Write-ins line up last minute for votesFive new candidates are vying for votes, but their names won’t appear on a ballot.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
Five new candidates are vying for votes, but their names won’t appear on a ballot.
Mick MacKenzie, Jeremy Peterson, Terry L. Hart, Joseph Stensland and Steven Baker have all registered in the last week to run as write-in candidates for the city council and county board.
Hart and Baker are both running for a chance to serve Douglas County’s 6th District, which includes neighborhoods between Oakes and Hammond avenues from North 18th to North 22nd streets in the eastern end of the district and North 19th to North 24th streets on the western side.
Baker registered earlier this week to run as a write-in candidate for the district that previously had no candidates running, said Sue Sandvick, Douglas County clerk.
“I’ve always been interested in politics,” Baker said Thursday afternoon. “One of my friends on the city council, Nick Milroy, informed me that there was an open candidacy in my district … I figured this was a good stepping stone to get into politics.”
Baker’s father, Nick Baker, is currently running uncontested for the 5th District county board seat.
Steve Baker, however, has a challenger for the 6th District seat. Hart filed that he would run as write-in for the seat late Thursday morning. He could not be reached for comment.
Peterson also filed Thursday afternoon to run as a write-in for the county’s 7th District seat, challenging incumbent Karen Livingston. Originally from Superior, Peterson left as a teenager and returned after serving in the U.S. Army, South Dakota National Guard, earning a degree in political science and mathematics, and working for a moving company and United Healthcare in the Twin Cities. He’s currently a library assistant and student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
“I truly believe … no elected position should go unchallenged, Peterson said. “Secondly, I would hope — not just with my candidacy — but with other candidacies that are going on, the community would get more involved in local politics.”
If elected, he would like to work on economic development and making the county board and its committee structure more efficient so the board could be reduced even more than the 16-or 17-member plan already in place.
“It’s nice to see the interest,” Livingston said after learning Peterson decided to run as a write-in candidate.
Livingston has served on the board for six years, as well as serving as an election judge and volunteering in a variety of roles with her church.
Among the challenges facing the board is the budget and maintaining services, and working to protect the Lake Superior by encouraging the state to adopt the Great Lakes Compact, she said.
With the problems facing the county, the state and the nation, Livingston said, “it’s going to take some innovative thinking.”
Stensland, a lifelong Superior resident and student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, filed to challenge Bob Browne for the 2nd District county board seat this morning.
“Some things have to change,” said Stensland, who has served as a Superior Days delegate for two years. He said his goals are to show longtime supervisors there are other ideas out there. He hopes to work on community growth, economic development and improving the board’s communication with the public through efforts such as district meetings with constituents.
Browne, who was running uncontested until today, was unavailable for comment this morning.
In Superior’s 9th District city council race, Mick MacKenzie launched a write-in campaign against longtime City Councilor Dennis Dalbec.
MacKenzie, a lifelong Superior resident and member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Douglas County Historical Society, said he had contemplated running for office, but his schedule was such that he didn’t think he would have the time. Then a week ago, the retired clerk and control operator for Burlington Northern-Santa Fe decided to run at the urging of friends, family and neighbors.
He said while working with Warren Bender, a longtime friend, on his bid, MacKenzie said he kept hearing from people that no one at City Hall was listening to the public. The clincher in his decision happened when he attended the Superior Federation of Labor candidate forum almost two weeks ago.
“I ran into the mayor and talked to him about ‘no one’s listening; they’re not taking input and they’re not voting accordingly,’ MacKenzie said. “I was very upset about the three-minute rule (to address the council) because I think it’s rude and not enough time to make their opinion known. He just turned to me and said ‘I strongly urge you to run for office …’ That was the thing that put me over the top, and I decided to run for office.”
MacKenzie said he will listen to people.
Dalbec, a retired Superior police officer, has served the 9th District since 2000.
“I found with persistence, you can make changes,” Dalbec said. “With persistence, you can get some of the things done that had not been accomplished before.”
Among his credits as 9th District councilor was successfully lobbying Madison to give the city more than $1 million annually in terminal taxes paid by Enbridge Energy. While the state agreed in 1974 to pay those taxes to the city, it wasn’t until 2005 the state agreed to keeps its 31-year promise.
Dalbec also advocated for improvements in the downtown business district that resulted in the restoration of the New York Building, 1402-1412 Tower Ave., and improvements in the Billings Park business district. He has been a staunch supporter of economic development.
Dalbec is the only councilor who doesn’t accept a council salary. He said he’s stayed on the council because he likes helping people.
“It’s just making a difference, helping people with some of their issues,” Dalbec said. “To them, it’s a huge problem but sometimes it’s just a matter of making a call to public works to get it done.”
Contact Shelley Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (715) 395-5022.