August newsletter: Hennepin Commissioner Debbie Goettel

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debbie goettel

Hennepin Happening

Welcome to the District 5 June newsletter! Scroll down to read more about

Appointee Spotlight: Donald James


I depend on trusted appointees for their their time, talent, and good judgement to better serve Hennepin County's residents. I cannot thank them enough for their service, and occasionally we will publish these highlights to recognize the phenomenal work they do.

First up, Donald James, who serves on the Hennepin County Board of Appeal and Equalization.

  1. What are your greatest passions in life?  Family, friends, faith!  I love my profession as a professional Realtor.  I help my clients buy and sell the American dream.  Seeing them get their new home, or selling a home for top dollar is very fulfilling!  In my free time I enjoy theater, music, cooking for friends, and travel. By train!
  2. What is your service/professional background? Professional Realtor 20 years, Real Estate investor 40 years.  I love working with my clients and helping them make their dreams come true.  Every home I touch turns to sold!
  3. Describe the responsibilities of the position you were appointed to. What kind of impact does it have on Hennepin County?  I was appointed to the Hennepin County Board of Appeal and Equalization.  This Board is the fourth rung up on the property tax appeal scale.  We hear cases from individual taxpayers who are dissatisfied with their property taxes.  In our determinations, we can reinforce the decisions made by county and city assessors or help an appellant get a fairer valuation if that is warranted. 
  4. Tell us about your life in District 5. What drew you here? What kept you here?  Carol and I love living in Bloomington.  We live just north of Bush Lake and enjoy all this area has to offer including abundant wild life (deer, fox, coyotes, etc.).  It is also a convenient place for our children and grandchildren to gather.  Our location is a convenient drive to our favorite restaurants and shopping area.  There are great plays at the Bloomington Civic Theater.  City and county services are very good!
  5. What’s your favorite event / thing to do in District 5?  Dining out, theater, walking trails.  Looking forward to Pennfest in Richfield.  This is also where I do a lot of my professional work!


Legislative updates

Healthcare reform

My staff and I have been closely monitoring all healthcare reform in Washington, DC. With the latest healthcare bill failing to pass the Senate, it appears that some of the most harmful measures will not come to pass in the near future. Proposed cuts to Medicare/Medicaid would have disproportionately impacted low-income and working class families, while simultaneously passing along the costs of unfunded treatment to other patients and taxpayers. Repealing the ACA without a replacement would lead to even greater calamity. I have been in touch with both Senator Al Franken and Senator Amy Klobuchar to thank them for their work. I applaud all of the senators who voted against the healthcare bill, especially those who had the courage to cross the isle to do so.

Despite the senate vote, this issue is not over, and I expect the healthcare debate will be revived in just a few months. I will continue to monitor this legislation in DC and advocate for the interests of Hennepin County residents.


NACo Achievement Award to Hennepin County Libraries


At the annual National Association of Counties (NACo) conference in Ohio, I accepted an award on behalf of the Hennepin County Library staff for their outstanding work creating "pop-up libraries" around the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis.

From the award description:

After staff and volunteer ambassadors recommended face-to-face communication and “showing rather than telling” to establish trust with residents, Hennepin County staff designed and facilitated pop-up library experiences and brought them directly into the Cedar-Riverside community. Pop-up libraries are temporary library experiences, strategically placed where a community gathers, but would not expect library services. Locations have included a mosque, a playground, an apartment building lobby, a school cafeteria and a parking lot. In pre- and post-surveys, 100% of volunteer ambassadors indicated they use the library more often after participating. Volunteer ambassadors have allowed Cedar Riverside residents to see themselves as part of the library and the library as a place for them. Through pop-up libraries, Hennepin County Library connected with 777 community members and created 181 library cards, building trust and relationships in the community.

Debbie around the district

Since our last newsletter in July, here are a few of the highlights from Commissioner Goettel's work...


Richfield Mayor Pat Elliot, Debbie, Rep. Keith Ellison, and State Senator Melissa Halvorson Wiklund at the Town Hall and Civics 101 forum in Richfield.

  • Met with Eden Prairie city manager Rick Getschow to discuss city priorities in the upcoming budget hearings
  • Convened a group of experts and activists around Gap Funding in the housing market. We are exploring ways to encourage developers to include more multi-bedroom affordable units for families in their housing projects.
  • Met with Bloomington Council Member Joh Olson and local residents to discuss issues with county roads, intersections, and senior housing
  • Attended a Metropolitan Emergency Services board meeting
  • Attended the I-35W Solutions meeting
  • Traveled to Ohio for the National Association of Counties (NACo) annual conference and exposition, accepting a national award for the Hennepin County Library System
  • Attended VEAP's open house discussing the 98th Street Station Design on the upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Orange Line.
  • Attended the Hennepin County Library Board meeting

National Night Out | Night to Unite


Tuesday, August 1st in the evening

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that is celebrated nationwide. The campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods a safer, better place to live. There will be hundreds of neighborhood parties across Eden Praire, Bloomington, and Richfield.

For more information or to find the gathering closest to you contact your city police department:

Bloomington Police Department, 952-563-4900

Eden Prairie Police Department, 952-949-6200

Richfield Crime Prevention Unit, 612-861-9845

Eden Prairie Lions' Corn Feed

Saturday, August 5, 10:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Round Lake Park, 16691 Valley View Rd


Enjoy locally-grown corn at the annual Corn Feed co-hosted by the Eden Prairie Lions and Lioness clubs. Hot dogs, sloppy joes, drinks, and custard will also be served alongside all-you-can-eat sweet corn on the cob. Profits support the Lions' charitable causes locally, nationally, and internationally. This is a must do!

Road construction

66th Street in Richfield and Bloomington's Normandale Boulevard are in the midst of major construction projects. Skip the traffic jams and sign up for updates on the projects impacting your commute.

You can also visit the Hennepin County website for updates on road maintenance projects and all other road construction.

Constituent services

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 with any questions or for assistance.


Commissioner Debbie Goettel
Hennepin County District 5
Bloomington | Eden Prairie | Richfield
612-348-7885 |

Casey Krolczyk
Principal aide
612-348-7885 |

Michael Ohama
Policy director
612-348-7885 |

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