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

2022 Dakota County Commissioner Primary Election: Housing

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

What housing policies do you support? What are your views on affordable housing and multi-family housing?

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

Joe Atkins

(campaign site)

Dakota County is now Minnesota’s lowest-taxed county, with the lowest county property taxes per person of any of the state’s 87 counties. This fiscal responsibility directly impacts housing affordability, since a homeowner of a median-valued home here pays over $1,000 less in county property taxes than they would on the same-valued home in neighboring counties. For example,
county property taxes are 55% lower on a home in West St. Paul compared to the same-valued home next door in St. Paul.

The Dakota County Community Development Agency also operates thousands of units of well-maintained, affordable senior townhomes and apartments. This quality housing is available at a reasonable cost to local senior citizens with limited incomes when they sell their existing single-family homes, which in turn makes current homes available to new buyers.

Finally, Dakota County has adopted a Housing Business Plan to address homelessness, which is often a result of mental illness and/or chemical dependency. In addition to providing emergency shelter that gets people off the streets, Dakota County received grant funding to construct permanent supportive housing at Cahill Place in Inver Grove Heights. The services included at Cahill Place help families successfully break out of the cycle of homelessness to find stability.

Jimmy Francis

(campaign site)

Each community has a policy and the county has a housing policy, I would work with each city to ensure their policy and goals work with the county policy, goals and initiatives. I would like to ensure the projects that are being built and implemented today are now monitored for transportation patterns, stress to the system of our EMS, Fire, Police and that we have appropriate amounts of retail and services available to support the new growth.  Using that data I would be better able to take any kind of action that best supports the county’s future decisions in this area. I don’t want to overload the city’s capacities to meet county goals.

John Wheeler

(no campaign site)

Creating innovative and inviting public and private investment in housing is paramount.  “Affordability” is relative to means.  

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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