Southwest DFLer announces bid for Hennepin County Board

Linden Hills resident Joel Bergstrom, a DFL activist, has announced his candidacy for the Hennepin County Board of Commissioner's 3rd District.

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman has represented the district since 1999, which includes Southwest neighborhoods and St. Louis Park. She is running for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo, a veteran lawmaker who plans to step down at the end of his term.

Bergstrom, 32, said he would halt his campaign if Dorfman decides to seek reelection to the County Board. The DFL endorsing convention for the 5th Congressional District race was May 6 after this edition of the Southwest Journal went to press.

Bergstrom, an attorney, is the development director of the University of Minnesota's Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation. He has also served as the chair of the DFL Party's Senate District 60 since 2004.

&#8220Government's most important job is improving lives,” Bergstrom said in a prepared statement kicking off his campaign. &#8220As a member of the Hennepin County Board, I will gain many opportunities to do this. It's about safeguarding our community resources, promoting social justice and investing in our future.”

If elected, Bergstrom said he would focus on making Hennepin County the &#8220progressive policy-making engine” in the region and would advocate for a regional approach to public transit planning, affordable housing development and environmental stewardship, among other things.

Bergstrom attended law school at New York University and then went on to Montgomery, Ala., for a federal judicial clerkship. He then practiced law in New York and later returned to Minnesota to work for the Minneapolis office Merchant & Gould.

He is married to Laura Lassor, a poverty lawyer with the Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.

The DFL endorsing convention for the Hennepin County Board's 3rd District is June 1 at Washburn High School, 201 W. 49th St.

Other candidates vying for the seat include Mark Anderson, Susan Segal and Greg Abbott.