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Photo by Kent Landerholm, 2012

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!

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Updated: 7 hours ago

Absentee voting for the November 2nd municipal and school district general election began on September 17th. To stay informed about the candidates you'll be voting for, the League of Women Voters of Dakota County will be hosting a series of virtual candidate forums where your school district candidates will be answering your questions. Please submit your questions using this Google form!


ISD 199 (Inver Grove Heights) school board election (3 seats)


Candidate forum was held Wednesday, September 22nd. You can watch a rebroadcast of the forum via Town Square Television on Comcast Xfinity channels 15/HD859 and video will be available soon at townsquare.tv/shows/decision-2021. Learn more about the election here.


ISD 196 (Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan) school board election (3 seats)


Candidate forum will be held Wednesday, September 29th. There will be no live broadcast of this forum, but video of the forum will be available soon after being recorded. You can watch the forum via Comcast Xfinity channels 20/HD859, Eagan TV's Facebook page, Eagan TV's YouTube channel, the Roku app's Community channel (search for Eagan Television), Eagan-tv.com/watch, Spectrum channel 180, Frontier’s Vantage channel 191 or 192, District 196's YouTube channel, Apple Valley’s and Rosemount’s YouTube pages, or via Town Square Television on Comcast channels 15/HD859. Learn more about the election here.


ISD 197 (West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan) school board election (3 seats)


Candidate forum will be held Thursday, October 7th from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. You can watch the forum via Town Square Television on Comcast Xfinity channels 15/HD859 or 20/HD859 (depending on your location), at townsquare.tv/webstreaming, Eagan TV's Facebook page, Eagan TV's YouTube channel, the Roku app's Community channel (search for Eagan Television), or Eagan-tv.com/watch. Learn more about the election here.


A separate meet-the-candidate forum co-hosted by the parent organizations of Garlough Elementary, Moreland Elementary, and Heritage E-STEM Middle Schools will be held outdoors at Garlough Elementary School's amphitheater from noon - 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 25. The address of the school is 1740 Charlton St, West St Paul, MN 55118. More information about the forum is available here. Please note that this candidate forum is not sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Dakota County.


ISD 191 (Burnsville-Eagan-Savage) special election (1 seat)


Candidate forum is scheduled for Wednesday, October 13th. Time and broadcast information to be announced. Learn more about the election here.


ISD 194 (Lakeville) special election (1 seat, plus whether to add a new seat)


Candidate forum will be held Wednesday, October 20th. Time and broadcast information to be announced. Learn more about the election here.


ISD 200 (Hastings) school board election (3 seats)


A candidate forum co-hosted by the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Hastings Community TV will be held on Tuesday, October 5th from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Hastings High School auditorium. The forum will be live-streamed via Hastings Community TV's Facebook page and will be broadcast on channel 16. More information about this candidate forum is available here and more information about the election is available here. Please note that this candidate forum is not sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Dakota County.

On September 13 the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel announced that it will hold multiple hearings allowing members of the public "to share facts, opinions, or concerns related to the redistricting process." The hearings are currently scheduled to be held in person and will also be remotely viewable via Zoom. The final hearing will be held solely via Zoom.


By Friday, September 24, anyone wishing to speak must either complete this form or send an email to StateRedistrictingPanel@courts.state.mn.us stating their name, any group being represented, the hearing location at which the individual would like to speak, and any need for language interpretation or hearing-assistive technology. Requests to speak will be granted in the order they are received and the names of those granted the opportunity to speak will be announced on or after September 29 at mncourts.gov/2021RedistrictingPanel.


The panel will also consider written statements, which may be submitted no later than October 29, either by delivering a copy to one of the in-person hearings, by mailing a copy to:


Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel

c/o Christa Rutherford, Clerk of Appellate Courts

305 Minnesota Judicial Center

25 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

St Paul, Minnesota 55155


or by email to StateRedistrictingPanel@courts.state.mn.us.


The hearings that will be held in closest proximity to Dakota County, as well as the final Zoom-only hearing, are detailed below:


Monday, October 11

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Woodbury City Council Chamber

Woodbury City Hall

8301 Valley Creek Rd

Woodbury, MN 55125


Wednesday, October 13

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Shakopee City Council Chamber

Shakopee City Hall

485 Gorman St

Shakopee, MN 55379


Friday, October 15

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Conference Room 230

Minnesota Judicial Center

25 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

St Paul, MN 55155


Tuesday, October 26

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. via Zoom


More information about the Special Redistricting Panel is available here and a full list of hearing locations and dates is available here.



Updated: 3 days ago

Our September meeting featured a discussion about the role, function, and limits of school boards. There are six school districts within Dakota County holding school board elections this fall so the meeting was a great opportunity to learn more about the issues. Our guests included:


Kelsey Waits - Chair of ISD 200 (Hastings) School Board Kelsey was first elected to the ISD 200 School Board in 2017 and has been serving as School Board Chair since January 2020. Kelsey is committed to public service and is active in many organizations, both locally and statewide. She currently serves on the Dakota County Extension Committee, Friends of the Pleasant Hill Library Board, Blueprint Foundations Board, OutFront Minnesota Action Board, and Hastings Environmental Protectors. Kelsey is also a founding member of THRIVE Hastings. Kelsey is the mother of two amazing children who continue to inspire her every day. Kelsey holds a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs and is currently pursuing her PhD. Kelsey also has a Master’s in Statistics from the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Wellesley College.

Joanne Mansur - Chair of ISD 197 (West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan) School Board Joanne Mansur is a member of the ISD 197 School Board. She was first elected in 2011 and is currently serving her 5th year as School Board Chair.

Abigail Alt - Treasurer of ISD 191 (Burnsville-Eagan-Savage) School Board First appointed to the ISD 191 School Board in 2013, Director Alt was first elected in 2014, and re-elected in 2018. In her tenure of service, Director Alt has: served three times as chair; served in other leadership roles including vice chair and treasurer; advocated directly with State and Federal officials on behalf of our students; received MN School Board Association’s (MSBA) Rising Star award; participated in grassroots advocacy through MSBA’s Delegate Assembly; served on Board subcommittees including Policy Review, Negotiations, and Student Performance and Achievement; and worked together with the Chamber of Commerce, County, City, and local partner organizations to increasingly support and reveal the varied, unique paths that lead to success for our youth. Outside of her board service, Alt has also served as a parent volunteer, PTO secretary, Girl Scout Troop leader, as well as on the governing committee for her son’s Boy Scout Troop.

Jackie Magnuson - Chair of ISD 196 (Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan) School Board Jackie Magnuson was first elected to the ISD 196 School Board in 1989. She is appointed as board representative to the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD), Continuing Education/Vocational Relicensure, Equity Advisory Council (EAC), Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service Unit (ECSU), Q Comp Educational Improvement Planning (EIP) Team, and Schools for Equity in Education (SEE). She has served on the board of directors for the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) and National School Boards Association (NSBA).


The meeting was held virtually via Zoom. Video of the meeting is available below:


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