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Get to know Dakota County Commissioner candidate Victoria Swanson

Financial issues are ongoing, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. Is the county taking the right approach to setting its budget and levy each year?

Yes, Dakota County has been fiscally responsible through careful future budget planning. The primary responsibility of a Dakota County Commissioner is to help the county create a long-range plan that serves the needs of its citizens now and in the future. Our rapidly changing demographics, the demands of aging baby boomers and our continued rapid growth will require us to be nimble and strategic in our planning, and forthright in the way we communicate with citizens. But the same old way of doing things simply won't suffice in the 21st century if we are serious about maintaining the high quality of life and services that are hallmarks of Dakota County without placing unsustainable burdens on our taxpayers.

The number of senior citizens living in Dakota County is among the fastest growing in the area. What should be Dakota County's role, if any, in meeting possible needs of that age group?

Dakota County should continue to have a role in helping meet the needs of seniors. In partnership with CDA, there are 26 senior housing developments located throughout the county providing 1,543 units for seniors. Dakota County should continue to help foster and encourage a wide range of housing options for the needs of the seniors. These include single family homes, assisted living apartment buildings, adult foster homes, campus-style communities, independent living options and skilled nursing facilities. Also by promoting our lovely parks with the "Do the Parks" promotion and active programs such as the "The Simple Walking Program" will help our seniors stay active and will provide fun inexpensive recreation and will reduce healthcare costs. Our beautiful efficient libraries are also a treasure in Dakota County for all to enjoy!

Transportation - how people get around the county and through it - is a challenge. As the roads continue to get more congested, how should Dakota County address the need? Are we doing it right already?

Transportation is always an ever changing challenge.

Dakota County is the first in the state that developed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Under commissioner Will Branning's and mayor Mary Hamann-Roland's leadership chairing the Cedar Avenue Transit Corridor Committee BRT became a reality. The cities of Apple Valley and Rosemount have been working hard to develop transportation solutions for our communities. Robert Street Corridor is being studied presently for viable solutions for riders. Laidlaw Transit Service and DARTS provides Transit Link and Metro Mobility ride services. Under mayor Droste's guidance, the city of Rosemount just started construction for a park and ride across from city hall. Bus service needs to be expanded by MUTA to address east-west transit needs as well as north-south needs. In addition, we need to continue to offer safe trails and sidewalks for all of our residents to travel by foot and non-motorized transportation. Complete streets utilized by the city of Rosemount and later passed by the Minnesota State Legislature helps us provide safe design build streets for all modes of transportation. By continuing to promote local jobs in Dakota County and planning for greater housing density, this will allow more transportation choices for our dynamic and growing Dakota County which will reduce congestion.