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MEET BEN

Accessible. Forward-thinking. Consensus-builder.

Dear friends and neighbors,

The reason I'm running for Apple Valley City Council ultimately boils down to this: I love Apple Valley and the people that make our community what it is, but I also think we deserve more from our local elected officials on the council. I have dedicated my career to public service, working with local, state, and federal officials to develop or administer good public policies, and I believe that I can bring this experience - and commitment to serving the people of our community - to the Apple Valley City Council.

 

As my "day job", I currently serve the State of Minnesota as the Director of the Governor's Workforce Development Board, which is housed at the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) - where I also serve on the agency's Senior Leadership Team. This role has given me the opportunity to work with leaders from a variety of sectors - business, labor unions, state agencies, local governments and local workforce development boards, higher education, community-based organizations, and other workforce partners, to develop, support, or deploy workforce policies or cross-sector initiatives to better meet the needs of career seekers and employers.  I firmly believe that the key to battling inequities in our community (and country) is to make it easier for all Minnesotans to get on the right career pathway that leads to a family-sustaining income, and I feel immensely fortunate to be able to work towards these public goods every day at work. Prior to this role I most recently worked at the Association of Minnesota Counties where I served on the Government Relations team.  I have a bachelor's in Political Science from the University of Minnesota-Morris and a Master's in Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. The "mantra" of the MAPL program is "Politics is how we care for one another" - which is central to my own beliefs around politics, developing good public policy, and being a public servant. 

 

One thing that I have learned from my time in public service is that good policies are created with people, they are not created for people. no good policy or law is ever created when you create those policies FOR people. By proactively engaging with partners and stakeholders to build consensus, and fully committing to community engagement and outreach as the primary means of gathering community input and perspectives, the city can be better about developing or updating city policies. If elected, I would be fully committed to doing more conscientious consensus-building, community outreach, and public engagement efforts than the council currently utilizes or prioritizes. 

 

The "same old thinking" from our city council won't cut it anymore. We know that the people and neighborhoods of our city are more than just line items on a budget or different revenue streams for the city. We need proactive, accessible leadership that will do more than show up to council meetings every couple weeks. We need elected officials who will work hard to empower the voices of our residents to build a more accessible, responsive City Council that can meet the moment - and the century - that we now find ourselves in. I would be honored to earn your support and your vote in this election, and I vow to work hard to do just that.

 

Thank you,

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