Candidate: Vicki Swanson
Address: 12135 Gantry Lane, Apple Valley
Occupation: Educational assessor/teacher
Family: Son, college student
Qualifications: In my professional career I’ve been an environmental safety trainer and auditor for Northwest Airlines, project coordinator in both the private and government sectors. Qualifications include public speaking and project management. I’ve worked on several committees, both as team lead and participant, working with people from all walks of life. I’m an active participant at my church in Apple Valley where I sing and play piano on the worship team and with children’s ministry. I’m a member and volunteer of the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, member of Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) and have volunteered at District 196 schools.
1) Why are you running for office and why should people vote for you?
I want to give back to the community in which I’ve lived, worked, shopped, banked and worshiped in for 26 years. The commissioner position will grant the opportunity to serve as a public servant maintaining and improving the quality of life in Dakota County. People should vote for me because of my integrity, strong ethics and being a non-partisan, hard-working team player. My combined work experience of working in the private sector as well as government gives me insight to effectively address county issues. My project management experience allows me to use my skill set to be an effective commissioner.
2) Dakota County is undergoing a population transformation. By 2030, 130,000 people will be over age 60, triple the number of people in that age group 2005. Considering there will likely be greater needs and fewer resources, what are ways you would propose to address the needs of an aging population?
We need strong transportation options for seniors to travel within and out of the county for shopping, library and restaurants. Safe-certified road and trail connections, using the Complete Streets standards allow wheel ability for those using the trail system allowing walkers, bikes and scooters to utilize the parks and trails. This strong connectivity makes it safe and usable for all people including our neighbors that use scooters and walkers. As an avid supporter of county parks, I know parks are a great way to stay active and provide wonderful entertainment at a very economical value.
3) In your opinion, what are the top four core responsibilities of government at the county level? Please rank the responsibilities in order of importance and include your reasons for the ranking.
Community services, housing, transportation, and most importantly, laying a foundation for financial stability in Dakota County. The primary responsibility of a Dakota County commissioner is to help the county create a long-range plan that serves the needs of its citizens now and in the future. Our rapidly changing demographics, the demands of aging baby boomers and our continued rapid growth will require us to be nimble and strategic in our planning, and forthright in the way we communicate with citizens. The same old way of doing things simply won’t suffice in the 21st century if we are serious about maintaining the high quality of life and services that are hallmarks of Dakota County without placing unsustainable burdens on our taxpayers. Economic development promotes and creates jobs for the citizens of Dakota County. Laying a foundation for financial stability helps us support community services, transportation and housing needs in Dakota County.
4) Dakota County implemented a transit tax and spent millions to implement bus rapid transit for Cedar Avenue, and will continue to subsidize its maintenance and operations in the future. The county also plans a transit corridor on Robert Trail. Please explain your opinion of bus rapid transit, light rail and other transit.
Decisions about transportation should be based on viable studies of current and future needs. Additionally, plans need to be developed for east/west corridors. This will improve the accessibility to Dakota County citizens to get to shopping, medical, educational and business centers. All options should be explored for Robert Trail. Developing rail or BRT to connect with St. Paul would expand several business opportunities and job prospects for the citizens of Rosemount and the surrounding communities. With population growth, transportation options need to be explored and improvements made on a continual basis and are forward-focused using long range solutions.