Goodhue County Commissioner Paul Drotos was elected president of the County Board during the first meeting of 2020. His fellow members unanimously elected Drotos chair and Commissioner Barney Nesseth vice chair.

Drotos represents the eastern portion of Red Wing and Wacouta Township.

Q: How long have you lived in the county?

A: I have lived and worked here for 41 years.

Q: What do/did you do for a career?

A: I worked for NSP/Xcel from the local office to Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant for 21 years followed by 16 years at the city of Red Wing where I ended my career as the city’s environmental officer.

Q: Why did you originally decide to run for the County Board?

A: I ran for office because I disagreed with my county commissioner in areas of policy, application and focus. I believe government’s most important obligation is to protect the health and safety of our citizens.

Q: What boards/committees have you served on during your tenure?

A: I currently serve on 13 of the 43 committees. Some of my assignments are:

  1. The State Community Health Services Advisory Committee, which meets directly with the state health commissioner to guarantee public health.

  2. The association of Minnesota Counties Environmental and Natural Resources Committee

  3. The Goodhue County Historical Society Board of Directors

  4. The Great River Rail Commission

  5. The Aquatic Invasive Species Committee

I also chair the Health and Human Services Committee and the Personnel Committee.

Q: Did you want to be named chair?

A: The Goodhue County Board of Commissioners rotates the chair position each year. It was my turn to accept the leadership responsibilities.

Q: What topic(s) are you most interested in discussing and focusing on in 2020?

A: In our most recent board goals workshop, I submitted 19 items for consideration. The first was complete landfill closing. This item continues to expose Goodhue County to the biggest financial risk for cleanup and needs to be concluded.

I have proposed budget meetings early and often in order to keep taxes down. I will actively seek the public’s opinion as we plan. We now have an honest budget that forces the tough choices to be made each year.

The 2020 Goodhue County tax levy is the lowest of any county in southeastern Minnesota.

I want to continue to provide a united front against drugs and addiction, including stopping the epidemic of vaping in schools where vaping anything, including meth, is possible.

I want to fight shoreline erosion and invasive species in and on the Mississippi. I want to support local efforts against climate change by supporting solar development and maintaining nuclear energy resources. I want to continue to make sure county government works for all citizens.

Q: What do you foresee to be the largest obstacle that the board will face this year?

A: I believe we need an orderly transition to a closed landfill in order to save the taxpayers money and protect our local environment.

Q: What are your thoughts on the solid waste plan? Do you believe it will be resolved by the end of the year?

A: I support the solid waste plan and the designation ordinance. I believe the issues will be resolved by the end of the year.

Q: How will you and your fellow board members work together to serve the residents of Goodhue County?

A: We will continue to listen to citizens and seek accurate information. I see my job as board chair as an opportunity to do more to improve the lives of Goodhue County residents.