Ensuring Strong County Services
Healthy counties are vitally important to a healthy democracy. Counties take our nation’s ideals and deliver them to the people. The job of local government is to provide a solid foundation residents can rely on to build their lives. Olmsted County departments provide wide-ranging services including human services, voting and elections, garbage and recycling, public safety and law enforcement, parks and recreation, safe roads and bridges, soil and water protection, and much more. Olmsted County is nationally recognized for delivering excellence in these areas. As County Commissioner, my top priority is working to ensure operational excellence for all Olmsted County services.
Olmsted County is experiencing a critical housing shortage. As a Rochester Area Foundation First Homes board member I understand the urgent need for safe and affordable housing, particularly in low income, workforce, and senior housing options. Improving home ownership for immigrant families and communities of color is also a significant need. The greatest barrier these populations face is finding safe and affordable housing that is not a cost burden (more than 30% of gross income). The solution to Olmsted County's housing crisis requires long-range community-led initiatives. Collaboration with state, city, and county leaders is essential to engage with builders, business leaders, non-profits, and the greater community to prioritize affordable housing for all Olmsted County residents.
Law enforcement, emergency preparedness, and public safety are critical services Olmsted County provides to the community. As County Commissioner I leverage my experience as a Mayo Clinic Safety Advocate and emergency preparedness trainer, as well as my community organizing skills, to support public safety initiatives, including victim services, community corrections, and crime prevention. I also support Olmsted County's numerous alternatives to a traditional criminal justice approach, such as pretrial services, diversion programs, outreach specialists, employment assistance, chemical dependency treatment, drug court, and mental health services. The goal of these services is to offer meaningful opportunities for clients to improve their lives and lessen the likelihood of returning to the criminal justice system in the future.
Olmsted County's Health, Housing and Human Services division stands out as a national leader in providing programs, resources, and wrap-around services for our most vulnerable residents, including children, adults and families. As a member of the Olmsted County Human Services Advisory Board, I work to advance human services policy to better serve our residents most in need of assistance. Olmsted County's Health, Housing and Human Services Division provides resources for mental health, physical health, employment support, housing aid and medical assistance, food security, as well as veteran services. I am committed to ensuring a robust continuum of care for children, adults and families, by supporting the programs and services that offer stability and help Olmsted County residents thrive.