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Two candidates are facing off for the Hennepin County Commissioner District 7 seat.

Technical Project Architect Kevin Anderson, is facing Danny Nadeau, Chief of Staff to Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson

Each candidate was asked the same questions by Sun Patriot Newspapers, and here are their responses:

What prompted you to seek election (or re-election) to office?

Anderson: My mom was a nurse who met my dad when he was in the armed forces. I grew up seeing how important it is to give back to the community and create positive impact on issues in the community. I know that the western suburbs have received less investment and attention in terms of transportation and other county services. When I saw that the current commissioner was looking to hand his seat to his assistant, I knew that real change could only come with a new voice who was committed to service to the county.

Nadeau: The challenge’s we’re facing today, and in the future, will never be solved the way we’re headed where friends, neighbors and families can no longer have mutually respectful conversations, and we’ve partly done it to ourselves. Hennepin, like so many regions across the country, has been dominated by one political bloc and one ideology. When this happens, it’s not just that minority voices are silenced, but we stop building community on mutual respect and trust. I’m running to change that and have a track-record of building strong relationships, finding the common ground and charging forward.

What separates you from your opponent(s)?

Anderson: I’ve worked for the last 20 years in Information Technology, helping businesses of all sizes solve their complex and sometimes previously unsolvable problems. I have received endorsements from many important organizations, such as the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Teamsters Joint Council 32, AFSCME Council 5, Minnesota REALTORS® Political Action Committee, OutFront Minnesota, WestMetro Climate Action, current and former commissioners, local elected officials and more. With my wife and 4 young children, I understand the challenges being felt by families across the district, especially during this unprecedented time, and I’m committed to serving everyone in District 7 towards a better future.

Nadeau: Like so many industries, there is an art to politics and government, and I do realize it’s hard to see some days. But good leaders listen and engage; they don’t always have the right answers. They’re experienced, they build strong relationships and trust people. They’re kind. They find the right balance and make large-scale decisions that keep our world moving. They know that not one person, party, or group has all the right answers, and they stay in the game. And finally, like Truman, they’re always amazed at what can be done when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

What is the most pressing issue facing the constituency you hope to represent? How would you address that issue?

Anderson: I believe the most pressing need facing this district is the lack of an influential voice on the county board. We deserve a commissioner who will work with other commissioners and advocate for the needs of the district. This includes transportation investments, library improvements, access to health services, and conservation of the environment. The county as a whole is also dealing with a distinct lack of affordable housing. I would start with making sure that I’m listening to constituents, collaborating with my fellow commissioners and making sure that I’m focused on serving the people of district seven.

Nadeau: So much of our county’s success is due to the strength, diversity and identity of the communities that make up this region. One size does not fit all, and the county is far too metrocentric in the way it identifies and reacts to needs. This district offers the greatest potential for growth, contributes significantly to the county’s budget and always comes up short in the county budget. As commissioner, I will create a collaborative and robust platform where communities, the county and the state can identify, align and plan for building our future.

What in your background/experience best qualifies you for this office?

Anderson: My job as a Project Architect required me to listen carefully to a customer’s needs, to collaborate with diverse teams, and often to lead those teams to successful launch. I have often been the one taking that step forward to do the job that needs to be done. I accepted the responsibility of being President of my church council, stepped up to be a leader working to organize around reducing the opportunity gaps in our schools, and have been in the District 279 District Planning Advisory Council. I will take this sense of service to the county board.

Nadeau: County government is complex, it’s hard to understand and easy to overlook. We are the delivery system for state and federal government programs to reduce and minimize human suffering. The county board needs to reestablish itself as a policy board, not get side-tracked with political agendas. As a township administrator, policy researcher at the legislature, program manager at the Dept of Commerce and the last ten years at Hennepin, I know the proper roles and have built the strong relationships that will help guide us forward.

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