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river heights chamber of commerce

A Breakdown of Our 100 Year Old Businesses

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

1919, that seems like forever and a day ago, right? Well, it was 100 years ago! The year was not in the least bit ordinary.  It had the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, drowning 21, the origination of the UPS, the foundation of the American Legion, a Stanley Cup that was not awarded because of a flu epidemic, the founding of SSP’s own Croatian Hall, the creation of Southview Country Club and lastly the birth of the Globe Publishing Co., a union shop from the onset.  How did these local businesses start, what changes have they seen over the years and what does it mean to them to reach this milestone?

The Croatian Hall was built by the Croatian immigrants that settled in South St. Paul at the turn of the century.  The Hrvatski Dom (Croatian Home) was built as a gathering place for Croatians to meet, celebrate their heritage with traditional food and music and get help with learning English, finding jobs and any other help they might need. Through the last 100 years, it has changed from a Croatian-only club to a community gathering place for the whole community, regardless of ethnic background.  The Hrvatski Dom Board members are proud of the positive impact they have had on South St. Paul and surrounding communities while continuing to celebrate their Croatian heritage with others across the state and region.  Their 100th Anniversary celebration saw the next generation of Croatian-Americans and community members get involved to continue the legacy of the Cro – the community gathering place and the Hrvatski Dom – their Croatian heritage.  The Cro – you know where it’s at!

For Southview Country Club,  1919 brought a different kind of gathering space. Local South St. Paul businessmen decided they wanted to build a golf course to bring local businessmen together.  The gentlemen purchased the Peters Farm and started Louogden Country Club, named after two prominent South St. Paul residents; Lou Swift and Ogden Armour.  Prior to 1975, the club was owned by different private businessmen.  The members purchased the club from some investors in 1975, and ever since has been owned by the membership. The original idea of bringing local businessmen and golfers together still holds true today; however, it has become so much more. Southview Country Club is a place for men, women and families to come together for golf, work and celebrations of all kinds.  Many of their members join for the golf and stay for the long-lasting memories and relationships they have created.   The golf course has evolved with time as it began as a 9-hole course with sand greens.  Now it is an 18-hole golf course which is highly recognized by many Minnesota golfers.  Southview has been host to the Tapemark Charity Pro Am since it began in 1972.  Being a long-standing and successful club says a lot about our members.  Southview Country Club has had its share of difficulties over the last 100 years, but the one constant is our members and their love and passion for their club.

Looking back on the beginning of Globe, Charlie Regan and his partner, Jay Dunbar, purchased the “Globe” on September 26th, 1919.  It originally published a newspaper, hence the name, with Regan being the editor.  It turned into a print shop and in 1955, Ed Horst and John Goff Jr. bought it from Regan & Dunbar.   Ed bought out his partner in 1960 and 60 years later, here they are with a second-generation family-owned business.

Bill and Dan Horst have since taken over the day-to-day operations of the business and their father, Ed (E.W., aka Grandpa Eddie), passed away peacefully in November 2013.  Working in and with the Exchange Building commission companies kept them on their toes and some of those relationships go back 70-75 years.  High-speed digital printing and 2 color presses have changed what they can do for their customers.  While the printing industry has seen many changes and methods, the same values that their father taught them growing up still ring true as their main focus today, their dedication to quality and the trust of their customers.  “This 100-year milestone is a tribute to all of the people associated with Globe, whether owners, employees (past and present), customers (past and present) or vendors,” says Dan Horst.

Congratulations to these River Heights Chamber members, Croatian Hall, Southview Country Club and Globe Printing and Office Supplies –  Happy 100 Years!

Third Annual River Heights Chamber of Commerce Clay Shoot Open to the Community

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Event News, Marketing

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is excited to host its Third Annual Clay Shoot sponsored by Frattalone Companies on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the South St. Paul Rod and Gun Club. Beginners are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Clay or trap shooting is growing exponentially in popularity across all ages and genders. It is the only sport where men and women compete together on equal footing. They shoot from the same stand, and in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, will have double trap teams of one man and one woman.

Trapshooting is the fastest-growing high school sport in Minnesota. At the 2019 MN State Tournament, more than 330 high school teams featuring over 8,300 student athletes competed. Several universities and private trusts have monies allocated providing scholarships for young marksmen, male or female, creating a pipeline to Olympic competition.

There are many reasons for this surge in popularity. Primarily, it is an easy beginner sport. No experience is necessary and it is not physically demanding. Experienced marksman state that sport shooting is 90% mental. Concentration levels are sharpened and expanded. Multiple problem-solving activities involving logic, mathematics, and creative thinking (thinking “outside the box”) are needed and employed to succeed at any level of the shooting sports.

Clay shooting is a sport you can enjoy by yourself or with a team. Brian Martell of Point North Networks and Chair of the 2019 Chamber Clay Shoot believes, “It is a great environment for networking and a prime opportunity for businesses to sponsor the event. Businesses can sponsor a station, a sporting game or one of many other options.” Since first being introduced to the sport at the Chamber’s inaugural event, Martell now shoots regularly and uses his time at the Gun Club for team building and networking.

In addition to the traditional eight-station course, the event includes two popular games from last year. Players can vie for the title of Annie Oakley in the popular last shooter standing contest and teams of two can compete in the Duck Flurry, shooting from a duck tower that throws clays in multiple directions.

Prizes will be awarded to teams with the top course scores and the contest winners. Guns are available for those not using their own. Shells, protective eyewear and earplugs are provided at check-in. Registration opens at 1:00 pm, shotgun start at 2:00 pm with social/dinner/awards following around 4:00 pm. Sponsorship and event registration is available at www.RiverHeights.com/Clayshoot.  Raffle tickets on sale now at the Chamber office, $10/per ticket with only 500 tickets printed – win the Grand Prize of $1000 cash or 2nd place of $500 – do not need to be present to win!

No experience needed- Beginners Welcome! Novice or seasoned, it is time to test your skills.


Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing

You have undoubtedly heard about -and many have supported- the Shop Local, Small Business Saturday and other such initiatives to promote businesses in your community. There is an easy way to identify businesses that support the community. When you see a River Heights Chamber of Commerce CONNECTED 2019 window decal, you know that business is doubly invested in your area’s economic prosperity.

Chamber membership is a visible sign of the businesses’ commitment to growing, maintaining and attracting business to the community. A strong business community is tantamount to creating a desirable region to work, play and live. Businesses that join their local chamber are dedicated to the chamber’s mission to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the area.

Businesses of all sizes play a vital role in the health of the community and have different needs from their local chambers of commerce. For a smaller business, it may be networking and visibility. For larger businesses, it could be government affairs and influence. All members have access to these and other services including opportunities with business and leadership development.

The chamber is leading regional talent attraction through a variety of programs and partnerships aimed at recruiting a solid workforce base for business growth. It is a catalyst in advancing the business community’s economic prosperity, providing countless resources and connections to ignite new growth and inspire leadership.

Look for the Chamber’s CONNECTED decal when you are out in your community. The member list can also be found on the website at RiverHeights.com.

For more information on the Chamber’s role in shaping a business-friendly region, please contact the River Heights Chamber at RiverHeights.com or by phone at (651) 451.2266.

Annual River Heights Chamber Golf Classic Open to Business Community – Donate Now to the Online Auction

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce invites the community to golf in the Chamber’s Annual Golf Classic fundraiser presented for the third consecutive year by Republic Services on Monday, June 24, 2019, at Southview Country Club, 239 E. Mendota Road, West St. Paul.

June 24th is promised to be filled with fun starting at 10 a.m. with registration including a Bloody Mary bar and box lunch pick-up. The range is open for practice and shot-gun start for teams is at 11:00 a.m. There will be many contests on the course, and a ball drop before the awards dinner which follows the day’s play. “One of the most fun parts of the day is networking with the sponsors who sit at each hole on the course. They may hold a contest with prizes and hand out company branded items. It’s always fun to see what unique events they come up with,” notes Michele Hein of Tandem Printing, Golf Task Force Chair.

An online auction will be sure to please with great items starting in mid-June – everyone is welcome to donate an item, fun experience or gift card to the auction at www.riverheights.com/donate.

“New to the tournament this year, we are excited to announce a New Golfer’s Clinic beginning at 3 p.m. One of Southview Country Club’s own golf professionals will teach this group lesson for 1 hour! We strive for ways to bring non-golfers to our annual event, so we hope this does the trick,” adds Hein.

Register your foursome to golf before June 1st for a discounted rate of $600 or $160/golfer. After June 1st, $175/golfer. Guests are invited to attend the dinner and Pro Lesson for $60 or dinner only for $35. The annual tournament is held rain or shine. Special thanks to these businesses for being major sponsors of the tournament: 21st Century Bank, Key Community Bank, KOMA, MidWestOne Bank, Quality Auto Care Center, Sanimax, Town Square Television and Xcel Energy. Check out the other businesses who are going to be out on the course at www.riverheights.com/golf.

For more registration information, visit us online at www.riverheights.com/golf or call the River Heights Chamber of Commerce at 651.451.2266.

River Heights Chamber Celebrates 30 Years of Small Business Success

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Event News, Marketing

Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul (4/4/19) – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce invites you to celebrate with the business community at the Small Business of the Year Award Luncheon & Trade Show on Thursday, April 25 at 11 a.m. at Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights.

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 30th Anniversary of the Small Business Award and it promises to be a great event! Do you know a past recipient? We ask that you encourage them to attend and be recognized! See the history of Small Business Award winners here – if you don’t see your favorite small business, nominate them for next year!

Jake Sedlacek, Chairman of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce noted, “Small business drives our economy – locally and nationally. The Small Business Awards are an opportunity to recognize, celebrate and connect with outstanding small businesses right here in our community.”

How you can participate and benefit from attending:

  • Showcase your company in the Trade Show (and be entered to win a prize in the “Favorite Booth” Contest – NEW this year!)
  • Network with area business and community representatives
  • Meet & support the finalists for the 2019 Small Business of the Year Award and watch LIVE as the 2019 recipient is announced and recognized – Finalists include: Allrounder Remodeling, Point North Networks and Yours Truly Marketing Incentives!
  • Hear from our exceptional keynote speaker, Phil Gwoke, BridgeWorks – be entertained and informed on “When Generations Connect” – Watch a video to get a glimpse of Phil’s presentation here

With all of the outstanding businesses in the community, the River Heights Chamber is excited to honor the following finalists: Allrounder Remodeling, Inc., Point North Networks, Inc., and Yours Truly Marketing Incentives, Inc., each one deserving of the 2019 title! Finalists were nominated their peers, the community participated in an online voting poll and the River Heights Chamber’s Recognition Committee selected the winner. RSVP to attend to find out LIVE who will win the Small Business of the Year Award! The Small Business of the Year Award acknowledges an organization that has been in business for five years or more, has 20 or fewer employees, has at least two years of membership in the River Heights Chamber, and encompasses a business that has a commitment to the community through its involvement and assistance to community organizations, to its employees, suppliers and customer relationships, in addition to, a commitment to excellence in service, business ethics, friendliness and business operations.






Thank you to our event sponsors, Deerwood Bank, Town Square Television and Velocity Public Affairs. The event is also sponsored in-part by Trade Show sponsor Good Samaritan Society – Inver Grove Heights and contributing sponsors LeVander, Gillen & Miller PA, Microtel Inn & Suites By Wyndham (Inver Grove Heights), Mississippi Pub and Ultimate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning.

For more details about the Small Business Award Luncheon & Trade Show, visit and register at www.riverheights.com/smallbusiness. To learn more about the finalists and this year’s award recipient announced at the event, please watch for their videos on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page @RiverHeightsChamber and on their YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber following the event on April 25th.

About River Heights Chamber of Commerce
The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is committed to its mission to aggressively promote the interests of the business communities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. The organization is volunteer-driven and strives to attract and retain businesses to keep the business community thriving. Driving economic progress and business development is its focus. The River Heights Chamber continues to provide value-added opportunities for all members and is dedicated to making connections and delivering resources that benefit local businesses. Visit www.riverheights.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn about the benefits of membership and events.

Meet the Newest Staff Member: Eric Satre, IGH CVB Tourism Director

Nicole Bengtson

From Eric Satre, Tourism Director of the Inver Grove Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau:

My name is Eric Satre, Tourism Director, with the Inver Grove Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). I’m new to this role but I live in South St. Paul so I’m familiar with the south metro area.

Pop quiz: What Minnesota industry generates $15 billion in gross annual sales, $969 million in state sales taxes, and employs 265,000 workers?

Answer: If you said the leisure and hospitality industry, you are correct!

Within the industry’s travel and tourism sector is the Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB). Cities across the country, and the globe, have a CVB to promote tourism. In large downtown areas, CVBs usually operate independently from a chamber of commerce, while smaller cities such as Inver Grove Heights co-exist with a chamber, in this case, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.

The CVB mission is: To market and promote Inver Grove Heights to visitors; to maintain and stimulate the community’s economic vitality.

Quite simply, when visitors stay in a city, visitors spend money and the entire city benefits. When we share our story and invite leisure and group travelers to experience our city, impact on the local economy is able to grow. A CVB is at the forefront of those efforts.

Prior to joining Inver Grove Heights CVB in January, I spent the previous 11+ years at Visit Saint Paul in downtown St. Paul. Working in the sales department, my job was to secure conventions at Saint Paul RiverCentre and hotels. I accepted the position as Tourism Director because I’m invested in the south metro and I see a lot of potential for tourism growth. Our community has a lot to offer, we just have to share it.

In doing so, it’s important to think about our identity as a tourist destination and how we can strategically market our city. What makes us unique? What are our strengths as a visitor destination? Why would someone choose to stay in the south metro versus another area of the Twin Cities?

We have resources available to communicate our message. The VisitIGH.com CVB website is a great resource for all things Inver Grove Heights. I’m also building up our social media presence. Side note: have you liked our Facebook page yet? I’ll be compiling a centralized event listing, from special events at Veterans Memorial Community Center to Inver Grove Heights Days, to serve as a one-stop-shop for things to do.

Another great resource is the CVB visitor guide, which is available in both print and digital format. The visitor guide is a FREE brochure highlighting hotels, attractions, golf courses, restaurants, and things to do. Visit the website to request your copy.

Additionally, the CVB markets the city for group travel whether we’re hosting the event or we’re providing a hotel room block for an event nearby. One example is the Ice Sports Industry (ISI) 2019 Synchronized Championships at Doug Woog Arena on April 12-13. The Inver Grove Heights CVB, Eagan CVB, and City of South St. Paul partnered together to secure this event that will draw 600 competitive skaters from 10 states. Shameless plug—we invite you to check out Saturday’s competition, admission is FREE! Visit www.skateisi.org (National Competitions page) for the event schedule.

Finally, here is my call to action. Engage in local events wherever you live and help tell the story of your community. Take advantage of local options—restaurants, shopping, hotels, attractions, parks and trails, educational events, sporting events, and event facilities (birthdays, reunions, wedding receptions, corporate meetings, etc.). Keep the CVB in mind for resources too and share your experiences with us on social media @VisitIGH.

Inver Grove Heights is a city neighboring the Mississippi River, boasting robust parks and trails, family-friendly activities and events, unique venues and quality hotel accommodations at an affordable price. Just minutes from downtown Saint Paul, Mall of America® and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport, Inver Grove Heights is closer than you think!

Ambassadors of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing

The River Heights Chamber has a number of committees that play an important role in its operations; one of the most visible of these committees is our group of Ambassadors! The Chamber’s Ambassadors are comprised of local business volunteers who are committed to promoting Chamber activities, membership and community events to promote our Chamber and serve area businesses.

The 2019 Chair of the River Heights Ambassador Committee is Heidi Satre, Marketing and Events Manager at Neighbors, Inc. She describes the Ambassadors’ role as, “similar to a hospitality committee – we are responsible for welcoming new members, helping facilitate member-to-member connections and representing the River Heights Chamber in the community.”  The 2019 River Heights Chamber Ambassadors come from all fields: public and private sector, for-profit and not-for-profit, small businesses and large corporations.

This year’s Ambassadors currently join us from the following businesses:

  • Jackie Paul, 360 Communities
  • Ruth Bader, Allrounder Remodeling
  • Angela Liedke, DARTS
  • Karen A. LaBate, Deerwood Bank
  • Steve Doody, Doody Cleaning Service
  • Karin Gott, ECSI System Integrators
  • Kyle Cuppy,  Key Community Bank – Inver Grove Heights
  • Andy Lucking CFP, LWM, LLC
  • Mark Allen Patun, MAP Consulting Agency LLC
  • Josh Keskey, Minuteman Press
  • Heidi Satre, Neighbors, Inc.
  • Darcy Wetzel, Neighbors, Inc.
  • Kaley Lanning, Paychex
  • Brian Martell, Point North Networks, Inc.
  • Bruce Bairaktaris, Quality Auto Care Center
  • Sue Marsden, River Heights Vineyard Church
  • Todd Edholm, Tandem Printing, Inc.
  • Shawn Vougeot, Town Square Television
  • Vern Harmon, Unity One Credit Union
  • Holly Ostertag, Vermillion State Bank
  • Amanda Kissner, Wakota Federal Credit Union

Ambassadors support the activities of area businesses and civic organizations by attending their grand openings and ribbon cuttings, anniversary celebrations, groundbreakings and other commemorative events. They visit with new businesses of all types in the community to welcome them and share benefits of the Chamber, as well as do retention visits to keep members engaged.  Satre elaborates, “Being involved in the Ambassador Committee is a great way to expand your network and it’s a lot of fun to visit a variety of businesses and organizations in our community. I’ve learned a lot about business fields I wasn’t previously familiar with just from our Ambassador visits. It’s a great way to get to know your community!

If you are a new or existing business in the region and would like to schedule a visit from the River Heights Chamber Ambassador group, please contact Colleen Murphy at Colleen@RiverHeights.com or 651 451.2266.

River Heights Chamber 2019 Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Event News

Celebrating 116 Years and Honoring Business of the Year, Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence and Volunteer of the Year

Inver Grove Heights/South Saint Paul (January 11, 2019) – The River Heights Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 116th Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 10th at Southview Country Club. “The Annual Meeting for River Heights Chamber and Progress Plus featured transition, recognition and inspiration,” commented 2019 Chairman of the Board, Jake Sedlacek.

Brenda Dietrich, 2018 Chair of the Board, highlighted accomplishments of the past year and reflected on her gratitude for the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and the leadership opportunities and tools she was able to learn and take away from her year as Chair, and into her new role as IGH City Councilmember.  Brenda also welcomed the Chamber’s 2019 Chairman of the Board, Jake Sedlacek of Xcel Energy.  When Jake began, he noted, “I love reflecting upon the differences in our businesses – a family-owned, local business and a fortune 500 utility, and yet we both see value in being a part of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.”  Jake added, “As a community relations manager, I originally engaged in Chamber activities as a means to get to know key businesses, non-profits and government leaders.  I’ve stuck around, and become more engaged because this organization lives its mission: To aggressively promote the interests of the business community through advocacy, partnerships, member benefits and networking.”  Chairman Sedlacek also shared the Board’s initiatives for 2019, talked about working together to make connections and gave a call to action to all the membership – “take advantage of Chamber activities.”

Chairman Jake Sedlacek presented the 2019 Business of the Year award to a company with over 20 employees who has made an impact on the River Heights Chamber and its business community, a positive impact on its employees and customers, and the environment – Republic Services!  Jennifer Gale, president of River Heights Chamber and Progress Plus noted, “Republic Services is a good steward to their employees, the community and to the earth, and the River Heights Chamber is proud to honor them as our Business of the Year.”

Dave Langer (of Langer Real Estate Services) was selected and honored with the Chamber’s 2018 Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award.  Dave truly exceeds in all criteria for this award – a commitment to the betterment of life, business, community and entrepreneurship for the River Heights region!  “Dave Langer is a pillar in the East Metro community and it’s an honor to recognize his many accomplishments personally and professionally,” added Gale.

Chair Deitrich was excited to surprise a special individual who has played an important role as a volunteer in the organization.  Since 1995, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce has presented a Rising Star Award to a volunteer who has accelerated in their first few years as a Chamber volunteer by displaying leadership, enthusiasm and passion for the Chamber’s mission.  “This year, not only is this person a rising star, but she is our Volunteer of the Year – she has gone above and beyond the call of her membership. I’m proud to present the 2018 Rising Star and Volunteer of the Year award to Michele Hein of Tandem Printing,“ announced Deitrich.

For more details on Republic Services or Dave Langer, make sure to watch their award videos on the River Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page and YouTube channel at YouTube.com/riverheightschamber! Check out all the photos from the event here.

Special thanks to the Annual Meeting event sponsors Flint Hills Resources, Town Square Television, Waterous Company and Xcel Energy, as well as our contributing sponsor, CHS, Inc., keynote speaker Joe Nayquonabe with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures and all of the members who shared in the special night.

2019 Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Federation Policies

Nicole Bengtson
Advocacy & Public Policy

2019 Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Federation Priorities

 Tax Competitiveness

We support a pro-growth tax system that improves competitiveness, reduces complexity, improves predictability and stability, and increases accountability. Minnesota’s state and local tax systems should be changed to ensure they cultivate innovation, attract investment and foster job growth and retention.   Minnesota must enact a more competitive, pro-growth, simplified tax system and lower tax rates so Minnesota is no longer in the top 10 states for high taxes.

Key Priorities:

  • Return any state revenue gains realized from federal tax conformity by enacting state tax reform that improves Minnesota’s tax competitiveness.
  • Reduce corporate and individual income tax rates so Minnesota is no longer in top 10 highest tax rate states.
  • Enact tax relief for pass-through entities by reducing rates for business income and adopt federal conformity with expensing rules.
  • Conform to federal estate tax.
  • Protect research-and-development tax credit.
  • Reduce state property tax levy so Minnesota businesses no longer have property tax burdens that are among the nation’s 10 most burdensome.
  • Improve taxpayer procedural protections and administration.

Control Health Care Costs

Ensure access to quality, affordable health care in the commercial market by reducing health care taxes and mandates; expanding product and coverage options for employers and individuals; increasing market competition and stability; encouraging outcome-based payment and delivery reform; and improving consumer engagement and transparency of cost and quality.

Key Priorities:

  • Improve care outcomes and reduce costs by aligning Minnesota’s Health Records Act with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Oppose making government-sponsored health insurance options like MinnesotaCare available through a “buy-in” option.  This will increase costs and lead to further instability of the commercial market, particularly the individual and group markets.  Instead, strengthen and continue to stabilize the individual market through an extension of the state’s reinsurance program, which has led to back-to-back premium decreases in the individual market.

Preserve Private Sector Employers’ Benefits (Preemption)

Minnesota employers are nationally recognized for providing the best places to work.  In today’s tight labor market, they provide competitive benefits that help attract and retain talent, tailored to the distinctive needs of their industries and workforce.  Local governments are right to impose certain requirements on public sector workplaces and local government employees, but enacting employee wage and benefit mandates on private employers is outside city authority.  We will aggressively pursue opportunities to advance statewide preemption of local mandates.  We will advance and protect employer efforts to develop their own distinctive approaches to competitive employee benefits. We oppose attempts by state policymakers to implement mandates at the state level without including reasonable exceptions for the variety and nuances of the many workplaces across Minnesota.

We support broadly sharing employers’ best practices so all businesses in the state are aware of voluntary approaches to compete for and retain the best employees and maintain progressive workplaces. State and local policymakers should be encouraging this trend and not imposing one-size-fits-all mandates that don’t work for employers or workers.

Full Dedication of Transportation-Related Revenues

The 2017 Legislature passed the largest transportation funding bill in nearly a decade. Nearly $2 billion of transportation-related sales taxes will be captured and directed to the state’s transportation system over the next 10 years.  This includes 100% of the revenues generated from the sales tax on rental cars and approximately 60% of revenues generated from the sales tax on auto parts. The Minnesota Chamber has been a strong advocate for the investment of these transportation-related general fund resources in transportation infrastructure and services. We support the full dedication of the auto parts sales tax to transportation.

We are committed to a multimodal system, including investment in transit. We will work with the Legislature to resolve the long-term funding challenges around the metro bus system and support greater Minnesota transit as well.

Workforce Solutions

We will work to accelerate private-sector solutions to help Minnesota employers attract and retain the skilled workers needed to compete.  We will work to continue to build and deploy programs through the Center for Workforce Solutions, like the Business Education Networks, in partnership with our Federation partners.  Legislative solutions should focus on ensuring existing funding and programs meet the needs of Minnesota employers and the diversity of industries in our state.



Dakota County Commissioner Voter Guides

Nicole Bengtson
Advocacy & Public Policy, Business Ideas, Editorials

2018 Dakota County Commissioner Candidates

The following questions were developed and used from the 2018 Election Candidate Questionnaire and East Metro Voters Guide. 

Kathleen Gaylord

Bio: I am the Chair of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners. I am an attorney/partner in the law firm of Weinblatt & Gaylord in Inver Grove Heights and the former Senior Corporate Counsel for Northwest Airlines. I am also the former Executive Director of the Minnesota Tax Study Commission where I built the first computer simulation of Minnesota’s property tax system and was instrumental in bringing “Circuit Breaker” property tax relief to Minnesota. Tens of thousands of Dakota County residents have received tax refunds from the Minnesota Property Tax Refund and Renters Credit that evolved from my work.

I am also the former Mayor of South St. Paul. I have over 30 years of public policy experience leading local, regional, state, and national organizations with the skills and experience to deliver smart, creative solutions and real results.

I attended Macalester College as a math major, earned a B.A. degree in economics Magna Cum Laude and continued my post-graduate studies in Business Taxation and Public Administration at the University of Minnesota before earning my Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law.

What is the biggest challenge facing your district and how would you address it?

Two of the communities in my district are struggling financially. I have recognized that challenge and have worked to keep county taxes as low as possible to help residents already burdened by high city taxes. I have also stepped up to offer a wide range of county services to benefit these communities and sought out grant and funding strategies to help them with trails, road improvements, wetlands restoration and economic development.

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

  1. Addressing the challenges we face with smart, creative solutions.
  2. Maintaining our high-quality services and our leadership in controlling county property taxes.
  3. Listening to all voices and building coalitions and partnerships to move the county forward.

What do you believe are the most essential services provided by county government?

Dakota County provides 225 programs and services to county residents, including record keeping, emergency services, veterans services, public safety, public health, elections, transportation, parks and libraries… but the most essential services are the human services provided by community and social services. These services include child protection, emergency assistance, food supports, housing and economic assistance, and other safety net services.

Todd Podgorski

Bio: I have been fortunate to serve South St. Paul as a two-term City Council Member and a one-term School Board Member. On the City Council, I supported and helped lead our voter-approved parks and Doug Woog arena improvement bond referendum. I am also proud to have supported hiring two additional police officers and a Sgt during my time on the Council. Working on the South St. Paul Economic Development Authority to assist with economic development and job growth, has been a highlight. While I was on the School Board I helped support a voter-approved operating levy that helped us reduce class sizes, improve discipline with having a planning room at the H.S., and having all-day kindergarten with no fee years before the state covered the full cost.

I earn a living as a peace officer in one of the state’s largest and most diverse counties. As a peace officer for over 20 years, I understand the importance of public safety. My background as a long time CIT-Crisis Intervention Trained officer dealing with mental health emergencies gives me a unique understanding of our shortage of mental health and chemical dependency treatment options.

What is the biggest challenge facing your district and how would you address it?

There are many important issues facing our district. I am passionate about keeping our community safe and believe the County has not done enough to help with our district’s crime concerns. With 4,900 active criminal warrants in Dakota County we need a dedicated warrant apprehension team to help bring justice to victims. We also need to better serve people in our community who have mental health and or chemical dependency concerns. We can better serve these people by providing supportive 16 bed or smaller treatment centers.

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

  1. Enhancing public safety and health.
  2. Improving roads and infrastructure.
  3. Fostering job creation, economic development and housing options.

What do you believe are the most essential services provided by county government?

Public safety and health. Roads and infrastructure.