Hennepin County Board
‘We need good government more than ever’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, September 25, 2020
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
HOPKINS — “We need good government more than ever and that path to good government starts with us,” says Chris LaTondresse.
Endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, LaTondresse is running for the District 6 seat on the Hennepin County Board.
District 6 includes northern Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and the smaller communities surrounding Lake Minnetonka.
Jan Callison, the three-term incumbent who first was elected in 2008, is not running for re-election. She has endorsed LaTondresse.
LaTondresse also has endorsements from AFSCME Council 5, IBEW Local 292, Laborers Local 363, and Teamsters Joint Council 32. He also is DFL-endorsed.
“My whole career has been devoted to public service, working inside of government or outside government for advocacy groups to make government more responsive to the needs of its citizens,” LaTondresse says.
LaTondresse currently works as vice president of strategy for a non-profit addressing education equity issues.
Two years ago, LaTondresse won election to the Hopkins School Board, where he is serving as vice chair. “I’m the only candidate in this race with local government experience,” he notes. “I’ve led our district through the COVID-19 crisis.”
LaTondresse previously served two years in the Obama administration, where he worked as an advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development. He led efforts to mobilize civil society and faith based groups to address food insecurity.
His experience, LaTondresse says, helps make him someone “who knows how to navigate large, complex systems.”
So many issues facing our communities are woven together, LaTondresse notes: Student success, affordable housing, health care, living wages. “What’s abundantly clear is that so many of the challenges our students and their families face are a part of their reality before they ever walk through the doors of our schools,” he says.
County government, he adds, is unique because it impacts people’s lives on all the biggest issues.
“I’m running because I believe we are living in extraordinary times,” LaTondresse says, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the resulting economic crisis and the “urgent need to address longstanding systemic racism.”
LaTondresse grew up in Hopkins and attended the local public schools, later graduating from Bethel University in St. Paul as a political science major. He lives now in Hopkins with his wife — a nurse practitioner — and their two young sons.
“I grew up in a union household,” LaTondresse reports. His mother, Barbara LaTondresse, taught in the Hopkins school district for 40 years. “It was the union that stood up for her… until she wanted to retire on her terms,” he relates. In retirement, he adds, union pensions allowed his parents to remain in their home — and also to travel.
“My commitment to being a champion for labor is rooted in my own experience,” LaTondresse says. “People who work union live better, with fair wages, insurance, pensions.” As county commissioner, he says, he will work with labor “as a partner and ally.” He adds: “I will be a smarter commissioner and make better decisions because of my relationship with labor.”