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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: May 14

Update: Unofficial election results show that Christopher Kostik has been elected as the first mayor of the City of Credit River, Brent Lawrence and Leroy Schommer have been elected to city council terms continuing through 2024, and Alan Novak and Andrew Stevens have been elected to city council terms continuing through 2022.


Background Information


Credit River Township occupies the eastern edge of Scott County to the south of Savage, west of Lakeville, and southeast of Prior Lake. A special election will be held on Tuesday, May 11, as part of the township's process of being incorporated as the City of Credit River. Offices that will be on the ballot include mayor and four city council seats and a copy of the sample ballot is available here. The mayor will be elected to a term continuing through 2022, while council members will be elected to staggered terms continuing through 2022 and 2024.

A total of 13 candidates filed for the open positions, including three candidates for mayor, five candidates for the two city council terms continuing through 2024, and five candidates for the two city council terms continuing through 2022. A candidate forum was held on April 26:



Below are links to the affidavit of candidacy filed by each candidate and any website, if known.


Mayor


City Council Term Through 2024 (two seats)


City Council Term Through 2022 (two seats)


Additional information is available via an April 28 KMSP story, an April 15 Sun Thisweek story, an April 14 Southwest News Media article, an April 2 Star Tribune article, a March 24 Southwest News Media article, and Credit River Township's website.

Update: On May 11 the Dakota County Board of Commissioners appointed Kathy Keena as Dakota County Attorney. The position will be on the ballot in 2022. Media coverage of the appointment is available from Sun ThisWeek, the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press, and the Northfield News.


Background Information


On March 23 the Dakota County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to select three finalists to fill the vacancy resulting from the retirement of Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

The three finalists included:

  • Kathy Keena, the acting Dakota County Attorney who has worked for the Dakota County Attorney's Office since April 2000;

  • Elizabeth Lamin, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who has worked for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office since July 2008; and

  • Thomas Pugh, a Minnesota district court senior judge who served as a Dakota County District Court judge from December 2011 through August 2019.

More information about the finalists is available here. Mr. Pugh withdrew before being interviewed by the Board.


On April 21 the ACLU of Minnesota, the NAACP Minneapolis, Jewish Community Action, Gender Justice, and the Coalition of Asian American Leaders hosted a forum to hear from the finalists to fill the vacancy. The video is available here (Facebook). Kathy Keena was unable to attend but provided written responses to a set of pre-selected questions, which are available here.


Updated: Apr 16

Update: At its meeting on April 13, 2021, the ISD 194 School Board unanimously voted to establish the dates of the filing period for candidates which will be July 27 through August 10, 2021. A special election to fill the School Board vacancy will be held on November 2, 2021, the date of the general election for school districts and municipalities that hold elections in odd-numbered years. Early/absentee voting will begin on September 17, 2021. The candidate elected during the special election will serve the remainder of the term of the vacated seat, which ends on January 2, 2023.


Background Information


In November the chair of the ISD 194 (Lakeville) School Board, Zach Duckworth, was elected to the Minnesota Senate representing Senate District 58. Senator-elect Duckworth notified the Board of his intent to resign his school board seat effective January 4, 2021. Pursuant to state law, the Board is required to call a special election to fill the vacancy to be held no later than November 2, 2021, the date of the next municipal and school district general election.


The Board discussed the process of calling a special election at its work session on November 17 (relevant video begins at 1:53:23). Memoranda provided to the Board by ISD 194 staff state that the Board is not required to appoint someone to fill the vacancy until a special election can be held. However, Minn. Stat. § 123B.09, subd. 5b, states that "[a]ny vacancy on the board, other than a vacancy described in subdivision 4, must be filled by board appointment at a regular or special meeting." The statute does not say how quickly a school board must fill a vacancy by appointment but the statute does envision a process whereby someone is appointed to fill the time period between when a vacancy occurs and when a special election is held.

Gary Lee, Deputy Executive Director of the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA), stated in a newsletter published in February 2019 that under similar circumstances "[t]he statute requires that the vacancy be filled by school board appointment until a special election is held in the current year. The appointment process is not defined in statute, so the school board can determine the best process." The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State's 2020 School District Election Guide likewise states on page 61 that "[a]ny vacancy on a school board, other than a vacancy noted in M.S. 123B.09, subd. 4 (ill or absent member), must be filled by board appointment at a regular or special meeting. The appointment shall be in the form of a resolution entered in the minutes and shall be effective 30 days following adoption of the resolution, subject to M.S. 123B.09, subd. 5b(b) (petition to reject is filed). If the appointment becomes effective, it shall continue until a special election is held."

During its November 17 work session the Board discussed possibly combining the special election to fill the Board vacancy with a bond referendum. More information is available via this Sun Thisweek article.

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