Compiled by Judy Ferber
Reprinted with permission from the Hay River Review
Representatives on local town and village boards often continue to be elected time and again without challenge. It has not been unusual for board members to keep seats until they decide to step down. They may then be instrumental in finding their replacement. This year is different. Board elections in this area have attracted more challengers this year. Let’s take a look to learn a bit about both the incumbents and their challengers before voters go to the polls on April 2nd.
Candidates from this area who are facing opposition are from the Town of New Haven. Boards in the Towns of Sand Creek, Sheridan, and the Villages of Dallas and Ridgeland were without opposition.
Candidates in contested races were asked these questions. The answers of those candidates who chose to respond are summarized below. Photos were requested of all candidates.
1. Why are you running for a position on the town/village board? What do you see as the key issues?
2. Write a paragraph about your background.
3. What is your short-term vision for your municipality?
4. What is your long-term vision for your municipality?
I’d like to thank each of the candidates who participated in this forum.
In addition to the above candidates who will be on April 2nd ballots in the local area, you will find the State Supreme Court candidates: Justice Pat Roggensack and law professor Ed Fallone.
Board Chairperson Roger Hanson is not seeking re-election. Brian Loida and Marv Prestrud are vying for the position.
The two supervisor positions are currently held by Marv Prestrud and Donald Siniff. Neither are seeking reelection to those posts. Seeking election to the two seats are Don Cormican, Jill Huber, Brian Loida, and Rosemary Olson.
Clerk Diane Duerst and Treasurer Laura Ulrich are running unopposed.
Town Chairman Candidates
1. I am running for Town Chairman because I would like to lead the township to the best of my ability. I would try to get grants for road projects, sign improvements, and new commercial ag grants. I would listen to and get information from all town people on issues that affect us all.
2. My wife and I, and our son and daughter, have lived in the town of New Haven for 41 years. I attended local public schools. I have worked at a variety of jobs including construction and truck driving. I worked for St. Croix County Highway Dept as a heavy equipment operator on road building crews. I currently work out of Deer Park on a State road maintenance crew.
3. My short-term vision is to make sure work is done on roads that are a safety issue and adopt zoning that is best for everyone in the township. I’d like to see development in the township and in Connorsville to include a gas station, a weather-warning siren, and expand a playground for kids.
4. My long-term vision is to keep taxes low, attract new businesses, have more growth in the township, and to keep the town exclusively ag.
1. I am running for Town Chairman because I feel a need for service to our community. I have a long history of serving my community in similar roles. The three most important issues I see presently in New Haven Township are roads, roads and roads. We need to find ways to fund road improvement.
2. I am a third generation citizen of New Haven Township. My wife, Mary, and I have been married for 42 years. We raised 5 children and have 14 grandchildren. I farmed my entire career. I continue to farm with my son, Chad.
3. In the short term, we need to prepare for the retirement of Patrolman Alvin Stovern. We also need to prioritize which roads are most desperate for repair.
4. In the long term, we need to build upon the good leadership that Roger Hanson has provided over the last 12 years. We as a board (no matter who is elected) need to look after the welfare of the citizens of New Haven Township to the best of our ability.
1. As a long time resident of the township, I feel that I share common ideals and values with a number of residents. I am willing to serve.
Key issues: Roads, Fire and Ambulance services, and direction of the township.
2. My wife, Pam, and I have three adult children who attended Boyceville schools. I grew up on the family farm, which I now operate with one of my sons. I have a road construction background, having worked in my father’s business. I served for several years previously on the town board.
3. My short-term vision for New Haven Township is maintaining and improving our roads, and working together on issues facing the town.
4. My long-term vision is making as many decisions as possible, locally, with an openness for compromise, and for the long-term benefit of our township and the people who live here.
1. I am running for a position on the town board because I believe if you have concerns about issues, and you want a voice, you need to be part of the solution and not just a complainer on the outside. The Town of New Haven is dealing with zoning, sand mine ordinances, and possibly wind turbines. I want to see the Town of New Haven deal with these issues in a manner consistent with our Comprehensive Plan.
2. My recent background includes being a member of the Town of New Haven Planning Commission, that worked on the mining ordinance. I was a member of the team that worked on the Town of New Haven Comprehensive Plan several years ago.
My husband and I have owned land and lived in the township for 37 years, both farming and teaching. I was a speech and language pathologist in the Boyceville Community School District for 25 years, and two years in Ellsworth. We have three grown children and five grandchildren, all who live relatively close.
3-4. One cannot have long term visions without short term ones. I want to revisit the comprehensive plan to make sure that the community of New Haven Township still believes in the document. Perhaps it needs to be revised. Time and events change, our document needs to be somewhat fluid. Do we still believe that we live in a rural farming community and do we wish it to stay like it is? Are we becoming more of a bedroom community and need change? I do know that many people still move here because of the peace, quiet, beauty and romance of the country. I know that we all need to move ahead in life and make changes. I just want to be sure that those changes are for the greater good, and do not have negative impacts on the surrounding neighbors.
I’m also running for supervisor because I like working with people and finding the best solution for the township, while working with all parties. The key issues are land use, zoning that works for all, land rights for all, preserving the town, and smart growth development.
1. I do not have a personal agenda. I have never run for public office. The town board should be completely transparent. Everyone in the township has the right to know what is going on and why it is happening…not after the fact!
New Haven’s comprehensive plan shows that the majority of residents want to keep the township rural, with just light industry. I feel that part of the job of being a supervisor is to try to carry out the residents’ desires for this town. The comprehensive plan was done so that the town board knew what the townspeople wanted. Now it is the job of the board to follow their wishes!
2. My husband Tom and I spent the first 40 years of our marriage in Clear Lake. Tom worked as a drywall contractor, and I worked for over 30 years as a bus driver for Clear Lake Schools. I continue to work part-time as the bus route specialist and the co-coordinator for their summer school program. Tom and I decided to retire to the Prairie Farm-New Haven area and purchased the former Melvin Erickson farm out by West Akers Church, my church. We raise beef cattle and have a couple of donkeys. Tom and I have been married over 50 years. We have 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
3. My short-term vision is to keep the town on the road to keep BIG industry out. If industry does come in, they need to pay their share for roads, etc. so the extra costs don’t get shifted to the taxpayers.
Many town boards have had to deal with frac sand or wind turbine issues. It is important that if a board member has a personal agenda, that they still act in the best interests of all the taxpayers. This is the job of a township supervisor!
4. Every day a new industry comes along that wants to change the peace and quiet, and beautiful rolling hills of New Haven, and other rural townships around us. I am all for jobs and industry to help the economy. However, I do not feel that should cost other people their homes or the clean air they breathe or the water they drink. We have to be vigilant. Big industry sees our land as a commodity. We see it as our home. My long-term vision is to see it remain peaceful and quiet.