Voters in the villages of Oliver and Superior and the western three-quarters of the town Superior — Douglas County’s 14th District — will decide who will represent them for the next two years on the Douglas County Board.
Long-time Supervisor Pat Ryan is facing a challenge from John Lohse, a long-time manager at Lakehead Constructors now operating his own business in retirement.
Ryan served on the County Board during different stints. She represented the residents of the area during the 1992 benzene spill. After leaving the Board when her husband retired, she returned in 2001 when the district’s supervisor resigned. Since then, she’s served most of the last two decades, missing only one two-year term starting in 2006, after an election defeat, but voters put her back in office in 2008.
“I have the time now, and I enjoy helping people,” Ryan said.
RELATED: About John Lohse
RELATED: About Pat Ryan
Lohse said he offers a fresh set of eyes and is hopeful that he will help find ways to save money in the county budget.
“I think sometimes spending gets out of control, and not on purpose,” Lohse said. “It just becomes lackluster.”
Holding down taxes would be a priority, Lohse said.
“Costs keep going up and I don’t think wages, and particularly the retired folks, I don’t think that they can keep up with the costs that’s associated with a budget that isn’t really, really scrutinized,” Lohse said. “I’m hoping to bring some knowledge to the board.”
Ryan said her priority is bringing new business to town.
“Even if I represent the county, it’s still 'You work together,'” Ryan said. “What the city accomplishes, we can benefit from by keeping the money in our state.”
She said it creates a little competition and draws other businesses in.
Countywide, Ryan said the two big issues are roads and the high incidence of cases the Health and Human Services Department addresses, particularly in human services.
“The county’s priority is to run the county as efficiently as it can,” Lohse said.
Lohse said his best attributes for the job are that he loves people, is approachable and is a “phenomenal listener.”
“I’m an easy-going, easy to talk to person who has a lot of knowledge to share,” Lohse said. “I hate to sound like I’m bragging myself up, but I have the knowledge. When the county has construction projects coming up, buys and sells equipment, I can be quite an asset. I think that’s what voters have to look at ... that I have a wealth of knowledge to share, and I would like to share it.”
Ryan said the reason she is running again is because people have asked her to, and she enjoys helping people.
“I felt it’s an honor serving on their behalf, and I’m glad they feel they can call me,” Ryan said. “I’m very reachable. If I don’t know the issues that’s bothering them, I can’t help them. If I can’t help … I’ll check to get them to the right place.”