Purchase a Paver to Honor a Vet 

(as published in the Woodbury Bulletin 12/17/08)

Woodbury’s newest attraction honors our Veterans and brings patriotic beauty to the rose gardens adjacent to Woodbury City Hall near the corner of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road.  I attended the 2008 Veterans Day observance at the Woodbury Lions Veterans Memorial and felt pride for our current and past military service members during the ceremony.  I watched as a flag for each branch of the military was raised individually and sang our National Anthem accompanied by the Woodbury Brass Band along with a large crowd who had gathered there in spite of the inclement weather.  We are fortunate to have such a beautiful place in our city to reflect upon our country, our freedom and the many sacrifices of our service member heroes.

As a new member of the Woodbury Lion’s Club, my wish is for citizens to continue to support this important addition to our city.  With the holidays upon us, residents may want to consider purchasing a paver as a gift for a family member or loved one who has served in the military. 

The pavers are a beautiful gray granite stone and measure 8 inches wide by 16 inches long; they are available to honor any veteran of military service including personnel presently serving in the military.  The purchased pavers are engraved with the name of a veteran and the branch and era they served in and cost $300 a piece, which goes directly to cover the cost of the memorial site.  Paver donations are acknowledged with a signed, numbered and laminated Certificate that has a shaded image of the Woodbury Veterans Memorial overprinted with “In Honor Of” or “In Memory Of” the named veteran. A coded key will show the location of your paver(s) within the Memorial Plaza.  The Certificate also includes the name or names of the donors. 

I purchased a paver last month to honor my father who is a retired member of the air force.  He served during the Korean conflict and was a member of the air force reserves for twenty years.  I’m proud of his military service and he was very touched to learn that a memorial paver will be installed in his honor at the Memorial Plaza next spring.

To find out more visit woodburylionsvetmem.org, or call Dick Stafford 651-303-4453, Dick Krumm 651-738-0021 or Brett Anderson 651-353-0493.  A scale model of the Memorial is located in the lobby of City Hall. 

Lisa WeikWashington County Commissioner, District 5 – Woodbury

County-Wide Book Club

(published by the Pioneer Press)

I’d like to congratulate the Washington County Library Board for offering a new program called “One County – One Book” that will focus the community on a discussion of the importance of civility as outlined in Dr. P.M. Forni’s book, “Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct.”  Going through life rude and angry can make you sick.  Everyone can improve the quality of their lives and relationships by choosing to be more considerate, courteous and polite.  The goal is to inspire positive choices by citizens that result in respect, consideration and tolerance in daily interactions.

The program ended on April 21, 2009 with a community meeting and discussion hosted by the author at the R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury.  Two hundred copies of the book are available at Washington County libraries.  The book goes beyond etiquette and offers strategies for success in the workplace, which may benefit job seekers.

Lisa WeikWashington County Commissioner, District 5 – Woodbury

County Commissioner duties are varied 

(as published in the Woodbury Bulletin 7/7/10)

With the arrival of warm summer weather, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with literally thousands of fellow Woodbury residents on a variety of topics. We live in a great city; civic pride was certainly reflected in our dialog. Unquestionably, the one subject that I’m asked to describe most often are the roles and responsibilities of a county commissioner. The duties of a county commissioner are varied and often involve meetings and discussions not obvious to constituents. To be as open and transparent as I can to my constituents, I regularly post my activities via the social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Below is a general explanation of my regular duties for taxpayers to have a better understanding of the process of county government.

The best known activities of a county commissioner are the public meetings held by the County Board. Residents are always welcome and encouraged to attend public meetings, such as those conducted by the Washington County Board of Commissioners. When they arrive at the weekly meeting in Stillwater, it is to find an agenda set out for the business at hand and a series of policy questions that need to be answered by the elected officials. But acting on that agenda and answering those questions are often the culmination of deliberation that occurred among advisory groups and joint powers boards, including publicly noticed workshops, which are also a part of a commissioners’ “to-do” list each week. While the elected members of the county board take official action during the board meetings, often the ground work and debate takes place during public workshops and citizen advisory committee meetings prior to official board action. 

Our tasks go beyond the hours we spend in our role meeting as a county board. In addition, commissioners are part of several joint powers groups; official bodies created by individual boards working together for a common goal across jurisdictions to meet state and federal mandates at reduced costs for taxpayers. Commissioners publicly share the information gathered and action taken by those bodies during board meetings.  The metro-wide commissions, such as the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board, the Solid Waste Coordinating Board and the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District board (MMCD), are governed by a board of elected county commissioners, each representing their respective county boards to set yearly budgets, develop policy and oversee district operations. Counties included in the MMCD are Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington. We have worked collaboratively as a board to reduce the MMCD budget for the past two years.  I am completing my second year representing Washington County on the full MMCD commission, while Commissioner Myra Peterson from District 4, serves as Chair on the Executive Committee this year.  

The county itself has about 20 advisory committees with at least one county commissioner who serves as liaison to the county board. In the case of the Law Library Board, I serve as a voting member of the group and advocate for services that benefit the taxpayer, such as the free Legal Advice Clinics coordinated by the Law Library for our residents. 

Lastly, county boards have little autonomy in what services we provide to our constituents; we are an administrative arm of both the state and federal governments. Most of our flexibility is in the amenity services provided by counties, such as parks and libraries.  However, Washington County has worked diligently for years to implement ways to cut department costs and find operational efficiencies resulting in streamlined delivery of high-quality core services at an affordable tax rate. As we collectively face unprecedented economic times, I remain confident in the skills, knowledge and dedication of my fellow board members as we work together to find cost-effective solutions for our taxpayers during what will likely be a challenging year of decision making. 

 Lisa WeikWashington County Commissioner, District 5 – Woodbury

Committed to Serving Constituents 

(as published in the Woodbury Bulletin 10/27/10)

The primary function of government is the health, safety and welfare of citizens, which is reflected in the county budget as the top two areas of spending are for Health and Human Services and Law Enforcement protection.  As I’ve canvassed my district, speaking with literally thousands of constituents this year, guarding the safety net (top examples include child protection and public safety), in spite of dramatic cuts to state and federal program aid, will become ‘job one’ of the county board as we work to bring a balanced budget forward in December. 

In light of the historic state budget deficit looming at a projected $5.8 billion, the primary task of all local elected officials may be to define a ‘new normal’ for the next biennium and beyond.  I would ask voters in District 5 for their support in the Nov. 2nd, general election as I pride myself on being a hard-working commissioner who thrives on public service and community involvement, always putting citizens first. 

I pledge to address the county’s fiscal health while meeting its obligations by adhering to sound financial management with a keen focus on core values, while keeping property taxes low.  Washington County is proud to be one of only 48 counties in the nation to hold a triple A bond rating, meaning the county may borrow capitol at lower rates at reduced costs for taxpayers.  Out of 87 counties in Minnesota we currently have the second lowest tax rate and per capita spending in the state. I advocate for regional delivery of county services where it makes sense but only with counties that match our low per capita cost for services.  We live in the best county in the state of Minnesota; I pledge to protect that heritage.

I am committed to keeping county spending under control through accountability, transparency, innovative reforms and collaboration.  As we continue to face unprecedented economic times, new public-private partnerships may offer solutions. No one entity can create jobs, which is critical for the health of our collective future. I feel our Twin Cities communities have a greater chance of success if we partner together to grow jobs.  

To that end I support a county contribution, based on population size, to a newly formed regional economic development entity (REDE), called the Itasca Jobs Task Force Project.  This exciting and progressive opportunity is not another expensive government program.  It offers concrete ideas in transportation planning, K-12 public education efforts and new ways to partner across sectors to create more living-wage jobs and dynamically grow commerce that will bring prosperity to our region, in spite of the faltering national economy.  

The Itasca Group will bring value and new synergies to elected officials who set policy and need the support of a broad-base consortium in order to halt the negative effects of the recession and to lessen the property tax burden in Washington County, while growing healthy communities.  I see the negative effects of the recession every day in my district; empty and foreclosed homes may bring blight.  They serve as a horrible warning and call to action that doing nothing to stop unemployment and high taxation can destroy our collective future.  

My many years of business experience and leadership skills developed in the medical device industry have been an asset to the county board and my community during my first two years in elected office.  For example, we recently partnered with city leaders to successfully complete the Dale properties open space acquisition involving Washington County and City of Woodbury Land and Water Legacy dollars.  My direct involvement contributed to preserving this beautiful natural resource for future generations of Woodbury and county residents.  

In conclusion, I continue to feel that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.  It’s a show of leadership to “know your limits” and chart a new course in operating paradigms.  We are living in interesting times but I see that as an opportunity for growth.  I’m the only candidate in this race to make a principled commitment to full-time service on the county board for another two year term, due to redistricting commissioner boundaries following the census results.  I go beyond the title of elected official and am a true public servant who is willing to work hard to make the best better for our citizens and taxpayers.

Lisa WeikWashington County Commissioner, District 5 – Woodbury