Incumbents face incumbents in some county racesThe Douglas County Board of Supervisors is going through big changes after voters cast their ballots April 3.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
The Douglas County Board of Supervisors is going through big changes after voters cast their ballots April 3.
Only 21 of the 28 supervisors now serving on the board will remain.
Still, few board members — fewer than one-third — are facing challenges at all. And half the contested races have incumbents challenging incumbents after new district lines were drawn to provide equal representation as the board shrinks.
Supervisors Charlie Glazman and Kathryn Schulties are facing off in the newly drawn 7th District; Alan Jaques and Jack Sweeney in the 9th District; and Keith Allen and Kathryn McKenzie in the 13th.
“For the past 14 years that I have lived in Superior, I have been fortunate to have been allowed to work with many organizations within Douglas County,” said Glazman, who was appointed to serve the 14th District last year. “It is important to me to give back to this community that has welcomed me so graciously.”
Glazman stepped up to the post after his predecessor, James O’Brien, passed away.
Schulties was elected to serve the 11th District two years ago, winning the seat with four write-in votes when no one ran for the seat.
“I’m there to help,” said Schulties. She said one of her goals if re-elected is to help bring unity to county management and employees, something that’s been strained in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker’s changes in bargaining rights for public employees.
Schulties, who worked in Central Supply in the County Clerk’s Office said she’s glad she retired more than two years ago, but she misses the work.
“I want to be helpful, that’s the main thing — do whatever I can,” Schulties said.
Glazman, associate dean of continuing education at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, said he brings successful small business experience in addition to financial planning, budgeting, negotiations, analysis and reporting experience to the job.
“One of the things I would like to accomplish is to try to help the county find additional revenue streams to take the burden off of taxpayers,” Glazman said. “We sell our timber to help pay for many county services, perhaps there are other resources we can market in order to pay for other county essential services.”
With reduced state aid and increased need for services the county provides, Glazman said his preference is to find new revenue rather than cut essential services.
Schulties said she will be there for the voters, to listen to their problems and concerns, and help them in whatever way she can.
Jaques and Sweeney both bring to the board business and financial experience, and both were appointed to the board in 2005.
“With my background in business administration and 31 years of experience working with the public, I believe I bring a unique set of assets and principles to the board to fairly represent all people of the 9th district of Douglas County,” said Jaques, who has worked in the family business, Belknap Liquor and Lounge, for 31 years. “I have an open-door policy at my place of business that works well with my constituents for the myriad of issues that arise with county leadership.”
Sweeney also brings a financial and business background to the table. Before running for the board, Sweeney retired as a finance director for a nonprofit.
“I wanted to give something back,” Sweeney said of his decision to run as a 16th District candidate.
“I would like to help develop priorities for the county,” Sweeney said, because the need in Douglas County outstrips the county’s ability to provide.
“Some of my goals for the next few years are to oversee the budget-making process and to guide the county through the challenges of understanding the jail and its budget issues,” Jaques said.
Sweeney serves on a task force that is just beginning to look at the operation. The panel meets for the second time next week.
“Other goals include the development of the Parkland Industrial site into a job producing asset and overseeing that all stakeholders at the county fairgrounds are heard,” Jaques said. He said other priorities include reconstructing deteriorating county roads, and paying down Douglas County’s nearly $6.2 million unfunded pension liability with the Wisconsin Retirement System.
“We have to prioritize our needs,” Sweeney said. “It’s based on the need of the constituents.”
Sweeney said setting those priorities are decisions that have to made, and must be made rather than be left in limbo. He said the county also needs to follow its strategic plan.
Allen, who has served the 18th District, and McKenzie, who served the 15th District for all of the last decade, are the longest serving members of the board to face off.
Allen has served on the board since 1988, and McKenzie has served all but two of the last 20 years.
“I am honest, experienced, have integrity, am caring, and hardworking,” said McKenzie. “I have been on many county committees and through my conservation work have developed a network of those who understand how things get done. I do not give up. I advocate for issues and encourage others to do so as well.”
While conservation has long been a priority — one that has helped the county save money through her work on the energy committee and garner conservation grants — she said jobs and a healthy economy are essential in Douglas County.
“I hope that we can prioritize the needs and wants of this county,” McKenzie said. “I bring a balance.”
Allen has long been pro-people, and favored those things that improve quality of life — jobs, expansion and development — but he also has a concern for the environment.
“I am not just one-sided; we need to have a balance,” Allen said.
For example, Allen said, while he supports the Kestrel Aircraft Co. development, and plans to make sure that the process goes smoothly for the company promising at least 600 new manufacturing jobs by 2016, he wants to ensure a smooth transition for the entities that use the fairgrounds where the company’s assembly plant is slated to be constructed next year.
“I will continue all efforts to ensure that the county moves positively forward with jobs creation,” Allen said.