St. Croix County Board candidates respond to questionsAll 19 seats on the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors are up for election April 3, and there are contests in 12 of those districts. All contested candidates are listed, but answers to questionnaires are listed for those candidates in districts in the Hudson.
All 19 seats on the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors are up for election April 3, and there are contests in 12 of those districts. All contested candidates are listed, but answers to questionnaires are listed for those candidates in districts in the Hudson.
Town of Somerset, Wards 1 and 2; village of Somerset, Wards 1-4
Travis Schachtner, 32
Ryan S. Sicard, 33
Town of St. Joseph, Wards 1-3; town of Somerset, Wards 3-6
Occupation: Professional services consulting, including planning, grant strategies, marketing and management
Family: Married to Mark Vanasse, 26 years; two sons, both students at UW-Madison
Prior elected office: None
Civic Involvement: Board of Directors, Westfields Hospital; founding member, Friends of Perch Lake; Church of St. Anne, past member of Parish Council and St. Anne School Ministry of Education; Wisconsin Planning Association; Stewardship Project; Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); past member, Deerfield Board of Directors; member of first Hudson Community Education Advisory Committee
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The people, natural resources, infrastructure and businesses of St. Croix County make it a special place. As the fastest growing county in the state, and with the imminent construction of the St. Croix River Crossing (finally!), we face many opportunities and challenges to influence the quality of life here.
My vision for St. Croix County is: (1) A strong, diverse and growing economy that provides the foundation for a high quality of life for our residents. (2) An environment in which our natural resources are protected. (3) Excellence and efficiency in providing county services in community development, health and human services, transportation and public protection.
I have a long-term perspective. My family’s roots in the county go back to the 1850s. I will work collaboratively and exercise sound judgment and fiscal responsibility in making decisions that are in the long-term best interest of this special place.
Occupation: Owner, Griggs Aviation at New Richmond Airport; commercial pilot; Amery airport manager; former owner/publisher of Hudson, River Falls and Ellsworth newspapers
Family: Wife Margaret Ontl; two adult children; three grandchildren
Prior elected office: Ellsworth Village Board, two years.
Civic involvement: St. Croix County Economic Development Corporation, past board member; founding member of Pierce County, Hudson, River Falls and Ellsworth development corporations; board member, past president, Hudson Community Foundation, 10 years; Hudson Hospital Foundation, board member, nine years; original board member, St. Croix Business Park; 10 years; now secretary, past president, Carpenter Nature Center board, 15 years; founding board member, past president, St. Croix Valley YMCA, 10 years; St. Paul YMCA, board member, six years; board member, past president Wisconsin Newspaper Association; Member of Hudson Rotary Club member, 16 years
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? County government’s main challenge is controlling spending while providing high quality, appropriate government services and maintaining a strong local economy.
I can help by using my experience as a business owner (34 years) and my education (master’s degree in business administration), as well as the knowledge I have gained through a lifetime of community service.
As a career journalist, I have attended hundreds of local government meetings and have learned a lot about how our systems work by observing elected officials and government employees in action.
As a 25-year resident of the county, I have worked hard to create jobs and tax base and improve the area’s quality of life. I would like to continue my commitment to community service and volunteerism by serving on the St Croix County Board.
Town of Hudson, Wards 3-7; town of St. Joseph, Wards 4-6
Age: 56 years
Occupation: Retired; professional pilot, over 33 years; 7½ years USAF, 26 years Northwest/Delta; now partner in small business, Arctic Wild Seafood
Family: Spouse Wendy
Prior elected office: None
Civic involvement: Elder and treasurer at Oakridge Community Church What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The main challenge facing our county is providing essential services for county residents at a level that maintains St. Croix County as a desirable place to live and work, while not imposing unnecessary property taxes or fees. This task is made challenging by the current sluggish economy, high unemployment, skyrocketing gas prices and decreased state and federal funding provided to counties.
We all desire quality roads, schools, police and fire protection provided in conjunction with our towns and municipalities. We achieve this by making wise decisions on how we spend tax revenue. I believe government functions best when it is limited, local and lives within a budget.
After traveling around this country and the world for years, I have found no finer place than St. Croix County and no finer people than its residents.
Occupation: Retired from 3M; former corporate auditor, former medical researcher
Family: Wife Judy Wyatt-Schlei; one son
Prior elected office: School Board member of Twin Cities German Immersion School, two years; Board of Directors of the Germanic-American Institute, 10 years; Board of Directors Chemical Manufacturers Association, four years
Civic involvement: Germanic-American Institute, German American Chamber of Commerce, 3M Language Society, Triumph Vintage Car Club
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The major problem in the county is the fact that we have to deal with shrinking revenues and expanding needs for services.
As an auditor, I will make sure that every tax penny is spent as efficiently as possible and that the county board is held responsible for its decisions. If elected, I will be the taxpayers’ auditor on the board of supervisors.
Other looming problems are the county nursing home and rising human resources costs.
In regard to the county nursing home, I will follow the decision of the voters and the outcome of the upcoming referendum on the nursing home.
I will deal with rising human resources costs by applying my knowledge that I gained as an auditor who had responsibilities for human resources issues at 3M.
Town of Hudson, Ward 1; Village of North Hudson, Wards 1-6
Howard F. Novotny
Occupation: 3M (34 years) technical service specialist
Family: Wife Karen Novotny; three grown daughters
Community involvement: North Hudson Park Board commissioner, six years
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? “Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant.” The statement by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis refers to the need for openness and transparency of government. It was not intended to be taken literally as a call to hold public meetings during daylight or at 9 a.m. on weekdays.
The St. Croix County Board meets while most of us are at work. Short of taking a day off to observe the proceedings — I use the term “observe” since only rarely are comments allowed from the floor — the public must wait for videotape of proceedings to be posted days later.
If the fourth district elects me to represent them on the County Board, I will actively pursue holding the monthly meetings at times convenient for working people. I will also request that all committee hearings be videotaped, as that is where discussions and decisions actually occur.
Occupation: Retired banker
Family: Married to wife Jan Standafer, 49 years; four children; 11 grandchildren
Prior elected office: St. Croix County supervisor, 18 years; currently County Board chairman; Village of North Hudson trustee, three years
Civic involvement: Coalition for the New River Crossing, Executive Committee; Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, past treasurer and director; Hudson Daybreak Rotary, charter member, Paul Harris Fellow; Hudson Area Library Foundation, director; Wisconsin Bankers Association; Wisconsin Counties Association; volunteer for various community organizations, including Hudson YMCA (Y Partners), United Way, Phipps Center for the Arts
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The main challenge is how to provide cost-effective government.
We must acknowledge that governments rely on taxes to fund operations. Increasing demand for services and the cost of providing expanded services have caused budgets to rise disproportionately. As citizens and elected officials, we need to balance the demand for services with the tax revenues required to pay for them.
St. Croix County has operated with a conservative fiscal policy. The county has achieved a strong bond rating because of our prudent financial management. Current policy of maintaining reserves and minimizing tax increases must be continued, even with the pressure of increased population and economic growth.
My service on the county board since 1994 has included chairman of Finance and most recently board chairman. My professional career, after growing up on a large dairy farm, was spent as a banker. This provides the depth of experience necessary to effectively deal with the challenge.
City of Hudson, Wards 1, 6, 9 and 10
Family: Husband William K. Bauman; four children; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild
Prior elected office: St. Croix County Board of Supervisors, six years; Monroe School Board, six years
Civic involvement: District 8 Committee, Office of Lawyer Regulation, four years; St. Croix County Economic Development Corporation board, two years; past-president, Grace Lutheran Church, Monroe; past 4-H leader; past member Wisconsin Grocers Association; Holstein-Friesian Association of America; past member Monroe Library Board; many other past civic and professional affiliations
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The main challenge for the county at this time is to continue to provide needed services to county taxpayers in the face of declining revenues and to keep the tax levy at a minimum level while maintaining those services.
I was elected by my peers as chair of the Administration Committee, which presented a budget to the board the past two years which did not levy taxes to the maximum allowed by the state. We prepared those budgets with cooperation from department directors and staff.
I have served on Finance, Community Development, SCEDC and ADRC committees. I am able to provide experience and leadership on a board which will have a majority of new members during the next term. I believe I have been a voice of moderation and civility and look forward to continuing my service to the citizens of District 5 and St. Croix County in these challenging times.
Occupation: Sales, Swedish Steel
Prior elected office: No elected positions
Civic involvement: Hudson Plan Commission, 13 years; Trinity Lutheran Church, Property Board, four years
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The main challenge facing St. Croix County will be the future decline of incoming revenue from the federal and state government. Counties will be forced to collect higher taxes and fees to offset this loss of funding, or look for other ways to offset this loss of funding in their operation.
This is not bad, as taxation then returns to local control. However, federal and state government should not mandate services and tell us to pay for these. This should be decided at the local level.
Counties will have to weigh several options: Can they operate more efficiently? Will they raise taxes? Will fees rise? Or will there be changes to the services it provides? This is where I feel I can be of service and help.
Town of Troy, Wards 1-6
Suzanne Van Mele
Occupation: Just retired; IT applications developer/ business analyst, 30 years; real estate sales, appraisal experience, seven years
Family: Currently single, spouse deceased, married 21 years
Prior elected office: Current Town of Troy Park Board member, three years; Willow River Owls (Willow River State Park Friends Group), board member, two years, secretary, two years; president, Student Management Association, Alverno College, Milwaukee, one year
Civic involvement: Committee to bring high speed Internet and cable to Troy, member; American Association of University Women, past member; Alverno College Alumnae Association; Twin Cities Oracle Users Group; other technical groups
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? In these challenging times, I’ll make careful choices limited by a lean budget and less revenue from state and federal sources, to advocate for essential human services, preservation of transportation infrastructure, timely facilities maintenance, adequate public protection and promotion of economic/ job growth. My experience in manufacturing, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, as a realtor and home builder (Kenosha) will serve me well in this office.
I’ve concluded that it’s difficult to balance a demanding fulltime career and do this job well. For that reason, I’ve waited until now to consider taking on a supervisor’s duties and to be available to listen and respond to residents. I am humbled that Buzz Marzolf, our current supervisor, has endorsed my candidacy. I am free to make no strings-attached decisions that serve in the best interest of and are fair to everyone.
Occupation: Consulting sales executive, Cerner Corporation; previously ran business units for large publically traded corporations; started and ran two small businesses
Family: Wife Mary; six children
Prior elected office: No prior elected offices
Civic involvement: Coached my daughters and sons in sports; Hudson Basketball Association board; foster parent
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? The county faces a number of important issues, but I believe the most significant one is maintaining the quality of life we enjoy while at the same time reducing or, at a minimum, keeping taxes at their current level. As with families’ finances and business profitability, the key to success is controlled, deliberate spending.
I am running for county supervisor because I believe that my conservative principles, combined with my experience running successful businesses and managing people, will enable me to contribute to fiscally responsible decisions for St. Croix County.
Like me, many people are frustrated with the ever-expanding government and excessive spending. I look forward to working on your behalf to cultivate an efficiently run government while maintaining the great quality of life we have in St. Croix County.
City of New Richmond, Wards 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12
Ronald (Ron) F. Kiesler, 48
Kristy Teske, 33
Town of Erin Prairie, Ward 1; town of Richmond, Wards 1-5; town of Warren, Ward 1
Andy Brinkman, 39
Jeff Dionisopoulos, 34
Town of Kinnickinnic, Ward 1; town of Pleasant Valley, Ward 1; town of Rush River, Ward 1; town of Warren, Wards 2 and 3; village of Roberts, Wards 1-4
Donald E. Schumacher
Occupation: Beef and crop farmer with son
Family: Wife Louise; three children; seven grandchildren
Prior elected office: Currently chairman, town of Rush River, 12 years; Town of Rush River Planning Board, 10 years; supervisor, town of Rush River, 10 years; chairman, Board of Trustees for Peace Lutheran Church, three years; currently United Fire & Rescue Finance Board of Governors, six years; currently director on Military Officers Association of America, Indianhead Chapter, six years; vice commander, American Legion Post #301, Woodville, three years; lifetime member American Legion, VFW, MOAA
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer?
I graduated from Ohio University in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. I served 21 years in the Air Force as an aircraft commander on B-47, B-50 and B-57 aircraft and in both Korean and Vietnam conflicts. I received four Distinguished Flying Cross medals and flew 450 combat sorties during the Vietnam conflict.
I was instrumental in helping develop the Enterprise Area for the town of Rush River and also worked on the county comprehensive plan, agriculture and farmland preservation plan. With my experience working with committees in the county, I feel I will be a good asset.
If elected to the board, I desire to work on these committees: administration, community development or public protection. I feel one of the main challenges is unregulated urban development in prime agriculture areas. The majority of people living in our rural areas desire to maintain as much open space and green areas as possible.
Family: Wife of 50 years, Arden Peterson; four children
Prior elected office: District 15 supervisor, St. Croix County Board, 2008-2010
Clubs, civic involvement: Active member of Cross Lutheran Church, Roberts; three terms as treasurer on Church Council; volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
What do you see as the main challenge facing the county at this time, and what help can you offer? I see three main challenges:
—Many county buildings are very old and will soon need to be replaced or renovated. We have a good opportunity to use energy efficient policies when considering replacement or renovation.
—Many county roads are deteriorating and need repair. With the rapidly rising costs of petroleum-related products used for road repair, as well as fuel, we will have to work diligently to keep costs down.
—Our county’s rapid growth will take off again as the economy begins to recover, which will bring increased pressure on our health and human services division. With population growth, we will also have to be proactive for our environment with recycling ordinances, zoning ordinances and other areas to protect our land, air and waters.
I worked with these issues in 2008-2010 when I served on the Finance Committee and can bring that experience and knowledge to good use.
Towns of Cylon, Emerald, Forest and Glenwood City; village of Deer Park; Glenwood City, Wards 1 and 2
Alfred W. Schrank, 70
Town of Baldwin, Ward 2; Village of Baldwin, Wards 1-6
Phillip Van Someren, 61
Duane Russett, 59
Towns of Cady, Eau Galle and Springfield; villages of Wilson and Woodville; village of Spring Valley, Ward 3
Roger Bauer, 60
William Peavey, 63