County Board District 1: Erica Jepson would support MPs; using onboard agriculture and social services experience – Detroit Lakes Tribune
DETROIT LAKES – Erica Jepson wants to use her background in agriculture and her knowledge of social services to benefit the residents and employees of Becker County.
“County employees asked me to run because they felt we really needed some positive change on the council due to the current employee crisis. The county administrator has been there for six months, and in the six months he has been there, over 50 people have quit,” she said.
The sheriff’s office, for example, has seen a 40% increase in calls for service since 1999, but has only been allowed to increase its patrol staff by 14%, she said. And those calls are bigger because of the drug problem in Becker County, she added.
“I worked closely with law enforcement – I was in child and family services – and the county’s high bond rating was set on the backs of our deputies” , she said.
Additionally, she said, “I’m known for my ability to stand up for what’s right — I’m not a ‘yes’ person, I vote in the best interests of the county, not because someone tells me how to vote.” I don’t bend under pressure – we need this kind of person on the board.
Jepson says she also understands how government works at multiple levels, what can be done at each level, and how to push for change. “I am curious and will ask as many questions as necessary to understand and learn about all areas of local government in Becker County.”
If elected as Becker County Commissioner for District 1, she added, “I will work to ensure citizens’ concerns are addressed, federal and state requirements are met, and county operations continue. run smoothly.”
Jepson, 41, says there are five good reasons to vote for her to represent District 1 on the Becker County Board:
“First, I am passionate about making positive changes in Becker County that reflect our rural values and common sense. Second, I will make informed decisions with the best interests of the citizens of District 1 Becker County in mind. Third, I understand how to balance people’s needs while being fiscally responsible. Fourth, I understand the work of many county departments and will learn more about those I don’t know by talking to employees and the people they serve. Five, I will bring to the county council work experience and knowledge that is not held by any other member of the council,” she said.
Jepson married her husband, Brett, in 2002 and has one daughter, Allison. They own and operate a farm in Evergreen Township that Brett purchased from his parents, Ernie and Shirley Jepson, in 1998.
They were dairy farmers, “until they made the difficult decision in 2019 to sell our dairy cows and move into goat and beef farming which we continue today,” she said. “Being farmers instilled many values in our family including hard work, passion, patience, integrity, respect for mother nature and the importance of family, friends and neighbours.”
Jepson graduated from Bemidji State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in social work and attended the National Education for Women Leadership Institute and the White House Project (a nonprofit organization that has worked to increase women’s representation). women in US institutions, business and government) in 2010 before starting her career as a social worker at White Earth Indian Child Welfare in 2011.
“I continued my career with Becker County Human Services from 2013 to December 2021,” she added. “While at Becker County Human Services, I served as a labor management committee member for two years, as well as a shop steward for five years.”
She was endorsed by the Teamsters union, which represents nearly half of Becker County employees, and currently works for the Minnesota Department of Social Services as a child protection expert.
The county council has authority over a wide range of things – social services, corrections, child protection, library services, hospitals and nursing homes, public health services, planning and zoning, economic development, parks and recreation , water quality, roads and solid waste management, to name a few.
“Many of these services are largely governed by state law and require quick and decisive decision makers at the county level to ensure compliance, as well as the ability to recommend intelligent changes if necessary,” she said. , adding that it is important to have a county council with diverse knowledge and experience making these decisions for the county.
District 1 is represented by longtime commissioner Larry Knutson of Toad Lake, who is not running for election this year. The district encompasses roughly the eastern half of Becker County.