Farmington council member Fogarty returns to state board
Farmington City Council member Christy Jo Fogarty has been a community leader for more than a decade. But she's been in a leadership role at the state level for a number of years, as well.
In May, Gov. Mark Dayton announced Fogarty's reappointment to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. It's a post many in Farmington do not know she holds, though she's been on the board since she was appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2009.
Back in 2009, Fogarty was a candidate for a vacancy on the Metropolitan Council. The selection process brought her and another candidate right down to final interviews with Gov. Pawlenty. Ultimately, the other candidate got the position, but Pawlenty was impressed by Fogarty and later appointed her to the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
Fogarty represents the seven-county metropolitan area covering Minneapolis, St. Paul and all of the surrounding cities.
"I've found it tremendously fascinating and rewarding. It's statewide, not just representing Farmington," she said.
Because the board builds policy and regulates things like conservation practices, wetland-related issues and local water management, Fogarty has input on communities both near and far from Farmington. Although, she adds, having dealt with some of those types of issues on the local city council has given her good insight for the job.
Farmington's proximity to the surrounding townships gives her another unique advantage on the board, because she's used to looking at how some projects affect not just the community involved, but the surrounding ones, as well. And working with townships is different than working with other cities.
"It's nice because we're more borderline. We have relationships with the townships, and the county. It's not like Minneapolis, where it's all urban, urban, urban," she said. "In a sense, it gives me a feel for the bigger picture."
Fogarty sits on the BWSR's grants committee, which means she has input on deciding what statewide projects are eligible to receive grant funding. The Board of Water and Soil Resources receives funding from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment and disburses that funding to worthy projects every year. Seeing those projects go from proposal to reality has been a nice perk, she added.
"It's been fun to see what kind of different ways people try to come up with to use that funding," Fogarty said. "I think it's one of the greatest things that this board has done."
Fogarty attends between 12 and 15 meetings every year. The board also goes on tours of the state to see conservation methods at work.
"We go to every part of the state. Last year we were down in the southwestern part of the state. They even took us out to a wind farm. That was kind of neat," she said.
"I've really enjoyed all of my time on this board, and I'll be sad when it's done. I wish people knew more about it," she said.