Eden Prairie resident Christopher Ferguson is resigning as the Metropolitan Council District 3 representative on Jan. 31.
The president and CEO of Bywater Business Solutions announced his decision during the Met Council’s Jan. 19 meeting. He also told district residents in a Jan. 20 newsletter.
According to Ferguson, he is in the process of blending families with his significant other. He will be moving out of Eden Prairie (and the district) after 22 years to another part of the metro in March.
Ferguson has been on the 17-member policy-making board that guides the metro area’s strategic growth since his appointment in May 2019 by Gov. Tim Walz. District 3 includes Eden Prairie and 16 other cities, including Chanhassen, Excelsior, Minnetonka, and Wayzata.
The council oversees Metro Transit’s bus and rail system, including the Southwest Light-Rail Transit extension from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie and services like regional parks, wastewater treatment systems, and affordable housing.
“Many of us would have liked to see more progress with respect to equity and with some of the others things that we tried to work on, but I think we have a great framework to continue that progress and a great framework to build on and hopefully continue to make improvements for our region,” he told the council.
During the meeting, Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle praised Ferguson for advancing “a lot of really important work in a very practical way.”
Zelle specifically lauded Ferguson’s business experience on the council.
Ferguson served as the council’s management committee chair. That entailed working with colleagues, regional partners and staff to reduce racial disparities, according to his Jan. 20 newsletter.
“Speaking selfishly, having another private sector person is always a great perspective,” said Zelle, who was chairman of a bus company before becoming commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation in 2012.
In an EPLN story last year, Ferguson said that finding ways to improve racial equity in the region is a key concern facing the Met Council. He states in his Met Council biography that working to address racial disparities is essential in driving economic growth in the region.
“We have to convince people that it’s not about just charity,” he said last year. “It’s really about growing our economy and making this a better place for everybody. If we view it that way, then it’s a little different way of tackling the problem.”
He wrote in the newsletter that he remains passionate about the Met Council’s focus.
“My commitment to ensure people have an equal opportunity to prosper regardless of the color of their skin, where they are from, who they love, or what god, if any, they worship has only become stronger,” he stated.
Filling the District 3 position once Ferguson leaves is the role of the governor’s office. Usually, the governor appoints a chair and 16 district representatives to the Met Council every four years.
Another seat on the Met Council is currently open. Three finalists for the District 6 seat vacated by Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson are awaiting a decision by the governor’s office.
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