Two candidates made it out of a four-way primary to represent District 1 on the Sun Prairie City Council. The term is for two years. The election is April 5. (I) denotes incumbent.
Hariah Hutkowski (I)
Address: 1360 Prairie Rose Drive
Family: Married to Cindy for more than 20 years, with two children, Hannah, 12, and David, 8
Job: Research assistant/committee clerk for a state legislator
Political experience: Current District 1 alderman for 10 years; have worked for legislators for nearly 10 years
Other public service: Throughout my tenure on the council have chaired the Personnel, Transit, and Finance committees, while also being appointed to the Utility Commission for five years. I also served as a church treasurer for five years. Was a member of the high school planning committee and advocated for the east side location.
Education: Master’s degree in political management from Regent University, bachelor’s degree in government and history from Evangel University, and certified to teach secondary education
Address: 760 Pilgrim Trail
Family: Daughters Suzanne, Michelle and Nicole; son Jonathan; grandson Aidan; granddaughters Maddie and Brooke
Job: Retired Kraft Foods executive; retired Hewlett-Packard executive
Political experience: Campaign manager for Mayor Paul Esser’s successful 2015 mayoral race
Other public service: Volunteerism is and always has been extremely important to me. As a progressive, civic-minded individual, my efforts to make our city a better place goes back to prior to our Sun Prairie sesquicentennial, where I served as chairman. I was a member of the Sacred Hearts Parish Council for a number of years, and was a Sacred Hearts trustee. I have taught ice skating for nearly 30 years through the Sun Prairie Parks Department, have been a member of the Oscar Mayer volunteer board for the past 20 years, taught religious education for a number of years, serve on the Sun Prairie Museum board, volunteer at CornFest, and am a weekly volunteer at Sunshine Supper.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from UW-Whitewater
What makes you the most qualified person for this position?
Hutkowski: I am the longest-serving alderman at 10 years. I have proposed and passed highly sophisticated ordinances like proactively restricting strip clubs, co-wrote an ethics manual, worked on development projects, and the list continues. My educational degrees and professional background in the legislative process for over 10 years also provide me with more experience to get things done.
Stocker: I worked at Oscar Mayer and Hewlett-Packard all my adult life. Mr. Hutkowski has spent most of his working life at the Capitol as a career politician. As a result, I feel I better understand the aspirations of the folks in my district, while he’s become out of touch.
How would you describe the council’s relationship with the mayor, and what would you change?
Hutkowski: I would characterize our relationship as great. To my surprise, we usually agree on development and financial issues — so far. If there is one reason he does not publicly support me it is because I run contrary to his social agenda. City expenditures should only focus on the core functions like roads, police, fire, EMS, parks, and public works.
Stocker: I’d bring less confrontation. When Mr. Hutkowski threatened to block our city budget from being passed because he opposed the anti-gang Community Schools initiative, he showed that his style matches his political party. I don’t see this as a partisan office the way he does. My 43 years of service to nine community organizations demonstrates that collaboration is more effective than confrontation.
If you could reverse one city action, what would that be?
Hutkowski: I accomplished reversing the path to making our fire department a city-run entity about two years ago. I fought successfully to keep it a volunteer department. We maintained our community heritage and save nearly a million dollars a year. We also were able to make the coverage 24/7 and increase response times.
Stocker: I would have supported Mayor Esser’s attempt to add citizens to key city committees so that they can have more say in how their own city is run. The school district already does this very effectively. Mr. Hutkowski’s vote against the mayor’s plan helped block the initiative. In today’s world, I feel we need to embrace inclusion.
— Samara Kalk Derby