No matter what we look like or where we are from, Carver County residents all want to live in a place where they are celebrated for who they are and live a happy, prosperous life.
As county commissioner, I promise to uplift and lead on the equity work happening in our community. Though some local leaders will try to denigrate our schools’ equity efforts for a perceived political gain, I support our schools on this issue.
As a boy, I grew up in a racially prejudiced area, knowing there was wrong happening all around me. Much of what I do as your county commissioner today is fueled by the memories I have of that time and knowing that even then, I wanted to work to make a change.
I cannot pretend to understand what it is like to experience a system that is unfair, but I can promise to recognize and own the issue of racial and socioeconomic disparities and fight for equity in Carver County.
Doing this work has shown me that every county has different needs and makes investments in different ways. Every person deserves a place that they can call home, and everything I do is to make Carver County that wonderful home for all.
Last year we were ranked No. 1 as the happiest county in Minnesota for the second year in a row by Smartasset.com. This shows the tremendous sense of community that exists here and the great work that fosters it, however, not everyone enjoys all of these benefits. In a survey done last year by the county health department, it is clear that there is an income disparity and employment disparity between Black and Latinx residents and white residents. This is not equitable, and not something that should be put on these communities to mend by themselves.
Equity programs in schools can remove barriers to learning for our students, boost academic outcomes, and can also be a stepping stone toward more honest discussions around our dinner tables and throughout our community.
As a county leader, I am taking ownership of these issues, and will continue to make equity a focus in my work like I have done in the past.
When I notice a disparity, I take action. When I was first elected, I noticed that there was a need for more action in creating a veteran-friendly hiring environment in the county as well as ensuring fair hiring and promoting of women within the county office. With the new information from the public health survey in 2019 about opportunity gaps between races, I promise to seek out solutions and build on programs that I have helped spearhead.
We have a start on closing these gaps with programs like TAP-transportation assistance, CareerForce, and food assistance programs like Abundance.
I will continue to do the necessary work to ensure all residents can seek the opportunity to pursue happiness here at home, and I ask all Carver County residents to join me in this cause.
Carver County Commissioner