Minnesota state representative Joe Atkins is running for the Dakota County Board of Commissioners District 4, including Rosemount, Eagan and Inver Grove Heights. Atkins, a lifelong resident of Dakota County, has served seven terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives and was mayor of Inver Grove Heights for 10 years. He said his aim on the county board is to build an even stronger Dakota County and to find cost-effective ways to provide good roads, public safety, parks, trails, libraries and services, while holding the line on county property taxes. “It is also critical we strike a balance between attracting quality development and preserving the open space, woodlands and wetlands that set our area apart from so many other suburban counties,” Atkins said. Atkins was named Legislator of the Year four times in 2013 and 2014, receiving separate, back-to-back awards from Minnesota’s firefighters, police officers, nurses, and the American Cancer Society. Atkins owns a small law firm in South St. Paul.