To the editor:
The Goodhue County Board of Commissioners currently operates without a representative for District 1, which is 18% of the county's population and 46% of Red Wing's population. Those citizens of Red Wing lack a voice at the county level and are being denied a voice in critical decision-making unless the County Board immediately completes the process it initiated to appoint an acting commissioner.
The current County Board of commissioners is functioning with disproportionate representation that - while giving lip service to representing the interests of many Red Wing citizens, the Prairie Island Indian Community, and Welch Township - acts solely to represent their own constituencies. Two commissioners representing districts distinct from the concerns of the city of Red Wing are denying representation to District 1 during a period when critical county issues affecting budgets, taxation, and agreements with the city should be discussed and decided.
In May, the County Board initiated a process that was intended to fill the vacancy in a timely manner and not leave the seat empty for up to 10 months. That process was derailed when the same two commissioners created conditions for the appointment that included pledging not to run for office after the application deadline for the position had passed. As a result, District 1 in Red Wing remains unrepresented.
This vacancy will likely last until February of 2020. Waiting to fill that vacancy for months denies District 1 representation during a critical budget planning period. Staff budget work and critical budget discussions with commissioners will continue through June, July, and August without a District 1 voice, disenfranchising those citizens of the city and the county.
As has been said often, this is taxation without representation. Or perhaps more properly in this case: it is government paralysis without representation.
Five voices need to be present at the table for these tough discussions and decisions. All citizens need to be represented. We urge the County Board immediately to fill the District 1 vacancy so the business of government may advance with the representatives of all the people at the table.
Sean Dowse, Mayor of Red Wing
Dean Hove, Red Wing City Council President
Evan Brown, Red Wing City Council Vice President