The Dane County Board can expect turnover in the spring election with several supervisors, including longtime members of the body, declaring their intent not to run for re-election.
As of Dec. 11, nine supervisors have decided not to seek another term. There are nine new hopeful Board candidates. Two races are contested and only one of them includes an incumbent being challenged.
Noting three supervisors who left mid-term, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said the change in leadership is “dramatic.”
“The turnover of leadership and experience is significant,” McDonell said. “The board has really lost a lot over the last couple of years.”
At the beginning of the year, three supervisors — Mary Kolar, Jeff Pertl and Jenni Dye — left the board to work for Gov. Tony Evers’ administration. All three had served in leadership positions while representing Dane County.
Those not running for re-election include 10-year member Sharon Corrigan, who represents District 26 and has served as chair for the last six years. Longtime member Supervisor Bob Salov, who was first elected in 1996, will not be running for re-election.
“I’m leaving on a very positive note,” Salov said. “I’m so thankful I was allowed to have the opportunity to help people with their vision for their communities and their projects.”
District 9 Supervisor Paul Nelson, who has served on the board for six years, and nine-year veteran Supervisor Bill Clausius, who represents District 19, are not running. Supervisors Hayley Young, District 5; Kelly Danner, District 11; Tanya Buckingham, District 24; Nikki Jones, District 28; and Jason Knoll, District 32, are also not running for re-election.
The deadline to file for non-candidacy is Dec. 27, and all candidates must submit election paperwork by Jan. 7. The 2020 spring primary is on Feb. 18, with the spring election on April 7.
Nelson, who is first vice chair of the board, recognized leadership potential in many of the newer members on the board who are running for another term. He said he will be interested in watching the “evolution” of the board.
“I have no concern that with Sharon leaving and myself as first vice chair leaving that there will be a vacuum,” Nelson said. “The board is in a good position right now.”
As of Dec. 11, new candidates running for the Dane County Board include:
- Elena Haasl and José Rea for District 5
- Richelle Andrae for District 11
- Anthony Gray for District 14
- Teran Peterson for District 19
- Sarah Smith for District 24
- Holly Hatcher for District 26
- Todd Kluever for District 31. He will be challenging the incumbent supervisor, Jerry Bollig.
- Mike Bare for District 32
Kluever currently works for the county’s highway department but said he plans to retire in March.
“I’ve been in the county system for quite some time,” Kluever said. “I think I have more to give.”
Dane Dems Chair Alexia Sabor said the area features an “abundance of riches” in terms of interested and qualified candidates.
“I think there’s good people interested in stepping up,” Sabor said. “Particularly in Madison, particularly in the last few years after the last presidential election, there’s no shortage of people who want to step up and do these jobs.”
For some of the potential newcomers, such as Bare, the vacancies on the board influenced their decision to run.
Bare is running for District 32, representing Verona, and wants to focus on the county’s growth, if elected. He is a small business owner who co-owns the Biergarten at Olbrich Park, a former alder for the city of Verona and currently serves on two commissions for the city.
“The county is developing fast, which is good, but we have to be careful and ensure that transportation infrastructure keeps up, we protect the environment along the way, that we have affordable and high quality housing available to anyone regardless of age or income or any background,” Bare said.
Others, like Smith, feel millenials need to start making decisions in local government. Smith is a communications director for Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, and is currently a member of the city of Monona’s Sustainability Committee.
“Millenials are going to be the biggest voting block for years to come, and I think it’s really important we start to hold elected office,” Smith, 27, said.
Making sure more young people can hold office prompted Young, who represents a younger constituency on UW-Madison’s campus, not to run for re-election. Young said she had always planned to only serve for two terms.
“This is the only majority student seat on the board, and it’s really important to pass the baton,” Young said. “If you don’t, you’re not going to have that representation.”
Haasl is a UW-Madison student and currently serves as the diversity caucus chair for the College Democrats of Wisconsin. Rea is the current vice chair for the county’s Equal Opportunities Commission and previously ran for the District 14 seat on the Madison City Council.