Q&A with Washington County Commissioner District 3 challenger David Beaudet
• Age: 63
• City of residence: Oak Park Heights
• Education: Stillwater Area High School, Metropolitan State University
• Occupation: Retired from manufacturing management
• Notable community and civic involvement: 17 years of experience on the Oak Park Heights City Council, the last 12 as mayor; 29 years of manufacturing management experience; member of Metropolitan Council Land Use Advisory Committee, 2005-2010; Middle St. Croix Water Management Organization, 1996-2012, the last six years as chairman; and the Washington County Water Consortium, 1996-2012
Why are you running for office in Washington County Commissioner District 3?
I was born and raised in Oak Park Heights. I will listen to, learn from and speak out on behalf of the residents and communities of Washington County. We need leadership that will plan for and build toward the future with innovative and fiscally responsible practices.
What are the biggest issues in the district you're running in?
Eliminate long-term debt. In 2002, Washington County had no significant long-term debt. Today, the county has $206 million in debt with plans to borrow an additional $43.5 million in 2019. This includes $50 million in future interest payments, which are taxpayer dollars that could be used to reduce taxes or restore full funding for programs such as 4-H and the Washington County Historical Society. Long-term debt issued this year is $20 million and includes $17.5 million for roads and bridges.
The county must expand and improve our programs, services and resources for mental health care and suicide prevention, including support in our schools for children facing behavioral problems and training for law enforcement officers in crisis intervention. This would reduce costs in our prison, jails and hospitals by providing individuals the care they need.
How do you plan to address these issues if elected?
Return to a practice of planning for and saving for capital projects. We can do this by raising the levy to save for future projects. Funding for parks, libraries, roads and county buildings should be determined through the County's Capital Improvement Plan by conducting public hearings in each commissioner's district. We must quickly study what works in other counties and begin to fund this work starting in 2018 or sooner if funding becomes available.
What distinguishes you from the other candidate?
I have a record of asking the right questions and standing up for my community. I worked to have crosswalks put in place near Oak Park Elementary to make the intersections safer for children. In 2000, I fought to prevent drinking water wells from being drilled near a contaminated site. In 2006 through 2012, I was instrumental in preventing the City of Oak Park Heights from having to pay for all of the utility relocation costs. The city received $2.3 million and has spent $1.5 million to date for utility relocation and roadwork.