St. Croix County Board candidates outline qualifications
When they go to the polls April 6, St. Croix County voters will elect 19 members to a newly down-sized County Board.
Questionnaires were sent to the candidates in contested races. Along with providing general information about themselves, they were asked to answer one question: What are your reasons and/or qualifications for wanting to serve on the County Board? Printed below are their responses.
Candidate's Name: Eugene P. Ruetz
Address: 1107 100th St., New Richmond
Family: Wife Donna, two children and one grandchild
Prior elected office: County Board supervisor, six years
Civic involvement: Member and past Post Adjutant of Hammond American Legion Post 432; past president of St. Croix Central School PTA; past scoutmaster of Hammond Boy Scouts, eight years; hunter education instructor for 25 years; past church council member; Korean War combat veteran
Ruetz: My prime reasons for running for County Board are to complete the reorganization of the board that I had a part in developing and to serve the county in return for the good life St. Croix County has provided me and my family since 1956.
As DNR forester for St. Croix County for 29 years, I worked with many town chairmen and County Board committees and gained insight into the operation of county government. I have gained valuable experience in the past six years on the County Board. As treasurer of my own forestry consulting company, I have experience in managing financial affairs.
Candidate's Name: Stan Krueger
Address: 1509 63rd St., Somerset
Occupation: Owner Standi Toys Inc
Family: Wife Sandra; four children; four grandchildren
Prior elected office: 9 years St. Croix County Board
Krueger: Government spending is out of control. The county spent $39,000 for a survey on non-representative (non-union) salaries and this will cost more to all taxpayers. There are employees that will get a double-digit increase. Why now?
All of the companies that we deal with have cut salaries, cut hours and cut benefits just to stay in business. Why should the county be different?
The county must make tough decisions and get real.
Remember only government employees received paychecks during the Great Depression.
Candidate's Name: James Stauffer
Address: 2092 90th Ave, Baldwin
Occupation: Software engineer
Family: Wife Annette; five children: Anna, Joseph, William, Joel and Edward
Prior elective office: None beyond student government senator at UW-Stout
Civic involvement: No response
Stauffer: I want to represent the District 8 to minimize taxes and other costs while keeping county services high quality.
I would also like to make the County Board meetings more accessible by changing the time to the evening so that it is more convenient for residents. I would also like to see meeting recordings posted online such as on youtube.com so that all residents can freely view the meetings at convenient times.
Candidate's Name: Charles Grant
Address: 1326 Charlotte St., Hammond
Grant: Declined to respond.
Candidate's Name: William Peavey
Address: 2530 County N, Woodville
Occupation: Beef and grain farmer
Family: Wife Jean; three children; five grandchildren
Prior elected office: St. Croix County Board, six years; town of Eau Galle clerk and clerk/ treasurer, over 25 years
Civic involvement: Volunteer firefighter for United Fire & Rescue, 14 years
Peavey: I would like to continue to serve on the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors to address major budget issues the county is facing.
Last fall I voted against the resolution to borrow $3.6 million dollars. I do support the portion of this borrowing designated for transportation but feel the county should be addressing the other issues through the normal budget process.
We should not borrow money for items that should have been addressed as maintenance items. This borrowing will raise taxes for seven years and in today's economy with unemployment and foreclosures at record highs, the residents of St. Croix County cannot afford a raise in taxes.
Candidate's Name: Gerald Peterson
Address: 1300 Franklin St., Baldwin
Peterson: Declined to respond.
Candidate's Name: Joe Hurtgen
Address: 2522 110th Ave., Woodville
Family: Wife Ellen
Prior elected office: Chairman, town of Baldwin; supervisor 1979-91; chairman from 1991
Civic involvement: No response
Hurtgen: I have served two terms on the County Board from District 4, which includes Town of Baldwin and half the village of Woodville. I have lived on the same farm since 1953. I serve on Regional Planning for the county and Board of Adjustments. If re-elected to the County Board, it will be District 10, which includes two more townships to the east.
I think I have all the requirements to fulfill this position.
Candidate's Name: Julie Speer
Address: 3014 30th Ave., Wilson
Prior elected office: Elected to the County Board, Troy Township, 1980-1990; elected to the County Board, townships of Cady, Springfield, Eau Galle, village of Wilson and Ward 1 of Spring Valley, 1998 to present
Speer: I have served this area for six terms and currently hold the following positions: chair of Public Protection, vice chair of Emergency Management and Communications and secretary for the Administration and Building Facilities Long Term Planning ad hoc.
The townships have been merged to accommodate the census numbers and the reduction of the County Board from 31 to 19 members. District #10 covers the townships of Baldwin, Cady, Springfield, village of Wilson and western edge of the village of Woodville and Ward 1 of Spring Valley.
I appreciate your support and will be available to help you in county matters.
Candidate's Name: Lorin Sather
Address: 38 Pineridge Terrace, River Falls
Family: Married 40 years, daughter and two grandchildren
Prior elected offices:
Civic involvement: Most veterans organizations
Sather: I've been on the County Board two years. St. Croix County has borrowed and spent too much money. The current Finance Committee has gone in the wrong direction. I hope the new board has the courage to live within its means.
I worked for the county for 15 years and saw firsthand a lot of areas that I feel need improvement.
I'm eager to see St. Croix County operate efficiently and provide the services to its residents.
Candidate's Name: Dave Ostness
Address: 531 N. Pearl St., River Falls
Prior elected office: County supervisor for two years
Civic involvement: Member of Ezekiel Lutheran Church; driver for Meals on Wheels; Food Pantry; city election inspector; member of Wisconsin Emergency Management Association
Ostness: During my first term as county supervisor, I served on the Emergency Management /Communications Committee, Squaw Lake Rehabilitation District and attended numerous other monthly committee meetings to become more knowledgeable in other departments which are very important.
I would like to take this knowledge into a new term as we have challenges ahead: new Emergency Support Services Department, long-range facility planning, safety/ security, building issues and the wage/pay grid -- to name a few. County departments need to continue to find innovative ways to become more efficient. We need to work together in achieving our goals.
Candidate's Name: David Peterson
Family: Wife Arden Peterson; four children; nine grandchildren.
Prior elected office: District 15 County Board supervisor two years
Civic involvement: Cross Lutheran, Roberts, Church Council; hobbies: golf, fishing
Peterson: I have served as District 15 County Board supervisor for two years, serving on the Finance Committee and the Board of Adjustment.
I look forward to being a part of the new down-sized County Board where there are many complex issues to be addressed such as deteriorating infrastructure and ever increasing demands on our Health and Human Services division.
I am proud of our county's high bond ratings as a result of our conservative fiscal decisions. I have had a great working relationship with the people on the County Board and will work diligently for the best interests of the citizens of St. Croix County.
Candidate's Name: Buzz Marzolf
Address: 276 Salishan Drive, Hudson
Occupation: Retired high school teacher (mathematics and physics)
Family: Spouse Mary; children: Mary Beth, Tom, Mike, Anne Marie
Prior elected office: St. Croix County Board, eight years; Convent of the Visitation School (Mendota Heights, Minn.) Faculty Committee (member at large, eight years; chair, two years); Convent of the Visitation School Certification Team, chairman; Saint Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights) Faculty Committee (member at large, six years)
Civic involvement: Grassroots work in protesting the Saint Croix Meadows Dog Track becoming a casino; volunteer with the West CAP literacy program
Marzolf: Having grown up on my parents' dairy farm in the town of Troy, my roots run deep in our county.
Throughout my life I've received so many worthwhile gifts: Outstanding parents as role models, an excellent education, a family of my own, wonderful teaching colleagues and administrators, and -- in recent months -- a good bill of health.
I was taught as a child the importance of sharing whatever gifts one may possess. I therefore look upon this opportunity to serve as a chance to give something back to my community in return for all that I have been privileged to receive.
Candidate's Name: Sharon Norton-Bauman
Address: 1150 Front St. S., Hudson
Prior elected office: Four years St Croix County Board; five years school board, Monroe
Civic involvement: Treasurer and board member, River Market Co-op; Stillwater, Minn., three years; public member, District 8 Committee, Office of Lawyer Regulation, two years, term ends 2012; Ludlow Library Board, Monroe, three years; many years of 4-H leadership; Extension Homemakers, 35 years; Council president, Grace Lutheran Church, Monroe, over three years; Mid-States Grocers Board, three years
Norton-Bauman: I believe public service is an important endeavor for citizens to pursue.
My working years as a farmer, supermarket owner, real estate broker and tax preparer allow me to bring financial experience to the board. I'd like to be involved with current initiatives, such as implementation of a new software accounting system to provide efficiencies and more accurate accounting data.
I'm aware of the need for fiscal responsibility with hard-earned tax dollars. I speak up for my district and the county's well being. These are challenging times, and I would be honored to serve another two-year term.
Candidate's Name: Chris W. Kilber
Address: 45 Heritage Blvd., Hudson
Family: Wife Larisa; one child still at home
Civic involvement: No response
Kilber: My opponent is a member of the Finance Committee and is directly responsible for the 8.8 percent tax increase on my last tax bill. Additionally, her committee brought forth and voted to borrow $3.3 million and has budgeted for every last nickel of it.
I have a background in business process re-engineering in finance, insurance, banking and business. It is my belief that I can help achieve dramatic improvements in the cost, quality, speed, and services of the county. It is high time that we make local government work for us, not us for it. My Web site is www.kilber.info.
Candidate's Name: Roger Rebholz
Address: 114 11th St., Hudson
Occupation: Retired from agricultural industry
Family: Wife Ann; four children; eight grandchildren
Prior elected office: County Board 1992-1993, appointed in 2004, re-elected in 2006 and 2008
Civic involvement: Lions Club, Sparta; 59 years as active member of Knights of Columbus, 43 years in Hudson with Council 1762; presently member of Hammond American Legion
Rebholz: I have served eight years on the County Board, the last two years as chairman.
I feel I have the energy and knowledge to continue to be an active and effective board member. My work as a high school agriculture teacher and division manager at Cenex, a large agricultural company in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., qualifies me to make fair and good judgment calls for St. Croix County, as it did during my working years.
I believe my voting record over the eight years on County Board speaks to my ability to do the right thing for voters of this county.
Candidate's Name: Peter Post
Address: 1718 Laurel Ave., Hudson
Post: No reply received.
Candidate's Name: Clarence W. "Buck" Malick
Address: 413 Brookwood Drive, Hudson
Occupation: Estate lawyer
Family: Wife Linda; three adult children
Prior elected office: School Board 1996-01; County Board, 1990-4, 2000-present (chairman six years)
Civic involvement: American Heart Association, founder and division president 1990-5; Hudson Area Development Corporation, founder 1992; Hudson Rotary Clubs 1990-01; Hudson Education Foundation, founder, secretary, treasurer and director 1990-6, 2001-9; Hudson Hospital, director and committee chair 1990-6; Hudson Township Planning Committee, member and secretary 1982-90; Lower St. Croix Planning Task Force, chairman 1996-98, Partner Team chair 2003, 05, 08, 10; Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission, appointee 1995-8, executive director 1998-0; Phipps Center for the Arts, director 1995-2000; Prairie Enthusiasts, director 2009- ; St. Croix County Council on Aging, Hudson Senior Center 1994-6; St. Croix River Association, director 2009- ; Troop 140 Boy Scouts of America, assistant scoutmaster 1988-98; Trinity Lutheran Church, president 1987-91; Western Wisconsin Prairie Habitat Project, PR officer 1997-8; Willow River OWLs, director 2005-10
Malick: Linda and I have lived here since 1979 and raised our children. We feel responsibility to work for the community.
I advocated the smaller board and want to make it work.
People say I have the specific ideas, patience and persistence to accomplish things in government. Controlling our taxes primarily means controlling the payroll through consolidation, cooperation and cross-training while delivering only essential services. Current high unemployment makes law enforcement and human services critical. Continued cost reduction at the nursing home is essential. The deteriorating human services building at New Richmond needs fixing.
I appreciate every vote and welcome suggestions.
Candidate's Name: Mark Pribonic
Address: 1005 Cardinal Circle, Hudson
Occupation: Economics instructor, freelance writer
Family: Leslie and two children
Prior elected office: none
Civic involvement: No response
Pribonic: While many experience wage cuts, job loss and possible home foreclosure, my opponent and a great majority on the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors voted to increase spending and taxes by 5 percent plus borrow an additional $3.3 million. For many in District 16, the county's portion of their property taxes rose over 8 percent.
I am running because the taxpayers are no longer represented. It is time to make government operate within the means of the people.
Candidate's Name: Daryl Standafer
Address: 602 Helen St. North, Hudson
Occupation: Retired banker
Family: Wife Janice Marie Standafer, married 47 years; four married children; 10 grandchildren.
Prior elected office: Elected St. Croix County supervisor in 1994, reelected since; village of North Hudson trustee since 2009.
Clubs, organizations, civic involvement: Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center - past director and treasurer, Hudson Area Library Foundation, director; Wisconsin Banker's Association, legislative committee; Hudson Daybreak Rotary, charter member; Faith Community Church; community volunteer for numerous capital campaigns, including Phipps Center for the Arts, Camp St. Croix, Y Partners, United Way.
Standafer: My experience on the County Board since 1994 provides understanding of county operations. I have chaired several committees and understand committee functions. I was a strong advocate of reducing board size as far back as the 2000 census and worked to achieve the reduction.
Currently, I chair the Finance Committee. St. Croix has received high marks for prudent financial management, as evidenced by a Moody's bond rating of Aa2. We have maintained strong reserves, good liquidity and low debt. Our conservative approach to budgeting allows the county to operate smoothly in spite of economic fluctuations. I want to continue that success.
Candidate's Name: Curt Weese
Address: 613 Cedar Drive North, Hudson
Weese: Declined to respond.
Candidate's Name: Ken Kolbe
Address: 970 Florence Lane, Hudson
Occupation: Retired federal government/ paramedic
Family: Spouse Barbara, Three adult children, one grandson, two adult step-children and four step-grandchildren
Prior elected office: Town of Hudson supervisor, four years; St Croix County supervisor, two years
Kolbe: Over the last 40 years I have spent the majority of it in public service. From the many years as a federal government employee in environmental agencies and health care with the Department of Veterans Affairs and as a paramedic and death investigator with a background in emergency management. I still provide care on the majority of St Croix County ambulances as a public servant.
I favor improving public safety with an independent emergency management office, improving the County Health Care Center, and forward looking for my neighbors of the county. I will continue to vote against what is wrong.
Candidate's Name: Robert Shearer
Address: 986 Drover Trail, Hudson
Occupation: Regional director for a national company that deals with government contracts; small business owner.
Family: Wife Debra; no children
Prior elected office: None
Civic involvement: No response
Shearer: I am running for County Board Supervisor District 18 because I want to be more involved with local government and how our tax dollars are spent. I feel that as a board member I would be able to manage St. Croix County funds in a responsible fashion. My goal will be to control spending and live within our budget. I plan to operate the county's budget as I would a business. We cannot spend more funds than we have. Only as a last resort will I vote to approve any new taxes or to increase current assessments.