Get Involved Rail in MN

Member Spotlight

Janice Rettman

Position: County Commissioner

Representing: Ramsey County District 3


How long have you been in public service?

I have served District 3 (residents living and working in Falcon Heights and portions of the city of Saint Paul including Frogtown, part of the Midway, and the areas I served when I was on the City Council) on the Ramsey County Board since April of 1997.

Prior to that, I served over 11 years on the Saint Paul City Council Ward 5 representing the North End/South Como, part of the Eastside to Edgerton and Como Park communities. I have also served as Director of the Saint Paul Housing Information Office for 10 years, served as chair and board member of the District 10 Community Council, and served as a VISTA Program volunteer.

Why did you choose to be in public service?

People come first. People before politics. I believe that government should be responsive to its citizens and provide opportunities for meaningful public input. I work diligently toward improving the fiscal policies and management practices of the county to reflect that input. I am passionate about using my role as a county commissioner to provide quality opportunities for living wage jobs, affordable housing for all, effective service delivery, environmental justice and protection and creatively developing solutions that benefit Ramsey County residents.

What is your favorite thing about Ramsey County?

The people!

I am humbled by the depth of the people who live and work in the area I serve. Since becoming an elected official, I have always tried to door knock every week throughout the year in all of the neighborhoods as well as attending a multitude community gatherings. I listen to them; for they are for whom I work. I believe that, as their public servant, I must work as hard as they do. It is a privilege and honor.

What is the area you represent in Ramsey County most known for? What is unique, or special about it?

District 3 is very unique, and very special. Say State Fair--Falcon Heights is the place! You say Como Park--Como Park and South Como neighborhoods are the place.

You say I-35E, between downtown and Larpenteur on both sides - that is the North End, Frogtown and Eastside - all of which I represent. You say #1 Kmart in Twin Cities - that is in the I-35E corridor, as is the brand new Pipefitter's Training Facility (which is a boon for training apprentice pipefitters for good living wage careers). You say Central Corridor Green Line on University - that is one of my borders.

Have you seen the beautiful Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary that took 23 years of hard work by the neighborhood to create the vision and find the funding? It hosts an active train line, innovative water eco-systems, and a host of critters and native vegetation. You may hear that the Eastside, North End and Frogtown have a lot of economic poverty and indeed that is true---for a lot of people work hard at 1-2 minimum wage jobs to provide for their families. At the same time, we have had to fight for their rights for environmental justice. They are a strong, diverse, intelligent and mighty force.

Why are you interested in high-speed rail in Minnesota?

I have served on the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission since shortly after its inception in 2009, and as chairperson since 2015.

I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that the officials who have served and/or are serving on the MN HSR are great from the beginning. And in their spotlights you will hear more from them.

And that is one of the best parts of the Great River Route. It runs on active train lines which carry 10% of the nation's freight. It runs through some of the most beautiful country around---clearly a Mecca for all Seasons!

And with so many places to go to after you stop at Winona or Red Wing or La Crosse or Saint Paul---from each of those communities you can go to the birthplace of waterskiing; see the eagles soar, go skiing, hiking, boating, or gambling; to the place where Wisconsin and Minnesota unite; to where both Red Wing Pottery and Red Wing Boots were born: to education destinations, good jobs, recreation, government etc.

One of the cornerstones of the MN HSR is to also improve safety features of crossings all along the route whether or not there is a station there each of the communities would benefit from the investments made.

It is a privilege to serve as the MN HSR Chair and help move forward on the SECOND TRAIN to Chicago---which will exponentially with the help of the Legislature and Governor providing a 20% match leverage federal dollars.

So Come Aboard and help us get a Second Train! Help us get the Minnesota High Speed Rail Train! Enjoy riding the rails and all the communities that make up the GREAT RIVER ROUTE!


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