Although the official paperwork has yet to be filed, Jonathan Barry, a former Dane County executive and state representative, said Monday he plans to run for county government's top post.

Barry, who was county executive from 1981 to 1987, told The Capital Times Monday he "will definitely run for county executive," making him the fifth candidate in the race to replace Kathleen Falk.

Barry said he will not make a formal announcement until after Christmas.

Barry said he thought about running for some time, before he "woke up to the fact that I could have an impact."

Barry said he needs to run because of the perilous state of the county's finances, which he feels are being ignored by too many people.

As government shrinks under the new state leadership, it will directly and negatively impact Madison and Dane County as public employees will not only be fewer, but will make less and thus be unable to spend as much as they have in the past.

Meanwhile, the county has $250 million in bonding debt, its budget is $10 million in debt, it has no surplus and there will be no more stimulus money headed our way, Barry said.

He added he doesn't feel any of the other announced candidates have the experience or knowledge on how to handle what could be some serious years for the county's finances.

Barry said he aims to preserve core services, but will not increase spending or borrowing, will take a time-out on land purchases and will try to convince the county employee unions that they need to help the county out of its predicament.

The workers will need to understand that by helping with the county's dilemma, it can help us all keep our jobs in the future, Barry said.

"I will be firm, but I can be compassionate and fair," he said.

In a county that leans to the left, Barry, who served in the Assembly as a Democrat, now calls himself a Republican. He added he is not a Scott Walker Republican, though.

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Barry's unofficial announcement puts him in the running along with four candidates who have already filed for the county executive race.

The candidates include: state Commerce Department deputy secretary Zach Brandon, a former Madison City Council member; County Board Chairman Scott McDonell; Rep. Joe Parisi, D-Madison, and a former Dane County clerk; and Joe Wineke, a division administrator in the Office of State Employee Relations.

Verona Mayor Jon Hochkammer withdrew from the race last week, citing the need to recover from a recent accident at his home that left him with a fractured ankle.

The primary will be Feb. 15, followed by the election April 5.