COLFAX — All together, six candidates for three positions were nominated at the caucus for the Town of Howard on January 24 to appear on the ballot in the April 7 election.
Vernon J. Schindler, incumbent, was nominated for chair of the town board, and Jeff Bennesch also was nominated for chair.
Incumbent supervisors Tom Zwiefelhofer and Dennis Dvorcek were nominated, along with Christian Rushmann and Todd Wanish.
Rushmann, 45, is a resident of 50th Street. He and his wife, Laura, have a daughter, Katie.
He is a Senior Media Support Services Engineer for the Northwestern Wisconsin Region of Mayo Clinic Health System.
The Colfax Messenger sent out questionnaires to the candidates.
Here are Rushmann’s answers to the questions.
• Where have you lived other than the Town of Howard (if anywhere else)?
I grew up in Chippewa Falls and attended UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire. I lived in Eau Claire from 1992 to 2007 and have lived in the township of Howard since 2007.
• What is your educational background?
I graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Science in Degree in Media Technology and a minor in Political Science in 1993.
• Why did you decide to run for the Howard Town Board?
I was asked to run by my neighbors in 2013 and came up short by 10 votes. I was asked to run again this year as well.
• What about your background makes you particularly suited to serve on the town board?
I have an interest in politics and believe in the civic responsibility of citizens to serve the public good. I have worked on various political campaigns in the Chippewa Valley since 2005 and would like to give back to my community as an elected official.
• What do you believe to be the biggest challenges or issues for the Town of Howard?
I believe the biggest issue facing the Township of Howard is the inability to maintain the civil discourse between neighbors brought on by the advent on non-metallic mining. With mines already operating in the township and the failure to enact zoning laws to regulate land usage, the town board’s only legal responsibilities are to keep the citizens of Howard informed and to be vigilant ensuring that the various mining companies are holding up their ends of their agreements, local and state regulations and remaining good corporate neighbors. If the mining companies show they cannot do this, then the board should seek legal recourse for its constituents.
• What ideas do you have for increasing revenue or decreasing spending?
At a previous job, I covered contentious street, sidewalk and municipal construction projects appearing before the Eau Claire City Council. After sitting through various meetings for six or seven hours at a time, it became clear that many people only want a service until it comes time to pay for it. Sometimes things are necessary despite objections. Sometimes they are not. I cannot promise that if elected that I will never vote for a project or to possibly increase taxes to pay for them. All I can promise is that I will be responsible with the citizens of Howard’s checkbook, to only use it when necessary and to always get as much value as possible from its use. That is all any (and every) Government entity should do.
• Why are you the best candidate for a seat on the Howard Town Board?
Every now and again, things need a fresh start. This includes our governmental bodies. The reason I am the best candidate for Town Board Supervisor for Howard is that I have no vested interest to past policies or past decisions. I do not promise that I will change things for the sake of change, nor keep them the same simply because that is the way things have always been done here. I only promise to look at the issues of our Township with a fresh set of eyes and to listen to all of my fellow citizens concerns with a fresh set of ears. If you believe that our current Town Board is dysfunctional, believe that it can do a better job at meeting the town’s needs, or that it is simply time for a change then cast your vote for me.