Drops consideration of running for Dakota County Board
by Laura Adelmann
Patrick Garofalo, R-Farmington, said he will seek a fifth term in the Minnesota House and will not run for Dakota County commissioner in 2012.
Garofalo had announced in August that he was considering running for the Dakota County District 1 seat, held by Joe Harris since 1981.
Harris announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election in 2012.
Garofalo, chair of the Education Finance Committee, said he thought about focusing on county issues as a commissioner, but decided there is more work to be done at the state Legislature.
“That’s where my heart is,” Garofalo said.
He said his top legislative goals are to make Minnesota an easier place to create jobs, reform education so Minnesota is a national leader, and increase productivity in government instead of raising taxes on families and businesses.
Garofalo added that he hopes to pass the Jacque Devney bill, legislation that boosts the penalty for careless driving that results in a death.
Garofalo has worked on it since 2006, when Devney died after being struck by a vehicle driven by Laura Ann Brockhaus, a nurse returning home from a night shift who fell asleep at the wheel.
Brockhaus received 100 hours of community work and a year of probation for the misdemeanor charge of careless driving, a sentence that shocked Devney’s family.
“I’ve been working with Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom on this pretty hard,” Garofalo said. “Hopefully, this year we can make that happen.”
He also said he wants to ensure that the education reforms made last session are implemented by the Department of Education.
Garofalo said he’d like to monitor alternative teacher licensing and the elimination of school districts making retention decisions based on seniority as opposed to quality.
“That works for the adults, but it’s a bad deal for the kids,”Garofalo said.
In an interview Monday, Harris said he has heard from several people interested in serving at the county level.
Among those he has spoken with is Farmington City Council Member Christy Jo Fogarty.
Hastings City Council Member Mike Slavik announced his intention to run for the open county seat a few months ago.
Laura Adelmann is at email@example.com.