Elected by the voters of District 4 on March 15, 2005, Commissioner Toni Carter currently serves as chair of the Association of Minnesota Counties Human Services Policy Committee, and of Ramsey County’s Legislative, Human Services and Workforce, and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Stakeholder Committee. Commissioner Carter also serves on the leadership teams of Ramsey County’s Workforce Investment Board, the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative and the Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative.
Committed to the delivery of efficient and effective county services, eliminating disparities in county services and systems, and raising grassroots awareness of county decision-making processes and systems, Commissioner Carter has recently led several Ramsey County system change initiatives including a three year evidence-based juvenile detention alternatives initiative that has resulted in a reduction in the number of youth detained at the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center and the development of system and community alternatives to detention for lower risk youth. Commissioner Carter has also been working to implement strategic school, community and intergovernmental partnerships for child safety and student achievement through the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative.
An advocate of light-rail transit in the Central Corridor, and a member of the Met Council Central Corridor Management Committee, Commissioner Carter strongly believes this endeavor must integrate a holistic, community-generated vision of a transit system and surrounding development that helps people, especially those currently in the corridor, get to good jobs, access the resources they need, explore new avenues and remain connected to each other. She is working with neighbors, businesses and jurisdictions along the corridor to realize shared visions for the Central Corridor, including the build-out of the Western, Victoria and Dale stations, a service plan than enhances transit and LRT access for all, parking solutions that work, integrated and comprehensive streetscape and public art design and planning, and construction and development to increase opportunity and prosperity for residents and businesses within the corridor area.
Prior to her election to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, Toni Carter served as a member and chair of the Saint Paul Board of Education. Active in community building for over 30 years, Commissioner Carter has served on numerous community boards, including the Saint Paul Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Library Service Agency (MELSA), the Walker West Music Academy, the West Side Community Health Center, the Saint Paul YWCA, and the Jeremiah Program.
Previous professional roles include teacher at Crosswinds Middle School, IBM systems engineer, marketing representative and systems support manager, and communications and arts consultant. Commissioner Carter has worked and volunteered in the Twin Cities arts community for over three decades, acting professionally with Saint Paul’s Penumbra Theatre, in television and radio commercials and industrials, as talent for print media, and as co-founder/founding director of ARTS-Us. She has produced two professional videos, and published a hardcover book. Commissioner Carter has received numerous awards for her work in the community, and in the arts and arts education, including an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Concordia University – Saint Paul.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Commissioner Carter moved to Minnesota in 1971 to attend Carleton College. She is married to retired St. Paul Police Sergeant and Save Our Sons co-founder Melvin W. Carter, Jr. They live in the Summit-University neighborhood, and are the parents of three graduates of the Saint Paul Public Schools – Anika (Roi) Ward, Melvin W. (Alecia) Carter III, and Alanna (Anthony) Galloway. They have five granddaughters and one grandson.
Commissioner Toni Carter is the first African-American ever to serve on a county board in Minnesota.