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Colfax Village Board candidate: Susan Olson

COLFAX  — The April 7 ballot for the Colfax Village Board will include four candidates for village trustee for three open positions.

Colfax Village President Scott Gunnufson is running un-opposed in the April election.

The candidates for the village board trustee positions are Susan Olson (incumbent); Beverly Schauer (incumbent); Annie Schieber (incumbent); and David Wolff.

The Colfax Messenger sent out questionnaires to the candidates.

Schieber had not yet returned her questionnaire by press time.

Olson (who says she is 66 years young) is a resident of Oak Street in Colfax and is retired. She and her husband, Rick, have four wonderful children between them. Rick brought two sons into their family, and Susan brought two daughters. They have six grandchildren ranging in age from three to 14. One son and his family live north of Colfax, and the remaining three children live out of state.

Olson was appointed to her first full term on the village board, was elected to her second term and is seeking her third term on the board.

She graduated from Sparta Senior High School in 1966 and from UW-Eau Claire in 1970 and majored in economics and political science.

“One interesting story about my college years: I attended UW-Madison for one year, and when I wrote a check for $75 which covered all tuition, lab and other university fees, I had never written a check that large before! Later I transferred to UW-EC as it was cheaper than Madison,” Olson wrote.

Here are the responses to the questionnaire from Susan Olson:

• As an incumbent, why did you decide to run for election again?

I am running again because I enjoy listening to the variety of opinions and being part of the group who makes a decision regarding issues. Yes, there certainly may be differences of opinion, but I am impressed by the civil manner in which these decisions are reached.

• What aspects of your background make you particularly suited for serving on the village board?

Forty years ago, I was on a neighborhood board in Illinois whose purpose was to assist young people in earning their alternative high school diplomas. The purpose of that board was to create and or locate services to support these young people in reaching that goal. Often there were young people ages 16 to 19 with more than one child, young adults who had been incarcerated, could not read or write, and had problems finding employment. Again, the Youth Council’s purpose was to locate or create services to help those young adults. Years and years ago, I served as the Recording Secretary to a group at the Methodist Church here in Colfax. Currently I am the recording secretary to a semi-pro football team whose home base is Menomonie.

• What issues do you see as being the most important for Colfax?

This is almost too tough a question as there appears to be way too many issues, all of which deserve attention but don’t or won’t. I personally think the key issues are making certain that water and sewer lines are more than adequate and meet all sorts of codes. Who wants to live in a community where you can’t be certain if water and sewer work only some of the time? My second most important issue is to have streets that are smooth all the time. I have avoided driving on some streets here in town for fear I might harm my car, given the dips and bumps in that street, and I don’t really think I am the only person who has done that.

• What issues would you hope to bring to the Colfax Village Board?

My main concerns are related to infrastructure situations. When I learned about the water and sewer pipes and other underground equipment, I am somewhat surprised we haven’t had some sort of sinkhole here in the village. Related to this concern and other situations where equipment may need repair or replacement, I am totally and completely shocked by how expensive items and services cost. My goodness. I cannot believe these costs, and I am surprised my property taxes aren’t at least double, given the costs of operating the village and its services. Frankly, given the work being done regarding a possible new administrative building and the work being done to create new housing in the village and the work needing to be done to have up-to-date water/sewer pipes and smoother streets, there’s barely enough time or energy to tackle all this. It can be overwhelming.

• What ideas do you have for increasing revenue or decreasing spending?

I have no ideas. I research grants or other funding and boom! Colfax is not eligible as we’re too small or too this or too that. I rely on Scott (Gunnufson; village president) and Lynn (Niggemann, administrator-clerk-treasurer), to locate funding.

• Other comments?

I’ve lived in the Colfax School District for 34 years, with 23 of them in the village. Each year it gets better and better living here. This is a wonderful community with many kind people living here. I felt safe for me and my children when they were kids and now for my grandchildren. Rick and I have talked about moving to Eau Claire but we never seem to reach the point of actually trying to relocate. I have a hunch we will continue to live, shop, and greet friends here for many more years to come. My final comment: Thanks Colfax for being a wonderful place to live and raise a family.