Candidates for Dakota County Commissioner District 2 primary election in 2022.

2022 Dakota County Commissioner Primary Election: Top Issues

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In Dakota County, the District 2 county commissioner—representing West St. Paul, South St. Paul, and parts of Inver Grove Heights—is on the ballot this year. Three candidates are running in the primary for the position. The top two in the primary will advance to the general election in November. We’ve asked the candidates a series of questions to see where they stand on the issues. We’ll share one question and the responses at a time leading up to the primary election on August 9. See our 2022 primary voter’s guide for more.

We’ve also asked about housing, public safety, and how they’ll create positive change. This time we’re asking the candidates’ top issues. There’s also a series of yes/no questions about basic political positions in our printable voter’s guide.

What are the two to three key issues for Dakota County to address in the next four years? What made you decide to focus on those issues in particular?

We posed this question to all candidates. Here are their responses:

Joe Atkins

(campaign site)

During my six years as County Commissioner, Dakota County paid off all county debt, making us one of the only counties in the country with zero debt. We also earned the nation’s top awards for public safety and public health, out of over 3,000 counties nationwide. Remaining debt-free, together with continued excellence in public safety and public health, including expanded access to mental health resources, remain top priorities in the next four years.

I am focused on staying debt-free, because this saves Dakota County millions of dollars in interest every year. This helps us weather tough times and hold down property taxes, while still investing in public safety, public health, and transportation, as well as award-winning parks, trails, and libraries.

Jimmy Francis

(campaign site)

#1 Listening to residents of the district #2 Mental Health #3 Public Safety. When we progressively address these key issues for district two, we solve issues for the entire county. Oftentimes the current priorities are based off of old initiatives and not taking into account the changing district demographics and expectations of residents. #1 is listening, residents currently don’t feel they are being heard. #2 One in five adults experienced a mental health issue and we need proactive mental wellness options. #3 Public Safety needs our support and some rethinking. Because of #1 listening, I have learned #2 Mental Health and #3 Public Safety are linked and Jimmy Francis will make them a priority moving forward.  

John Wheeler

(no campaign site)

The County needs to focus on economical means of maintaining the roads, public facilities and other infrastructure.  Dakota County also should invest in the systems that provide healthy, safe environments for the residents. 

Vote on August 9

The primary election is on Tuesday, August 9. Learn more about where and how to vote. You can also vote early with an absentee ballot, either by mail or by stopping at the Dakota County offices.

See our 2022 primary voter’s guide for more on the candidates and other races.

Thank you to the candidates for taking the time to respond to our questions.

Support West St. Paul Reader to ensure local election coverage can continue.

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