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Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Blue Mounds Village Board in Tuesday’s election. The terms are for two years. (I) indicates incumbent.

Blake Baxter

Age: 62

Address: 2920 Green Ave.

Family: Wife, Nancy; five adult children; four grandchildren

Job: I work for Midwest Energy Procurement Solutions, which provides buyer representation to schools and commercial companies participating in the Wisconsin wholesale natural gas marketplace.

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Army National Guard

Education: Graduated from Allegheny College in 1978 with B.A. degrees in history and economics; graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1979 with an M.A. in history

Randy Cushman (I)

Age: 66

Address: 10843 Cave of the Mounds Road

Family: Wife, Joan; two children, four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren

Job: Retired body shop owner for 35 years in Blue Mounds

Prior elected office: Two years as village trustee

Other public service: None

Education: Southwest Tech

Jim Frame (I)

Age: 69

Address: 2994 Mounds View Road

Family: Married

Job: Retired UW employee

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: None

Education: Mount Horeb High School

Gary Tree

Age: 63

Address: 10828 Sauk Trail

Family: Wife, Jeannine; four children and eight grandchildren

Job: Partner in general contracting firm

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: None

Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at Michigan Tech


What are your three top priorities for the village?

Baxter: For any local government the issues are taxes, public security and delivery of public services. Quite frankly I have no complaints on any of these issues. I consider myself a fiscal conservative, but also recognize that government has to make smart investments from time to time in order to deliver the services that the public relies on day in and day out.

Cushman: Responsible growth, more village input by our residents for a better community, public infrastructure within tax reimbursements.

Frame: Keep taxes down, keep infrastructure up to date, new village hall.

Tree: To get involved, learn about the issues and challenges and help develop collaborative solutions; to improve communications with the residents; more proactive, leverage social and electronic media.

If you could reverse one village action, what would it be?

Baxter: While I understand that the village has no formal say in the matter I believe that many people in Blue Mounds were blindsided by the large tax increase that the Mount Horeb School District just levied on us. I believe that the trustees have a responsibility for bringing such issues to the attention of the people and making our voices heard with those of other governmental entities. The same would now apply to the new Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission line that may run through part of the village.

Cushman: At this time I don’t have one.

Frame: I would not reverse any prior village action.

Tree: We did reverse a proposed fence ordinance revision. This was the impetus for being asked by my community to run for the board.

How would you change the way the village handles development?

Baxter: Unfortunately I think most rural communities suffer from a lack of economic growth so I am not sure this question is very germane. The bottom line here is that you have to listen to the community you serve and also understand who is getting the benefit. What is the benefit of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission line to Blue Mounds? To date, it seems that the preponderance of any benefits will not be enjoyed by the citizens of Blue Mounds.

Cushman: At this time we have very limited area for growth or development. This could become a problem for our village tax base. We need to figure a plan for implementing more growth responsibly for tax revenue or taxes will fall on the homeowners.

Frame: I would not change the way the village handles development.

Tree: Not sure if this is a change but I would apply the principles I have learned in my business and home life to the trustee role and responsibilities. This would also apply to development planning and problem solving. All stakeholders need to be involved or informed at some level so that a general consensus on the best solution can be obtained before moving forward.