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!


Updated: Apr 7

At our April 6, 2021 meeting we enjoyed an engaging presentation by Dr. Harry Boyte and Marie-Louise Ström from the Institute for Public Life and Work on the role of citizens in our democracy. In a time of growing polarization and mounting problems that the government alone cannot solve, this presentation began with the ”We the People” idea from the Preamble to the Constitution, which defines our democracy as the work of the people. We learned about the way the idea was brought to life on an enormous scale in the hundreds of grassroots citizenship schools of the civil rights movement. In them, people combined fighting for the right to vote with learning skills that equipped citizens to work on many other problems. We heard a powerful contemporary story of “democracy schools” in Burundi, one of the world’s poorest societies, where everyday citizens claimed “safety as everybody’s business” and learned to work with police as partners. Finally, looking at the roots of the League of Women Voters in diverse movements for civic awakening in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we heard the proposition that LWV is ideally positioned now for leadership in a grassroots citizenship education movement that equips citizens to be effective agents of change and work across differences to address our common challenges.

Our resident history instructor, Frank Sachs, will be teaching a class starting April 7, 2021. The class is titled Disputed American Presidential Elections and will run for six weeks. Expect interesting history and lively discussion on several presidential elections and elections where third parties made a difference in the outcome. The class will meet weekly on Wednesdays via Zoom and you can register for either the 2 p.m. session or the 6 p.m. session. Each class is 75 minutes. The cost is only $20.20 thanks to a grant from the Burnsville Lions Club. Those interested may register for the class via ISD 191 Community Education or via ISD 196 Community Education.

Updated: Mar 18

At its meeting on January 14, the Apple Valley City Council appointed Councilmember Clint Hooppaw as Mayor for the next two years. That appointment created a vacancy on the City Council and applications were accepted from those wishing to be appointed to fill that vacancy through the end of 2022. 12 people applied including John Dusek III, Linda Garrett-Johnson, David Goble, Noel Hammill, Joseph Landru, Johnson Madamu, Thomas Melander, Gloria Myre, Nancy Paradeise, Helaine Powell, Becky Sandahl, and Paul Scanlan. The applications of those individuals are available here. Interviews were held on February 23 and 24 and March 4. More information is available from this Sun ThisWeek story.

At its meeting on March 11, the Apple Valley City Council appointed "Planning Commission Chair Tom Melander to fill the vacancy on the City Council. Mr. Melander has served on the City’s Planning Commission for 24 years and has been the Chair of the Planning Commission for five years. He has also been a member of the Apple Valley Economic Development Authority for eight years. His service on the City Council will begin on April 8, 2021." More information is available from this Sun ThisWeek story.

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. City Council member Clint Hooppaw was appointed to fill the mayoral vacancy in January, creating a vacancy on the City Council. The term of the City Council seat 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.

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