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Guía de Votantes

Washington County Commissioner District 4

County commissioners are the county s key policymakers. They oversee the administration of the county, set county budget, and participate in county long-range planning. County services that they oversee include a wide variety of social service and welfare programs, as well as certain public health programs. Learn more about the day in the life of a county commissioner in this video from the Association of Minnesota Counties. (https://www.mncounties.org/meetings_and_education/day_in_the_life_of_a_minnesota_county_commissioner.php)

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  • Candidate picture

    Karla Bigham
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Keith Franke
    (NP)

Información Biográfica

If elected, what will your top three priorities be and why? (750 characters)

What actions would you take, if any, to address affordability of housing in your county? (500 characters)

How would you ensure election laws do not create barriers to Minnesotans’ freedom to vote while also ensuring safe and secure elections? (500 characters)

What do you see as the biggest challenges to mental health and social services in your county, and how would you address them? (500 characters)

If there were to be budget cuts during your term, what are the most essential county services that you would advocate to preserve? (500 characters)

Campaign Website http://www.karlabigham.com
Campaign Twitter Handle @@karlabigham
Campaign Email karla@karlabigham.com
Campaign Mailing Address 6803 74TH STREET
COTTAGE GROVE, MN 55016
1) Address the mental health and substance abuse issues in our communities

2) Encourage workforce development to train displaced workers or residents changing careers is important to support and retain local businesses.

3) Plan for the needs of our growing and aging communities
It is an urgent need throughout the county to have affordable and stable housing for residents of all ages. It is imperative for workforce development. I will work closely with the Washington County Community Development Agency to encourage private/public partnerships to maximize state and federal dollars to provide safe and stable housing for residents. We also need additional housing for mental health services to keep people in need of services out of the criminal justice system.
Counties have the primary responsibility of administering our elections. They do an amazing job of ensuring fair and free elections. I would advocate updating the state laws overseeing elections. We need automatic voter registration, we need to allow townships across the whole state the option of mail-in only elections (currently only those outside the metro area can utilize this process), and we should have direct feed balloting the whole early voting period, not just the last week.
The workforce shortage to provide the services is the largest challenge for the delivery of services in our county. We need to add more providers to deliver these services that are in high demand. Housing is a huge barrier for people that struggle with mental health issues and chemical dependency. There is not enough housing to allow people in need of these services to stabilize and be successful. Private insurance companies must be held accountable to cover these services too.
80% of the county’s budget is mandated spending by the federal or state government, so there is very little discretionary spending in the budget. 68% of the county’s levy covers the remaining mandated spending. As county commissioner, I would advocate for fully funding unfunded mandates and oppose cost shifts from the state and federal governments onto counties. The state & federal governments should allow counties to have local control over mandated programs to provide for efficiency.
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