Commissioner Goettel -- News from Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Richfield

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debbie goettel

Bloomington | Eden Prairie | Richfield

March 2017


The word "we" means a lot to me. Richfield is the city where I raised my family and served as the mayor for ten years, and I’m blessed with many fond memories of my time there. For the last 30 years, “we” referred to city staff, my family, and all of the wonderful people living in our little city. It’s with a sense of great pride and responsibility that I arrive at Hennepin County. Every day I come to work, “we” now carries the weight of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Richfield. “We” encompasses more than 160,000 residents and a county staff that does everything from digging ditches to brain surgery. Thank you for taking a moment to catch up on the news from our office. Together, “we” can make our county a prosperous, welcoming place for all people.


Debbie Goettel

Goettel takes office

Goettel taking oath of office

Debbie Goettel (pronounced “Go Tell”) is the newly elected District 5 Hennepin County Commissioner serving the cities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Richfield. A constant presence in her community, she has volunteered on the Richfield Foundation Board and is an active member of her local Rotary and Optimist clubs. She served 10 years as Richfield’s mayor before running for the County Board. Debbie has a BS in Civil Engineering and graduate studies in Environmental Sustainability. In her professional career, she worked for international companies in the area of Sustainability, Health, and Safety. Debbie is married with three children and currently four grandchildren.

On January 3rd, she took the oath of office and joined her six new colleagues on the County Board. She replaces incumbent Randy Johnson, who retired after serving the county for 38 years. Debbie emerged as the frontrunner from a group of six candidates during the primary. In the General Election, 74,232 voters cast their ballots in the race – a District 5 record. She is the first woman elected as District 5’s commissioner, and the county has its first ever women-majority at the helm.
Debbie is already working hard as a voice for the suburban cities she represents. "I'm here to represent all of my constituents. We have a growing number of young families and recent immigrants along with large senior populations as well. We also have more jobs and the potential for economic growth because of our innovative business leaders. I'm here to be a balanced advocate for everyone."

In her first year on the County Board, Debbie will be serving as the chair of the Human Services Committee and the vice-chair of the Health Committee as well as the Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA). She was also appointed to represent Hennepin County on boards for Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County (CAPHC), the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), the Metro GIS Policy Board, the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control board, and the Hennepin History Museum.


Meet the team


Casey Krolczyk serves as the Principle Aide to Commissioner Goettel. An Eagle Scout and graduate of Orono High School, he received a BA in Political Economy from the University of Puget Sound before returning to Minnesota in 2014. With an unwavering passion for positivity, better governance, and promoting civic participation, he has staffed campaigns ranging from Save Our Minneapolis Parks to local and state-wide elections in Duluth, Bemidji, and the Twin Cities. Casey manages a policy portfolio that includes health, human services, public safety, libraries, environment/sustainability, and the Hennepin History Museum.


Michael Ohama comes to the District 5 office with a background in community organizing and affordable housing development. Previously, Michael was the Community Organizing Director for the Minnesota DFL, working with African American, Hmong, Latino, and Somali communities to create paths to power. Most recently, Michael worked for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, where he partnered with congregations to advocate for and develop affordable housing in their communities. Michael has a policy portfolio that includes housing, transportation, public works, and economic development. He is a passionate fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

You’re invited to the District 5 Open House!

April 5th  |  4-5:30pm 

Hennepin County Government Center
300 S 6th St, A-2400; Minneapolis, MN 55487

Commissioner Goettel would like you to join her for a District 5 Open House in her new office. We’ll have light refreshments and excellent conversations about the direction of the county and local developments in the district. All are welcome to attend.

Please RSVP to Casey Krolczyk: | 612-559-3009


Constituent services

In the last two months, we’ve fielded twenty five calls from constituents. Housing crises, energy assistance, child protection, emergency situations; we are here to advocate for you when it comes to navigating local and county services, and we want to help. Please call our office at 612-348-7885 for any questions or assistance.

Debbie around the District

“Drinking from a firehouse” is a phrase we hear often when it comes to catching on with everything happening at the county, but we’ve been up to the task. Here are the highlights of Commissioner Goettel’s meetings and events from January and February.

Commissioner Goettel at Centennial Elementary

Met with students at Centennial Elementary School to talk about civics in Richfield

  • I-35W Solutions Alliance
  • Attended Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority meeting
  • Discussed housing and human services with Fraser President and CEO Diane Cross
  • Briefed on critical environmental policy with representatives from Conservation Minnesota
  • Met with Minnesota House Majority Leader Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) to discuss unfunded state mandates to the county and the proposed Medical Examiner’s facility
  • Hennepin County delegation meeting at the State Capitol
Commissioner Goettel at World Class Ski Jumping Competition in Bloomington

World Class Ski Jumping Competition in Bloomington

  • Hosted representatives from Ka Joog, Isuroon, and African Immigrant Community Services to discuss key grant geared towards our underserved Somali-American community
Commissioner Goettel at CAPSH board meetings

    Toured CAPSH facilities

    • Visited Eden Prairie City Hall for a meeting with City Manager Rick Getschow and city directors
    • Toured T3 – a new development with contemporary and innovative architecture
    • Met with Bloomington City Manager Jamie Verbrugge to collaborate and discuss city/county partnerships
    • Visited Richfield City Hall to meet with City Manager Steve Devich
    • Attended board briefing on educational outcomes for County Involved Youth. The focus was to identify data collection methods and metrics for tracking the success of vulnerable youth.
    Commissioner Goettel at optimist chili feed

      Attended the Optimists Chilli Feed at Woodlake Lutheran Church

      • Met with Bloomington Schools Superintendent Les Fujitake to discuss collaboration between the school district and Hennepin County and supporting students living in poverty
      Commissioner Goettel toured Hennepin County Medical Center

        Toured Hennepin County Medical Center with a particular focus on mental health facilities

        • Joined with other commissioners and local school superintendents to discuss transportation, best interest determinations in terms of school transfers, and data sharing
        • Briefed by Cornerstone’s staff and board leadership on their services to women escaping domestic abuse and toured their facility in Bloomington
        • Attended Mosquito Control Board meeting
        • Met with leadership from Planned Parenthood to discuss the organization’s regional mission
        • Attended Hennepin County Library Board meeting
        • Attended board briefing on Hennepin County facilities and space planning
        • Traveled to Washington, DC for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Conference

        District 5 news from 1878

        Even if you haven’t had a chance to stroll down Penn Ave lately, it’s highly unlikely that your memories of that stretch include oxen, old-growth forests, and so many impressive mustaches. The photo below was taken at what is approximately 74th and Penn in Richfield on Leopold Kiesel’s farm in 1878.



        Commissioner Debbie Goettel & Staff

        Hennepin County District 5

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