Special Election February 11:
Anoka County Commissioner, District 6
MRLF backing Cindy Hansen for
Anoka County Commissioner
From the Minneapols Labor Review, December 20, 2019
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
ANOKA COUNTY — If you live in eastern Anoka County, mark Tuesday, February 11 on your calendar. That’s the day for a special election for the open District 6 seat on the Anoka County Board of Commissioners.
The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO has endorsed Cindy Hansen for the seat.
A vacancy was created in the post when incumbent Rhonda Sivarajah resigned to take the job of Anoka County administrator.
District 6 in eastern Anoka County includes part of Blaine plus Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbus, Lexington Lino Lakes, and Linwood.
Hanson, Lino Lakes, is a former nine-year mayor of Spring Lake Park.
“I listen to people and I give them a voice,” Hansen says. “I think that’s one of my biggest assets.”
“I’m not a politician,” Hansen insists. “I’m a public servant.”
Her proudest moments as an elected official, she says, come when she helps facilitate a discussion where people with different views listen to one another and then come up with an idea that works.
Hansen first ran for mayor of Spring Lake Park years ago, she relates, “because I found my husband and I were complaining more and more about things that were happening in local government.”
Fearing that complaining but not acting was setting a bad example for her daughter, Hansen decided to run for mayor. Her daughter, then 16, helped her campaign. “It was an awesome experience,” Hansen says.
In a three-way race, she defeated the incumbent and won election. She ran uncontested for a second term and, running for a third term, won 80 percent of the vote.
During her time as Spring Lake Park mayor, Hansen’s leadership helped bring $55 million in redevelopment.
She also helped make a previously undeveloped parcel of land available for the construction of the Legends of Spring Lake Park, a new affordable housing development for seniors.
“When this project came along, it was the perfect fit for this land,” she says.
The city also purchased property for future development, using it in the meantime for a public works building to store equipment inside that previously had been stored outside.
Hanson resigned as mayor after relocating to Lino Lakes for a dream home. But when the Anoka County District 6 seat opened up, she saw an opportunity to use her experience and serve the community again.
“I have nine years’ experience working with those [county] board members,” she says. Two of the current board members are supporting her. “I’m proud to say one is a Republican and one is a Democrat,” she says. “That’s what I’m known for — getting people to work together.”
Hanson’s husband, Doug Hansen, is a retired Teamsters Local 120 member who worked as a truck driver for 25 years. With his union job, she says, “we felt the stability.”
She says the couple’s daughter, growing up in a union household, “was brought up to know you need to speak up for your rights.” She adds, “it isn’t always easy… They had to fight to keep the union there.”
Hansen was born and raised in Spring Lake Park and graduated from Spring Lake Park High School. She went on to graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, earning a double major in art and business administration.
After college, Hansen worked as a conference coordinator for a nonprofit, then as a graphic artist, and then with her daughter entering school, she worked in nutrition services for the Moundsview School District for 19 years.
“It just worked being in the same school district as my daughter and having the same days off,” she says, it was wonderful.”
In doorknocking now for the Anoka County Board race, Hansen says she’s finding people don’t realize that the special election coming February 11 is the general election (some people, she says, thought the November 5 primary election was the general election for this race).
“This election gives union members a chance to have a voice in local government,” she wants to tell Labor Review readers. “This will only happen if all the members vote in the special election. The turnout is going to be minimal. Your voice will really count.”