereas it might be worse in North Mankato being the most populous city in the County, if the Cities enlist the help of the County Commissioners, they would be best to first enlist the County Human Services Department. If the County board is brought into the discussion I hope we all can come up with solutions.
I would think it would be most prudent to fund would be the Human Services Department and Veterans Affairs, both of which can deal with Mental health questions, Veterans often suffer traumatic experiences when they are serving in a war zone that has long-term effect to their mental health and the Veteran services ability to help veterans get the treatment they need to get the life to as normal as possible is extremely important.
Law Enforcement Department needs the most, they help keep our residents safe and should be funded so they can keep doing that efficiently.
The County Human Services come next, they do a great service to the people in the county and what they do isn’t cheap.
The County Veterans Services likewise do a good service in helping veterans with their medical and mental care, the Veterans served their country and should be treated with utmost respect. What the Veterans Services do also isn’t cheap.
Every issue that Nicollet County faces is key to someone. Understanding that the county’s responsibilities are simultaneously to the broad community and to the individual is the perspective I bring to each interaction and decision.
Nicollet County’s responsibilities and budget focus upon public works (including county roads and bridges), health and human services, public safety, property services, elections, and much more. My priorities focus upon having the staff and resources to meet these needs and to be ready to meet new challenges. The lessons that we all learned during the pandemic and the ways in which our economy and our community are transforming will require that Nicollet County continue to advance the services it provides.
We must continue to support those experiencing homelessness and who are unhoused. Nicollet County is taking positive steps to connect with those in need of housing support and to address housing disparities. Far too many Nicollet County residents are "severely cost burdened" for housing (2021 MHP report). Our work with neighboring counties in the South Central HRA is essential to addressing housing issues. Supporting economic development can help close the gap between housing costs and wages.
Nicollet County's elections are safe and secure and the election staff are outstanding stewards who have created an outstanding process that is continuously improved and monitored. The many volunteers in our community who serve as election judges dedicate themselves to ensuring our elections, the cornerstone of our democracy. This election season sees additional County efforts to help all eligible voters participate, using lessons from the pandemic to guide us.
We must support those who are without support or under-supported in essential areas, including health care, housing, and food. Nicollet County recently enhance our mental health support by opening the Lighthouse on Marshall. We must do more. Locating sites and professionals for mental health services are significant obstacles we are focused on. Outreach efforts are improving as knowledgeable staff work with communities, identifying needs, and lining up supports.
Nicollet County's services for county residents are largely funded federally or by the state. The County depends upon these partners to fund the services they mandate. Food, housing, health care, public safety, roads/bridges, elections, and other areas are priorities that Nicollet County residents share. A responsible, conservative budget process and excellent staff position the County well to preserve essential services, as our clean audits and continued services during the pandemic prove.