Lebanon Hills

Photo by Kent Landerholm, 2015

The League of Women Voters of Dakota County is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences policy through education and advocacy. We meet monthly and also host candidate forums, issue forums, and other events of interest to the community. Please attend one of our meetings or contact us for more information!


Words matter. At our next meeting on Tuesday, February 2, we invite you to join us for a reflection on the narrative of a “stolen election” through the stories of Kenya and Iraq. The meeting will be held virtually beginning at 7 p.m. and non-members can register here.

Anna Ruth Merritt interned in Kenya in 2007-2008 and witnessed deep societal divisions, an election that was internationally recognized as stolen, and the ensuing fallout. Upon returning to the United States, Anna Ruth began to see disturbingly similar societal divisions. Learn how we can recover as a society that values free and fair elections through employing relational resilience.

Julie Ethan will share research from her thesis advisor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies, Ami Carpenter, PhD, on neighborhoods in Baghdad, Iraq that withstood sectarian violence by adopting a non-defensive/inclusive stance after the 2003 invasion by U.S. forces. Drawing from these lessons, we’ll take time to practice how to pivot our conversations with friends and family away from a stolen election narrative to one that is inclusive and unifying. Together we’ll dream out loud about the steps we can take in our local neighborhoods to keep America safe from the pitfall of dangerous words.

Julie Ethan is the author of How Can Half the Country Be So Stupid? A Memoir and Guide to Friendship Between Political Opposites. Julie consults with organizations on bridging the red/blue divide. She provides one-on-one counsel to individuals engaged in relationships harmed by political conflict. Julie was formerly a small business owner and a co-founder of the Eagan, MN alliance of Braver Angels, an organization with a mission to depolarize America. After raising their five children, she and her spouse, Larry, sold their business and moved to San Diego, CA in 2019.

Anna Ruth Merritt cares deeply about fostering resilient and caring communities. She has worked in support of individuals, families, and communities at home and abroad and is currently in the process of launching a small business that will increase material and relational wellbeing in her hometown of Conway, Arkansas, where she lives, loves, and gardens with her dog and fluffle of rabbits.

Our meetings are free, nonpartisan, and everyone is welcome!

Update: At its meeting on January 14, the Apple Valley City Council appointed Councilmember Clint Hooppaw as Mayor for the next two years. That appointment leaves a vacancy on the City Council and applications will be accepted from those wishing to be appointed to fill that vacancy through February 15. The application form is available here. The term of the vacant seat extends through the end of 2022.

Background Information

Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland was elected as a Dakota County Commissioner representing District 7 during the November general election. As a result there was a vacancy in the office of mayor. The current term of that office ends on January 2, 2023.

Minn. Stat. § 412.02, subd. 2a, states that if a vacancy occurs any time other than during the period between the start of a candidate filing period and a regular election, then the vacancy must be filled by an appointment by the city council, and if the term of office that remains is "more than two years" at the time the vacancy occurs, a special election must be held to fill the vacancy. The statute says that if "less than two years remain in the unexpired term, there need not be a special election." The statute does not specify what process should be followed when the unexpired term is exactly two years.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26 the League of Women Voters of St. Paul will host a panel discussion focused on journalists' perspective of covering an election in the midst of a pandemic and claims of disinformation. The event will be held via Zoom and will also be livestreamed on Facebook Live. Participants will include Star Tribune reporter Briana Bierschbach, The Minnesota Daily reporter Hana Ikramuddin, and former Pioneer Press reporter Bill Salisbury. You can register here and find more information here.

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