Hi, I'm Joe!
Since I was first elected in 2016, Dakota County has paid off all county debt, making us one of the few debt-free counties in the country. During this period, we have also been named the best county in the country for public safety and public health, beating out 3,000 counties nationwide.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND. My wife Julia and I grew up here, went to school and church here, and chose to raise our family here. We recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and have three children: John, Tom and Katie.
EDUCATION AND WORK BACKGROUND. I got my first job at age 12 in West St. Paul and worked full-time from the day I graduated from Simley High School to put myself through the University of Minnesota and law school. For the past 25 years, I have owned a successful small business and practiced law in South St. Paul. Across the street from my law office are the gates for Swift's, where my grandpa worked in the stockyards. The gates serve as a daily reminder to me of how the hard work and sacrifices of others paved the way for me and my family, and how important it is for me to do the same for others.
MY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT. State law requires county commissioner districts be redrawn every 10 years to account for population shifts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my new commissioner district - shown in green on the map - will include the communities of South St. Paul and West St. Paul, as well as even more of Inver Grove Heights.
While I will certainly miss representing Rosemount and Eagan on the County Board, the communities of South St. Paul, West St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights are special places for me and my family. I cannot imagine a commissioner district in which I could feel more at home.
SOUTH ST. PAUL. I was born at the old Divine Redeemer Hospital in South St. Paul, have owned a small business and practiced law in South St. Paul for 25 years, and have volunteered and participated in South St. Paul events and activities since I was a kid. I also represented South St. Paul when I was in the state legislature. My family’s ties to the community go back even further. Grandpa Polta worked in the stockyards at Swift’s. Grandma spent most of her 73 years in South St. Paul, raising eight kids on her own after grandpa passed away at 43. Mom grew up in South St. Paul, and many of my relatives reside in the community.
WEST ST. PAUL. West St. Paul is just as special of a place for my family. As a boy, I was the third generation of the Atkins family to reside in the community, and it is where I got my first job. Grandma Atkins spent most of her 99 years living, working and volunteering in West St. Paul. My dad grew up in West St. Paul, attended and graduated from ISD197 schools, and would later become a history teacher at Grass Junior High (now Heritage Middle School). When I served in the legislature from 2002-2016, I had the honor of representing part of ISD197.
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS. A 1984 Simley High School grad, I have served Inver Grove as mayor, as a school board member, as a state representative, and as an active volunteer.
I want to thank all those who have given me the opportunity to represent an area that means so much to me.