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Meet the Hudson Common Council candidates

From left: Randy Morrissette II, Sarah Atkins Hoggatt and Joyce Hall

The April 2 election will see incumbents on the ballot for city of Hudson districts 1, 5 and 6. Though they are running unopposed, the Star-Observer asked them to complete a questionnaire, in order to reintroduce (or introduce) them to readers / voters.

Each candidate was asked the following two questions:

• If you are an incumbent, discuss the committees on which you have served, review any accomplishments to which you feel you have made a particular contribution and share your intentions for involvement during the new term.

• Identify and elaborate on any other issues facing the city of Hudson and Hudson Common Council which you feel to be important.

District One

Randy Morrissette II (i)

Age: 48

Address: 233 Seventh St. S., Hudson

Occupation: Hotel General Manager

Family: Wife Kirsten; two sons, Jacob, 20, and Mitchell, 16

Prior elected offices: 7-term Alderman for District 1 for 13 years

Civic involvement: Past President Hudson Rod and Gun Club, Past President Board of Director Hudson Community Day Care, Past Vice President Hudson Boosters, 18-year Noon Rotary Member & President-Elect, Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce 2002 Chamber Member of the Year, Past Chamber Ambassador and Chamber Tourism Committee, Past Miss Hudson Chairman, Tourism liaison to the city of Hudson, current appointed member of the State of Wisconsin Judicial Conduct Advisory Board, current appointed Condemnation Board member for Wisconsin Department of Justice / St. Croix County, current member of the St. Croix County CJCC (Criminal Justice Coordinating Council), City of Hudson Finance Committee, Hudson Public Safety Chairman, Plan Commission member, Board of Review member, past member of Zoning Appeals Board, past member of Utility Committee, past Public Works committee member, Past Fire and EMS Advisory Boards, Current Vice-President of UW-Stout Alumni Association, Past Finance Committee member St. Patrick's Church, and Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

• I have served on all committees for the City of Hudson except for the Cable Access Board. I have been on Finance, Public Safety, Public Works, Public Utility, Tourism, Plan Commission, Fire, EMS, Zoning Appeals Board, Board of Review. I have been very focused on saving money for the city through meticulous oversight while on the finance committee. Very proud of the quality of our police, fire and EMS as Public Safety Chair. I look forward to the finalization of our new fire station, which is long overdue. I want to finish addressing and fixing the parking issue in the city. Overall help oversee the tremendous growth in the city of Hudson and helping assure its fit within our community. Continue to represent the issues for the citizens in District 1 and the city of Hudson has a whole!

• Being fiscally responsible as we come up to our levy limits, and making sound financial decisions. Understanding the needs of our EMS service and the best policy for sustainability. Finish working on our parking issue and the best outcome for meeting the needs of the parking public. Continue to listen and represent the citizens of Hudson by using cooperation, respect, and common sense! Mindfully overseeing controlled logical growth!

District Five

Sarah Atkins Hoggatt (i)

Age: I am 54 and growing wiser every day. Today, March 20, 2019, for the first time ever in my life experience, I was asked at check-out if I was eligible for the senior discount. I looked up with surprise and immediately responded, "NO, I am not eligible! I am 54 years old." Life is full of unexpected "firsts." This was one of them. I thought that I look younger than my age but apparently not.

Address: 925 First St., Hudson

Occupation: I earned a Bachelor of Science with Distinction in Mathematics with area of specification in computer science, UW Madison in 1989. In 1996, I founded Archovations, Inc, a Hudson-based corporation whose name combines "architectural" with "innovations." We invent, develop and market products that manage moisture in building envelopes, a building's exterior walls.

Starting in about 2006, we grew an invention of mine into a nationally known product in the lawn and garden industry called "Better Than Rocks." This planter drainage material is sold to gardeners to put into the bottom of planters for drainage purposes.

Family: The youngest of seven, I was born in Stillwater and raised in Afton. My roots are firmly planted in the St. Croix Valley. I met my late husband, John Hoggatt and previous Alderman for District 5, in Madison in 1991. We moved to Hudson in January 1995 shortly after we were married. John's daughter, her husband and my grandson are currently in Athens, Ga. They are my everything.

Prior elected offices: I have not been previously elected to any office. I am currently serving an appointed seat that John Hoggatt held. That seat is now up for election.

Civic involvement: I am active on the board of the Hudson Grocery Cooperative, a growing group of people who are working to open a cooperatively-owned grocery store in Hudson, and I am a member of the Hudson United Methodist Church.

• I was appointed as District 5 Alderperson in June 2018, filling the vacancy created by the untimely passing of my husband John Hoggatt, who had served since 2011. I have been serving on the Public Works Committee and the Hudson Urban Forestry Board. I participated in the hiring process of the city's newest department head, Michael Mroz, director of public works. In the upcoming term, I am looking forward to working on Hudson's 2020 Comprehensive Plan. This is a 10-year blueprint for our city that guides leadership and staff decisions. Garnering awareness of and as much public input as possible into this plan is my firstmost goal for the upcoming term. I will be steadfast in making sure that the residents' opinions are heard during the writing of this plan.

• Hudson is at decision points that will impact it short and long-term. Two crossroads are resignations of our finance director and city administrator. I will contribute HR skills as we consider improvements to our organizational chart during this transition.

The decision to keep EMS publicly-funded and locally-controlled is another critical crossroad. We need to find a path that keeps EMS within the city. One cannot predict the future finances of the healthcare system. If we turn our service over to a private provider now, we will never again have control of user fees, deployment decisions or staffing. These decisions regarding residents' emergency care needs will be solely in the hands of a corporation. We can always turn it over to a private provider, that opportunity won't go away. A decision to do that, once made, is irreversible. We can sustain and even flourish with our own EMS. We'll need to support it with leadership and resources, and in the long run we'll be happy that we can call it our own while ensuring residents' needs are met in a manner that uniquely serves our community, not the interests of any corporation.

District Six

Joyce Hall (i)

Age: 61

Address: 1105 Maple Drive

Occupation: Technical college instructor and business owner

Family: Married to Tim for 35 years, two adult daughters, one granddaughter

Prior elected offices: City of Hudson District 6 Alderperson since 2015

Civic involvement: Volunteer tutor for adult learners through WestCAP and member of its Literacy Advisory Committee, formerly a Girl Scout leader and religious education teacher, and previous member of the North St. Paul Solid Waste Commission

• Presently, I am the Council President and serve on the Finance Committee, Public Safety Committee, Cable Board, Board of Review (chair), Public Utilities Commission, and Intergovernmental Advisory Council. I have also served on the EMS Ad-hoc Committee (chair), Park Board, Library Board of Trustees, and Library Finance Committee. I have also been the Liaison to the Hudson School District. There are so many improvements to the city in the last four years and many currently in the works and I am proud of all that the council and city employees have accomplished. For example, the new fire station will be built soon, a new downtown parking system has been ordered and will be installed this spring, and the Waste Water Treatment Plant will be upgraded.

• Ambulance service is an important issue for Hudson and the surrounding area and I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for SCEMS.

This year, the city's comprehensive plan will be reviewed and revised. This is a great opportunity to formally prioritize where the city should invest in the next ten years. The community will be invited to give input into those priorities and I look forward to the listening sessions. The revised plan should include more affordable housing, public transportation, renewable energy, and improvements to city facilities. In addition, I would like to see the plan include a city tagline or motto and a values statement that shows we welcome everyone to our community.