Mike Opat, District 1

I'm proud to represent the people of the District 1 in Hennepin County. In addition to ensuring the efficient delivery of county services and the effective expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars, my priorities include:

  • Effective management of a world-class teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center: Hennepin County Medical Center and Hennepin Healthcare System.
  • Building public infrastructure for county residents and businesses, including Bottineau Light Rail Transit.
  • Exercising stewardship of unique county places like Victory Memorial Drive, the memorial to Hennepin’s 568 fallen World War I troops.
  • Smart public works projects – especially roads, bridges, bike paths and impaired lake cleanup within the county’s inner-ring suburbs.
  • Improving criminal justice, redeveloping blighted areas, and increasing neighborhood livability.
  • Practical and effective social safety-net programs for vulnerable populations in Hennepin County.
  • Strengthening and nurturing our award-winning and nationally ranked library system.
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Priorities and initiatives

Victory Memorial Drive

Victory Memorial Drive, North Minneapolis’ unique commemoration of the 568 men and women of Hennepin County who served and died in World War I, is getting new investments to maintain its honor and distinction for future generations. In 2003, the Legislature created the Victory Memorial Drive Task Force, co-chaired by Commissioner Opat and Commissioner Stenglein. Already, the Task Force has extended the green space and led the restoration of the historic street grid. Plans for 2010 include building landmark gateway monuments at Lowry Avenue North and Humboldt Avenue North, redesigning and expanding the flagpole plaza, and adding lighting for the streets and parkway. Soon, when motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists approach Victory Memorial Drive, they will know exactly what they are entering – a living tribute to the soldiers and nurses of Hennepin County who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I.

We’ll post updates on the District 1 homepage as progress on this great project continues.

Humboldt Greenway

The Humboldt Greenway project in Minneapolis features a newly-created parkway setting with major improvements to Shingle Creek, landscaped medians, boulevards, new open space, a pedestrian mall and approximately 200 new single-family homes and townhomes.

Hennepin County has served as the project’s lead agency and its largest financial supporter. Hennepin Community Works has worked in close consultation with the Lind-Bohanon and the Shingle Creek Neighborhood Associations and a number of other public agencies to make this project a reality.

Shingle Creek Commons

This 75-unit Shingle Creek Commons retirement living community in Minneapolis offers both affordable and market-rate housing units in an array of sizes and amenities. Development of this multi-million dollar development in the Humboldt Greenway was made possible by private, public, and community partners, with funding from Hennepin County, Wells Fargo, the City of Minneapolis and the Neighborhood Revitalization Project.

Hennepin County Medical Center

The Hennepin County Medical Center has been repeatedly recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best hospitals. It is the third largest hospital in the Twin Cities, based on operating revenue, and records more than 440,000 patient visits annually to its hospital and clinics.

Commissioner Opat is a member of the Hennepin County Medical Center Governing Board, and has been a leader in an effort to reposition the hospital in light of massive state cuts.

Bottineau Light Rail Transit (Blue Line Extension)

Extending the Blue Line and improving transit service in Hennepin County’s heavily traveled northwestern suburbs will help reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption and pollution, spur development, shorten commuting time, and provide people with more access to jobs around the region. Commissioner Opat is chair of the Bottineau Policy Advisory Committee, a combination of public and private agencies and leaders formed to mobilize resources, align public policies and focus on new development opportunities within the Bottineau Boulevard corridor.

Preventing teen pregnancy

Commissioner Opat launched a pilot project toward teen pregnancy prevention efforts, for which he was awarded the Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting (MOAPPP)'s Policymaker of the Year award in 2003.

Leadership positions

Hennepin County

  • Chair, Public Works, Energy and Environment Committee
  • Vice-Chair, Budget and Capital Investment Committee
  • Hennepin County Audit Committee


  • Member, Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth Board
  • Member, Counties Transit Improvement Board
  • Member, Joint Committee on Community Corrections
  • Member, Greater MSP
  • Member, Minneapolis Arts Institute Board
  • Member, Municipal Building Commission
  • Member, American Council of Young Political Leaders
  • Honorary board member, Arc Greater Twin Cities
  • Member, German Marshall Fund of the United States


Mike Opat represents the first district of the Hennepin County -- the largest county in Minnesota, with more than 1.1 million residents and an annual budget of $1.7 billion. The county board governs the delivery of county services, approves Hennepin’s budget and property tax levy, establishes ordinances, approves contracts and appoints key staff members.

Commissioner Opat was elected to the board for the first time in 1992 and has served from 1993 to the present. He represents a district that includes more than 160,000 residents in six suburban cities.

As chair of the Hennepin County Medical Center Governing Board in 2006, Commissioner Opat led the transition of HCMC to Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a governance change that gave the hospital greater autonomy and operational flexibility. Also in 2006, he led the effort with the Minnesota Twins to finance and build the new outdoor ballpark in downtown Minneapolis. It will open in April 2010. Commissioner Opat has also been involved in numerous transportation improvement projects.

Formerly a supervisor at the Hennepin Adult Corrections Facility and Minnesota Correctional Officer of the Year, Commissioner Opat is active in criminal justice efforts. His other efforts include partnering with local school districts to launch a teen pregnancy-prevention effort and improve outcomes for underprivileged young women. With two young sons, he is also enthusiastically involved in Guys Read, a literacy program that helps spark reading habits for boys.

Commissioner Opat has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Minnesota and earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He serves on the new Hennepin Healthcare System Board of Directors and the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the newly created board that will build new transit lines in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. He is a member of numerous private associations, including the American Council of Young Political Leaders, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and is an Honorary Board member of Arc Greater Twin Cities.

Commissioner Opat lives in Robbinsdale with his wife Kim, sons Luke and T.J. and daughter Tess.

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