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Guía de Votantes

Nicollet 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.

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  • Candidate picture

    Mark Dehen
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Thomas P. Hagen
    (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)

Preservation of the county’s health care safety net functions for its citizens. Affordable health care is a challenge for many. Medical costs cause 2/3 of all personal bankruptcies. Providing support for our residents, especially the most vulnerable, will require diligence. Promote collaborative opportunities with our community partners to leverage available funding. Past joint infrastructure projects like the Hwy 14/41 interchange & joint equipment purchases will be beneficial in the future. Joint task forces for law enforcement & mutual aid agreements serve all residents. Fiscal conservation leveraging tax payer dollars through cooperative measures with community partners to foster growth and mitigate the tax burden we all contribute to.
There is a significant need for workforce housing to accommodate continued job growth in our area. However, building costs above $250/ft2 making even a modest sized home expensive to build. Working with community partners for grant opportunities to address our needs, using tax increment financing to lower rents in a percentage of multifamily housing projects and reducing property taxes to offset less than market rate rents are methods North Mankato has adopted to try to improve affordability.
MN has a history of strong voter turnout. Our system of voter registration and proof of residency is fair and reasonable for our voting citizens. Our election judges are well trained. Our polling locations are safe, accessible, convenient, and well publicized. The balloting equipment is regularly tested and maintained. We also have a well-considered, proven absentee balloting system. The election results are validated and canvassed by the involved jurisdiction to verify the results.
Mental health is a critical concern throughout our community only exacerbated by the recent pandemic and the isolation it caused our residents. This increasing demand on mental health services, providers and social workers will be an increasing challenge. The Lighthouse on Marshall /Power Up Clubhouse is a valuable community resource. However, I think there is an opportunity for telehealth expansion in counseling providing direct care in the privacy and convenience of the patient’s own home.
The health care safety net and law enforcement are the 2 most vital areas. Reductions in either area only lead to larger and more expensive issues with long tails. Supporting the safety and livability of our citizens bears future growth and prosperity. This will necessitate creative and innovative solutions and staffing. There are also ongoing infrastructure needs, but they will need to be prioritized and balanced on their return-on-investment impacts and collaborative partnership opportunities.
The climate change future of Nicollet County is uncertain, but floods, droughts and weather extremes need to be anticipated. Our best preparation includes encouraging County wide: Sustainable energy sources, sustainable ecological practices in both rural and urban areas, and sustainable growth and development.
Our most valuable affordable housing asset is the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing housing stock. Unnecessarily restrictive rental policies also limit housing supply. Existing building regulations that make new construction unaffordable without significant health or safety benefit need to be re-evaluated. Creative ideas like land trusts and the small house movement need to be explored.
Minnesota and Nicollet County have excellent election integrity overseen by a cadre of citizens and volunteers. County voting is secure and safe. So far, the legislature has not seriously considered the voting restrictions that other states have passed. I would encourage voting for candidates who will maintain Minnesota’s current election rules!
As people live longer, services to keep citizens in their homes with caregivers need to be encouraged. Drug and alcohol problems in the youthful population can be in part addressed through mentoring and early intern experiences matching youth with work. Meaningful opportunities to keep youth busy and earning income can prevent some of the problems that idleness may engender. Effective and timely drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are an ongoing need.
Freeze hirings at current levels replacing only critical service hires. No new equipment purchases. If conditions were dire, go to a 4-day work week, staggering days to meet citizen needs while maintaining positions. An immediate pay freeze at all county levels until the budget problem is resolved.