Six Compete For Hennepin County Commissioner District 6 Seat

Jan Callison is not seeking reelection to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners serving the 6th District. The city of Wayzata is within the 6th District.

Hennepin County Board of Commissioners District 6 Map

Callison was elected to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. Callison served as Chair of the County Board from 2015-2019. She currently Chairs the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority.
Six candidates are seeking to fill Callison’s seat on the Hennepin County Board. Voters will choose two of these candidates during the August 11 primary. The two highest performing candidates will square off in November’s general election. caught up with the candidates asking each of them a series of questions.

Below you’ll see the candidates’ answers. The candidates and their answers are listed below in alphabetical order by last name.

Brad Aho

Why run?
I love Hennepin County, the people, businesses and natural beauty that we are blessed to have.  I am passionate about local government and the benefits to our residents and businesses that it can provide.  To keep Hennepin County a premier community we must maintain the services that help keep things running smoothly, without overburdening the people who are paying for those services.  District 6 is the largest contributor of revenue to the county and we must see a return on that investment.  There is always a fine balance between taxes and fees and the services provided.  It requires thoughtful, experienced leadership to accomplish this balance, and I have that experience.
We need strong leadership especially in times of turmoil and challenges.  The recent events of COVID-19 and the racial unrest and rioting highlight that we need to make changes while maintaining peace and security for our residents and businesses.  The County provides many essential services for its residents and businesses with a $2.5 billion annual budget and over 9,100 employees it is paramount that we have experienced leaders that understand the governance model of the County and know how to work with everyone to achieve the solutions and outcomes that will keep our County the best place to live, raise a family, start and run a business in.
How has your background/experience prepared you for this position?
Serving as a City Councilmember for 16 years in Eden Prairie has given me experience and understanding of how local government functions and what each level of government is responsible for.  This is very important to be an effective leader at the county level.  I have developed many strong relationships with other city leaders and state and federal officials as well.
I have important experience in many areas of government, but especially in the transportation sector where I am chair of SW Transit the bus service for three cities.  I have chaired the I-494 Corridor Commission with its Commuter Services staff for many years.  I also chaired the Flying Cloud Airport Joint Airport Zoning Board.  I also serve on the MnDOT Policy Advisory Commission for the I-494 Improvements being planned.  All of this work has prepared me well to serve the needs of the county to improve and maintain our infrastructure while also improving mobility for all.
My Electrical Engineering degree and small business experience provide me with a very practical problem solving mindset to find solutions to issues by first listening to all sides and then working with stakeholders to implement the best solutions in a cost effective manner.
On a more personal note, I was given two weeks to live on the first day of a health visit to Mayo Clinic six years ago.  After being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, I then went through a trial treatment process including a stem cell transplant and am cancer free to this day.  That event has strengthened my resolve, focus and passion to only work in things that I believe strongly in, and helping local government is one of those things.
Tell me about your family. What do you see as the priorities in District 6?
I have lived in Hennepin County since moving to Minnesota, from Michigan in 1976.  I was married here, and Bev and I raised our three, now adult children here.  We have two beautiful young granddaughters and a grandson on the way.
The priorities that I see are: public safety, transportation and infrastructure, healthcare, workforce, affordable housing and environment and sustainability to name a few of the top issues.  One of the primary roles of government is to provide safety and security and that has recently been very strained given the current events.  If we want everyone to feel safe regardless of race or other designation it is critical to find solutions to the challenges we are all facing.  We also have to be very mindful of the cost of everything we do and balance that with the needs and effectiveness to avoid driving residents and businesses out of our county.
Please visit my website at for more details on each of these issues and my thoughts.
What differentiates yourself from your opponents?
I am the only candidate with strong local government administrative experience, serving for 16 years as a city councilmember and 4 years as acting mayor.  I am the only engineer and small business owner, which gives me a unique perspective and mindset to solving problems cost effectively.  My life experiences growing up in Detroit and moving to Minnesota as a high school senior, raising a family and being a second generation American of Finnish descent all combine to make me who I am today.
How has the development of COVID-19 and the economic downtown impacted the role of county commissioner in your mind?
It teaches us that we have to be prepared for anything and must always be developing and refining plans to ensure that we have the best crisis intervention plans in place.  It also highlights the need to have proper funding and reserves to handle economic downturns without destroying the organization and services that are necessary to provide.  I have great experience with this in Eden Prairie where we are a AAA Bond Rated city that is well funded without having funds that grow indiscriminately.  We have done all of this while keeping our tax rate in the lower quartile of like cities in the Twin Cities.  We have also made extensive security and business continuance plans for SW Transit.
How has George Floyd’s death, protests and riots impacted the role of county commissioner in your mind?
It highlights the fact that strong leadership is necessary to prevent needless deaths like George Floyd’s, and that we must work to reform and train law enforcement personnel, but certainly not defund them.  The lack of leadership led to his death and also allowed the ensuing riots and violence that destroyed our community.  As a commissioner, I will work to find and implement permanent solutions and not just talk about what could be done.
Anything else you would like to add?

My purpose, passion and focus are to make Hennepin County the premier place to live, work, raise a family, own a business, and retire.  I look forward to hearing all residents’ concerns, needs and ideas and will work diligently to represent the 6th District and all of Hennepin County.  Please join us in our campaign to make Hennepin County the best community.  I ask for your support and vote on August 11 in the primary, and also in the general election on November 3!

Dario Anselmo

Why run?
I have a passion for public service, and my 30+ year career as an entrepreneur, business owner, civic leader and elected official has given me the necessary experience and a track record of accomplishments to be able to lead on day one, and successfully serve as your next county commissioner.
How has your background/experience prepared you for this position?
I started my first business, a tech company at the age of 21 in Edina, and after growing and selling it I bought the Fine Line Music Café in downtown Minneapolis, which I ran for 20 years.  I have been in the commercial real estate business for 28 years.
For 25 years I have worked to support mental health services, serving on the board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and the Minnesota Mental Health Association.
I started the Warehouse District Business Assn (to deal with business and then safety issues, Served on Mpls Downtown Council (Civic group), and no am on the Mpls Chamber of Commerce board.
As a state representative for Edina I worked on infrastructure investment and expanding Interstate 494, increasing K-12 education funding, reducing teen smoking, passed legislation to reduce teen suicides, water quality and environment issues, and lowered taxes for seniors, small businesses, and working families.
Tell me about your family.
I was born in Duluth where father served as a District Court Judge, he also lived with bi-polar disorder for most of his life.  After my parents divorced my mother remarried, she was active in the Wayzata and Lake community as a non-profit leader, realtor, and mother to a blended family of 6 kids. 
I was raised in Orono where I graduated from in 1980.   My wife, Jeanne, and I have three children and have lived in Edina for 20 years where our kids attend Edina’s public schools.  We lived in Minneapolis for 7 years prior to that.  I have been a resident of Hennepin County for nearly 50 years.
What do you see as the priorities in District 6?
Mental Health: Individual mental health – and the mental health of our community as a whole – is a very important and personal issue to me. Making sure that Hennepin County’s mental health system can provide stability for those who need it is critical. More of our neighbors are experiencing mental health challenges than ever before, and I will work to strengthen our current systems.
Public Safety: Making sure that Hennepin County residents are safe and have equal access to our justice system is the most important job of a Hennepin County commissioner. As a county commissioner I will support the sheriff’s office and make sure that our jails and courts have the resources they need to do their work effectively.
Property Taxes: In recent years we have seen county property tax levy increases in Hennepin County of around 5% per year. Those kinds of tax increases are not sustainable and can have a significant impact on working families, small business owners and fixed-income seniors. We need to keep a close eye on the budgeting process and make sure our tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.
Environment: Whether it’s for swimming, fishing, hiking or any other activity, enjoying and preserving our lakes, rivers, and open spaces is a part of the DNA that makes us Minnesotans. I have been a leader on environmental issues and will continue to protect these precious resources
What differentiates yourself from your opponent?
I have lived in Hennepin County and the west metro longer than them.
I have a long time record of leadership in Business, Non-Profit, and Elected Public service
I listen, connect, and engage in being a practical problem solver.
How has the development of COVID-19 and the economic downtown impacted the role of Hennepin County Commissioner in your mind?
COVID-19 has added costs to the County medical system, Hennepin Healthcare that the taxpayers subsidize when it looses money, $100 Million dollars to date.  Depending on what sort of reimbursement is possible from the State and Federal level there will be a huge impact on the budget, and hence for (property) tax payers in the suburbs.  As a former State Representative with relationships both in St. Paul and Washington D.C. with elected officials.  I will work hard to make sure we get what’s owed to the County on this as well as other mandates so our taxes don’t continue to go up at unsustainable levels!
How has George Floyd’s death, protests and riots impacted the role of Hennepin County Commissioner in your mind?
I was moved deeply by what I saw on the video and attended a few of the solidarity events because of what happened.  The larger reaction occurred for many reasons I believe.  Both people looking to show their anger at what happened in plain sight, as well as the economic frustration with where they are at in life now (and have been for generations).  There was also a lack of coordinated leadership I feel that made a bad situation even whose.  I have worked hard to make early education a priority and job creation to lessen the disparities that still exist in our society.  The County really plays a safety net role in this space.  I want Hennepin County to be a bridge to better life for people.  Everyone deserves that opportunity.
Anything else you would like to add?
As a person who has run a business in downtown Minneapolis for 25 years I understand the effects of high taxes, which I will keep a close eye on.  I also know first had the outcomes of not having enough public safety and will fight just as hard to make sure people are safe via the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Deputies Assn endorsed me because of my prior commitments to public safety. 

I would love to have your support, and vote in the August 11th Primary.  To learn more about our campaign please go to:

Carmella Doby

Why run?
I am running to replace hurting people with hopeful people! To unite our community and extend humanity and self-thinking within our district! This will ensure my children and all children in our district are given unobstructed, valuable, optimistic opportunities and futures! 

How has your background/experience prepared you for this position?

Many people look at my past as a tragedy, I however chose to take each crisis as a lesson and have dedicated myself to being a life-long learner. As a child I learned to adapt rapidly.  I was taught manners, morals, and humanity from a young age.  I know how to think for myself and have good discernment because of my lack of guidance.  I gained my peace-making skills from my childhood dysfunction. Since finances were low, I became a hard worker as a child as well!  My first job was at 8, my sisters and I got shovels and went door to door asking to work!  I do not give up easily! Because survival was the theme of my younger years, I have been trained to take the punches and keep standing!  As a young mom, and down syndrome parent, I experienced unfamiliar territory and learned how to take a completely different approach!  My real-world experience is unmatched due to my past misfortunes and triumphs!

Tell me about your family.

I am apart of a large biracial, diverse, unusual family so I will do my best to some us up.  My mother is white and is from Saint louis and my father is a black man from Mississippi. I have 5 sisters and 1 brother.  My nieces and nephews vary in color and cultural background.  WE DO NOT DISCRIMINATE!  My older sister is a lesbian and has been with her wife for almost 10 years.  Even so my brother attended a catholic high school to combine his spirituality with education. My daughter ava is 6 and my daughter Milly is 4 and is a child with a genetic disability called down syndrome.  We also have several lifelong family friends who have come to be family over the years.
By implementing policies to advance the physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health of all community members.  As commissioner I will break down barriers to success and defeat the stereotypes that cripple our community and delay district advancement!

What do you see as the priorities in District 6?

My top priority for improving district 6 is transforming county programs such as MFIP, housing assistance, childcare assistance, Medicare, and medical assistance to lead to ultimate independence and stability.  By gauging county programs success on productivity of clients, rather than exhaustion of the budget.  Another top priority for our district is terminating racism.  We can no longer avoid stereotypes and cultural miseducation it is destroying all of us and our community.  It continuously uproots our lives and reminds us we still have a lot of changes to make! Though there is no handbook on ending discrimination and systematic racism we can all do our part to stop the escalation and put an everlasting end to the separation. Covid is also a big priority of mine with cases rising and protective measures lessening the county will need to implement stricter guidelines and enforce them to maintain the safety of all community members especially our most vulnerable!

What differentiates yourself from your opponent?

There are many obvious differences between me and the other candidates.  I am the youngest, I have the smallest financial backing and schooling, and my family and background is uncommon for politicians.  But I believe my survival in life stands alone in this group.  That my hard knock life experience has given me unmatched leadership, dedication, and righteousness.  I am not running for money or esteem, and the absence of political allies and advisors generates my honesty and authenticity. I have knowledge on the unaddressed challenges effecting community members not only from my schooling, but from experiencing the rise and fall of life.

How has the development of COVID-19 and the economic downtown impacted the role of Hennepin County Commissioner in your mind?

Now more than ever it is important that the county commissioners use their elected positions to protect vulnerable community members.  By ensuring all community businesses and members are following guidelines to stop the spread of the disease.  In the last month, the guidelines have become blurred to the public.  The board can implement better protection against this pandemic and take a more aggressive approach on stopping the spread of covid.  Though some people are at lower risk of dying there is not a vaccine yet, so we are all still at risk of contracting covid! I believe we are more fortunate than past recessions because our economic downturn is caused by a global pandemic rather than a lack of jobs or market crash.  We will recover economically but we cannot replace the human lives lost when this covid concludes.

How has George Floyd’s death, protests and riots impacted the role of Hennepin County Commissioner in your mind?

George Floyd did not choose to die to make the world a better place, he did not ask Derek Chauvin to turn him into a martyr!  The large masses of angry people both violent and peaceful are the product of ignoring and minimizing the deep roots racism has in our country and community.  Because of George Floyd’s murder myself and millions of others have decided to run for positions of power that have continued to be a privilege given to a select few, many with bias intentions.  The recent events compelled me to take my real-life experience with diverse cultures and lives and use this perspective to map out a new future that eliminates the disability that is racism!  The county board needs to support actions taken against racism and ending social inequality and support and impose them within our community!

Anything else you would like to add?

I am not running to win a competition or add a job to my resume.  I am seeking your vote to create authentic, perpetual chance.  I know that things can always get better because I have overcome immense challenges. Through my trials and tribulations, I have maintained my humanity, optimism, and smile.  I have learned to empathize and not to judge a book by its cover because I insist these things when meeting someone.  I am willing to help anyone in need on any given day and expect nothing in return. This is how I have always been, and this will help me bring an open minded, groundbreaking perspective to the board!

Chris Latondresse

Why run?

I’m running for Hennepin County Commissioner because we need good government now more than ever, and that path to a better government starts with us. With a $2.5 billion annual budget that touches the lives of 1 in 5 Minnesotans who call Hennepin County home, we need to elect leadership that believes in the power of government to improve people’s lives at scale and a proven track record of getting that done. 
How has your background/experience prepared you for this position?

As Vice-Chair of the Hopkins School Board, I’ve led our district through the COVID-19 crisis, remotely educating and feeding 6,000 students in a $100 million per year public institution—while balancing our budget to keep our district strong for years to come.  I also served in the Obama Administration on the President’s team at USAID, bringing diverse stakeholders together—from the private sector to faith-based and civil society groups—to fight hunger and strengthen global food security. 
Tell me about your family.

My wife Ashley and I are raising our two young boys Walter (4) and Hugo (1) in Hopkins, where I grew up, my parents still live, and I have lived for most of my life. Ashley serves a nurse practitioner at Hennepin Healthcare in the coordinated care clinic. I’ll never forget the day in early February she sent me a text saying she had just attended a packed briefing on COVID-19 and said they were preparing for the worst. As Vice-Chair of the school board I knew our district had to do the same. So I called my Superintendent and our district took action; we started preparing immediately. 
What do you see as the priorities in District 6?

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how much we all rely on good government, especially in times of crisis. The unlawful killing of George Floyd unmasks the reality that we have not yet fully delivered on the American promise of equal justice for all. 
These themes will define the work of the Hennepin County board for years to come. 
As your next Commissioner, I will prioritize stabilizing the county budget and reimagining government on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic through smart upstream investments in affordable housing, healthcare, and transportation.
I will take bold action to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, starting with breaking down silos between our human services and public safety lines of business, increasing collaboration, and reallocating resources where necessary.
Finally, I will provide leadership on climate change and protecting our natural resources, from Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls—and everywhere in between.
What differentiates yourself from your opponents?

As Vice-Chair of the Hopkins School Board I’m the only candidate with experience and skills that come from executive leadership in local government. With COVID-19 that has meant rapidly shifting core business functions in a $100 million institution to meet rising community needs at a time of decreased budget revenues. There’s no manual for that. As your next Commissioner, I’m prepared to hit the ground running on day one, navigating large, complex systems, and aligning those systems with our shared values. 
Anything else you would like to add?

Proud to have the endorsement of many leaders and organizations across our community, including: the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the Minnesota DFL Party, Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Met Council Member (and former Hopkins Mayor) Molly Cummings, State Legislators Laurie Pryor and Cheryl Youakim, and City Council Members Brian Hunke (Hopkins), Kissy Coakley (Minnetonka) and Brian Kirk (Minnetonka).

Cheri Sudit

Why run?
The answer is easy. I am running for Hennepin County Commissioner because I love my community! I grew up in Edina and have lived in Minnetonka for the last 35 years with my family. I have deep roots in my community, and there is no place I would rather live. I have worked as an attorney in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for 30 years, representing every department throughout Hennepin County and the hospital. I believe our next Commissioner must have extensive knowledge and background in Hennepin County government in order to understand the numerous challenges facing our community today.
How has my background/experience prepared me for the position?
I have committed my entire career to public service. I have worked as an attorney in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for 30 years. As an employment lawyer, I have represented, trained, and advised every department throughout Hennepin County and the hospital in civil legal matters. The position of Hennepin County Commissioner is complex and varied. This year the Hennepin County Board approved a $2.5 billion budget. My experience and knowledge of Hennepin County, combined with the relationships I have formed over my extensive career, make me uniquely qualified for this position.
I believe I can make a difference on the Hennepin County Board and in my community. As a litigator, I will be a strong advocate for my community. I have a common-sense approach to government and believe in listening to all sides. I believe that tax dollars should be spent wisely. I also have the temperament to work with the other commissioners to get things accomplished.
I grew up in Edina with my parents and sister, Dr. Pamela Harris (who has consistently been named Top Doctor by Mpls./St. Paul Magazine). I have been married for 38 years to my husband, Michael (another consistent Top Doctor/Dentist by Mpls./St. Paul Magazine). Michael owns a dental practice in Minnetonka. We have two children. My son is an orthodontist in Linden Hills, and my daughter works for a large tech company. I have four grandchildren who mean the world to me.
Priorities Facing District 6.
Economic recovery
Environment & Natural Resources
Access to Affordable Healthcare & Housing         
What differentiates me from my opponents?
My extensive background working for Hennepin County for 30 years, combined with the relationships that I have built over the years, set me apart from the other candidates. David Hough, Hennepin County Administrator, is a former colleague of mine at the Hennepin County Attorneys Office. I have also worked extensively with most department administrators, directors, and managers. With a budget of $2.5 billion, this position is too important for on the job training.
How has COVID-19 and the economic downturn impacted the role?
The Hennepin County Board (made up of the 7 Commissioners elected from each district throughout Hennepin County) is responsible for overseeing the approximately 8,000 Hennepin County workforce. Overnight, the workforce has transitioned from predominantly working in a county office to working from home. Commissioners have many challenges to face with a remote workforce. Addressing the health issues of employees, their children, and parents is of paramount concern. Understanding, compassion, and creativity are needed now more than ever to face these unique issues.
The community impact of COVID-19 and the economic downturn facing our community can only be described as devastating. That is why, now more than ever, we need experienced leadership to tackle these significant issues facing our community.

How has George Floyd’s death, protests and riots impacted the role of Hennepin County Commissioner in your mind?

Current events and civil unrest have shaken our community and have underscored the injustice faced by Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Hennepin County’s Mission Statement reads, “We envision a future where residents are healthy and successful and where our communities are safe and vibrant. We will strive to meet and exceed expectations by engaging people and communities in developing innovative solutions to challenges. We will be a diverse, learning organization. We will partner with others to enhance the quality of life in Hennepin County and the region.” I support this mission and believe it will inspire the county to recover, improve, and drive progress in our communities to reach equity. The work of Hennepin County has always been to help the residents in need. Clearly, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.

Anything else you would like to add?

Local government is often asked to provide solutions to society’s most difficult issues. The Hennepin County Board has a budget of $2.5 billion and oversees Hennepin County’s 1.5 million residents. This is an important position that requires experienced and knowledgeable leadership. This is a non-partisan position. When elected, I will aggressively work on behalf of my community.

Kimberly Wilburn

Why run?
I originally decided to run for county commissioner because I know that we can do a better job at serving the traditionally underserved and marginalized and because we don’t have enough voices and faces like mine at the table and because for too long I’ve watched politicians make promises and forget them, forget me and their constituents once the election is over.  I considered dropping out of the race when I did not get the DFL endorsement and then a few weeks ago, I witnessed a murder. I witnessed not just a murder, but an officer, sworn to uphold the law, kneel on another man’s neck as though his life had no meaning, secure in the knowledge that he would face no consequences. I could not step aside for the sake of party loyalty in the face of such a horrific act. Injustices like this are one reason we need more voices and faces like mine at the table.
How has your background/experience prepared you for this position?
I believe that a person learns how to be a county commissioner by being a county commissioner.  That being said – I’m a veterinarian with a background in Immunobiology.  I’m also a mother, a wife, a community organizer, an activist, and a community member.  I bring a scientist’s perspective and a belief in data driven solutions.  I also have an understanding of systemic racism that comes not only from training and study but also from living as a black woman in the United States.  As a non-traditional candidate, I will not have an expectation of or a desire to continue the status quo.
Tell me about your family.
I’m married with two adult children. We are a multiracial family and I have a large extended family.  I have family members that belong to marginalized groups (aside from race/ethnicity) but I do not wish to invade their privacy by making that public knowledge.

What do you see as the priorities in District 6?

Economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic including support for small business owners and residents.  Addressing the climate crises which in District 6 will include (but not be limited to) continuation of light rail and other public transportation options and creation of jobs through investment in wind and solar energy and building and retrofitting housing for energy efficiency.  Addressing the homeless and housing crises by working with cities, the Metropolitan Council, and non-government agencies to provide housing options for people in all stages of life. Reforming the criminal justice system to eliminate racial disparities in use of force, arrests, incarceration, sentencing, and parole.
What differentiates yourself from your opponent?
Besides everything I already said?  Well, there are six of us so some things only apply to some of us.  As far as I know, I’m the only scientist running.  My scientific background as well as my work as a community organizer and activist give me a unique perspective that has not been seen previously in District 6.  I am not a career politician and I’m not interested in advancing my political career. I’m interested in serving District 6 and Hennepin County residents.
How has the development of COVID-19 and the economic downturn impacted the role of state senator county commissioner in your mind?
The role of the commissioners hasn’t changed but economic and health impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak on residents will have to be addressed.  An examination of the county’s emergency preparedness with regards to healthcare and county operations will also be necessary. In addition, the effect of Covid-19 on people of color will have to be considered as the county develops its plan to address racism as a public health crisis.
How has George Floyd’s death, protests and riots impacted the role of state senator county commissioner in your mind?
The issues highlighted by George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent public response are issues on which many of us have been calling for action for years.  The current public awareness may make it “safer” to take action on some of these issues.  I argue that they are issues that should have been tackled long ago,
Anything else you would like to add?
I have conversations throughout the years about electability.  Invariably the person to whom I’m talking, usually a white male, will tell me why white male candidates are electable.  There isn’t time to delve into the myth of electability but I will ask the question.  Why do some people believe that white people are capable of governing people of all races and ethnicities but don’t believe the same is true for people of color?  I know there are some that would prefer that race not be mentioned but the fact is race is an issue whether it is mentioned or not.  I submit that I am better equipped to handle the issues we are facing because of my understanding of institutional racism and the role it plays in those issues.  My goal is to improve the quality of life for all residents of District 6 by seeing that they have access to necessary resources and services.

Daniel Gustafson & Elisha Gustafson Realtors
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