Local candidates tell you why they deserve your vote April 1
Candidates for local municipal and school April 1 spring elections were invited to submit a letter promoting their candidacy.
Due to error The Report previously set the deadline for political letters as March 10. This was inaccurate.
Political letters will be accepted for next week’s paper. Deadline is noon on Monday, March 17, for the March 21 paper. We regret the mistake.
The only letters that may run in the edition immediately preceding the election are rebuttal letters. Such letters will appear only in the event a candidate can clearly demonstrate a rebuttal letter is necessary to refute or clarify erroneous statements published in a letter appearing the previous week. Rebuttal writers may only address the information needing clarification.
Election letter writers – including candidates – are limited to one letter of 500 words or less per election. All letters must be signed and include a telephone number of the writer. Phone numbers will be used for verification purposes only and will not be published.
Post-election letters from candidates thanking their supporters will be referred to the advertising department and will not be accepted for the editorial page.
Letters to the editor should be e-mailed to Annette@westoshareport.com.
For Randall School Board
It takes a village to raise a child
I love the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a community member, I believe it really does take a village to make sure our kids have the best education our school district can offer.
It is the community’s job to hold our local school boards accountable to make sure our kids are getting the best they deserve and that’s what we’re elected to do.
A few years ago, the Randall community spoke when it elected new members to the Randall school board to ensure that our school district was providing the best education possible, being fiscally responsible, and planning for a future that includes federally mandated changes to education. During the last few years, many things have changed and improved Randall School.
First, the school board listened to the community and changed some policies that were not in our best interests, such as removal of the three-day notice to speak at a school board meeting.
Second, the current school board has made building the availability and use of technology through fiscally responsible means a priority at our school. Technology has become such an integral facet of education that Randall’s previous lack of investment in this area could affect our children’s ability to be prepared for high school and beyond.
To remedy this situation, the school board is now working to build the amount of one-to-one devices available for daily use in our school.
Third, in conjunction with school administration, the school board has worked to make Randall more open and friendly to the community. It is important that the community feel welcome in our school. New volunteer programs encourage the community to come in and help.
Finally, the board has recently had the opportunity to hire strong leaders in the positions of Principal and Director of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum to help guide the school through the many challenges presented by the new educational environment.
The passage and implementation of Wisconsin Act 10 and the Common Core Curriculum have created much higher expectations for our administrators, teachers, aides, and students. Despite budget constraints, we have to make sure that our teachers have all of the tools they need to keep up with these new challenges and continue to support them in all ways possible.
Over the last few years many changes have happened in our school. Our school is moving forward and needs to keep going in that direction. It is crucial to keep the momentum going and elect individuals that will keep pushing forward because Randall School deserves the very best for our kids, teachers, and our community.
I hope you, the community and parents of Randall School students, will continue to speak. I hope you will vote for Jan Brockway and Val Lass to allow us to keep Randall moving forward. We look forward to continuing our mission of increased personalized learning, technology, and community involvement in our school to ensure that Randall School and its students will exceed expectations.
Randall School Board
Jim O’Connell for Randall School Board
I’m a lifelong resident of the Randall/Twin Lakes area. When my wife and I had children we selected the Randall district very intentionally, as do many people.
Our three children flourished with the exceptional learning environment that Randall provided. It’s my intention to ensure that this excellence in education continues to be passed down to the students of today and tomorrow.
As a Randall School Board member from 2010-2013 I demonstrated many qualities that I believe to be very important for a Board member. Those qualities include honesty, integrity, professionalism, openness, leadership, creativity, and fiscal responsibility.
I was directly involved in creating the position of full-time Technology Consultant. We had to be creative in our work on the budget committee to free up that money and ensure we could afford a talented professional. I was involved in the interviewing, and recommended Mr. Adams for hiring.
We worked closely in his first year to upgrade the infrastructure of the school. This allowed for higher bandwidth and speeds, making things such as a better Web site, wireless access, and new technologies possible. I’m very proud of the leaps we’ve made in technology and that work will continue.
I became Board President in April 2011, shortly after Act 10 became law. I stated in my first meeting as President that we would use Act 10 positively by including employees in conversations where they couldn’t go before due to their collective bargaining agreement (CBA). We discussed school calendars, re-wrote policies and created the employee handbook which replaced the CBA. We created an insurance plan that protected the employee/doctor relationship, reduced costs for the district, and in year 2 we added a Health Savings Arrangement which drove premiums down for both the employees and the district. And all of that work was done in open session, unlike many schools.
I brought the concept of listening sessions to the Board in my first year. Our sessions the first two years were highly successful and gave us some excellent ideas. I will re-energize those sessions so that the parents, community members, and employees all have a chance to interact directly with the Board, learn about issues and the working of the District, and share their ideas.
To be a great school, the Board must be supportive of the Administration and work with them to set clear, measureable goals. Teachers need to know they are supported and allowed to be creative and innovative, to drive individual learning in their classrooms.
The Board must hold honest and fair negotiations with employees. These are highly skilled professionals that have dedicated their careers to educating children. They need to be treated as such at all times.
When that is the environment and culture of the school, as has been the case throughout Randall’s history, and given tools including ever-changing technologies, our teachers can ensure students will continue to be prepared for high school and beyond. This is Randall’s legacy and can also be its future!
~Jim O’Connell for
Randall School Board
Tracy Strother for Randall School Board
Rural school districts such as the Randall Consolidated School District are an important part of the fabric of Wisconsin and serve as an essential life force of rural communities. In addition to a school being the center for a community’s social activities, there is a direct correlation between the quality of education and financial health of the school district – and the economic wellbeing of the community it serves.
As a candidate for the Randall School Board, I appreciate the unique relationship that exists between a school and its community. And when elected, I will be open to collaborating with all stakeholders to address issues of mutual concern.
We know that good schools entice families with school-age children to move into a community. When people buy or build a home, a variety of factors influence their decision. For families just starting out, the quality of local schools is a very important factor.
Historically, the Randall Consolidated School District has offered excellent education to its families. However, there are many factors that now impact school funding, and the ability of schools to swiftly respond to changing needs. School boards, teachers, families and municipalities must work together to address many of these concerns.
A stalled economy over the past several years has significant implications to education. In addition, many school districts have experienced declining enrollment – and Randall has not escaped these issues.
While fewer students may allow for a certain level of cost savings, fixed costs and the lack of economies of scale in a school the size of Randall hamper the reduction of expenses to match declining revenue.
My goal as a school board member is to build capacity within the school and focus on local solutions to nurture Randall into becoming a model school in the nation. Our good school can become a great school if we collaborate for the benefit of the entire community.
Topics the Board of Education will need to address over the next few years include:
• Re-establishing a clear vision and mission with measurable goals for teachers and administrators.
• A focus on student achievement and implementation of solid curriculum that sets Randall apart from other schools.
• Instituting a responsible investment in technology to support learning.
• Identifying meaningful opportunities for parental involvement.
• Exploring after-school scenarios to help close achievement gaps and provide additional enrichment.
• Establishing a positive and productive school climate with open communication.
A great deal of the success of Randall School comes from a history of local control. The residents of Randall are proud of their school. As a school board member, I will work to maintain a high-achieving school that provides a wide range of opportunities for our students.
I’m an independent thinker with vision, values, and strong professional skills. I will take my job of fiscal oversight seriously and when elected, I will work to serve every resident, teacher and family. I respectfully ask for your vote on April 1st.
Randall School Board
Valerie Lass wants your vote for Randall School Board
My name is Valerie Lass. I am a lifelong resident of the Randall/Twin Lakes area and believe this is a great place to raise a family.
I am a 1985 graduate of Wilmot Union High School, have an Associate’s Degree from Gateway Technical College in Marketing Materials Management, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Marion College in Business.
I have been a licensed Wisconsin substitute school teacher for 10 years, have a current license in food handling and preparation, and am a certified notary. I have also been the treasurer for Boy Scout Troop 380 and am currently the treasurer for the Town of Randall.
As the Randall Town Treasurer, I have enjoyed the different challenges and knowledge that local government has to offer. I have also been the director of the Twin Lakes Randall Recreation Program for over seven years. The recreation program has provided me an opportunity to be involved in our great community, as well as watching students learn and grow.
It has become a yearlong commitment for me as we offer a basketball program in the winter, a month-long summer program, and a girl’s fast pitch softball team. We have even offered cosmic bowling, downhill skiing, and yoga classes.
I believe that my experience as a substitute school teacher for the past 10 years has been a great asset to me during my first term as a member of the school board of Randall Consolidated Grade School. I have taught at several area grade schools and even ventured to the high school level.
I see all of the great opportunities that many local school districts have to offer and began to wonder why I wasn’t seeing some of those things happening at Randall School. I did ask questions, but did not get many answers and, as a result, decided to run for a position on the school board.
Being on the Randall School Board has been a wonderful and challenging experience that I will never regret. The passage and implementation of Wisconsin Act 10 and the Common Core Curriculum have created much higher expectations for our administrators, teachers, teacher aides, and students.
I believe that we not only have to offer our students the best education, but we also have to make sure that our teachers have all of the tools they need to keep up with these new challenges and continue to support them in all ways possible.
It means being financially responsible, ensuring we are providing the best possible education to our children, making educated decisions, and understanding the entire situation at hand.
I believe that if I am re-elected, the positive changes that are finally taking place will be realized and appreciated by all involved. I am on the board, and would like to continue to serve on the board, to further the process of ensuring Randall students receiving the finest education available and continue their journey to becoming great citizens of their own communities.
For County Board
As a former Village President in Paddock Lake, I had the pleasure to work with Supervisor Underhill.
His insight to assist in an intergovernmental contract between the Village and the County Highway Department to not only save thousands of dollars for the Village but also help keep county employees working threw these hard economic times.
Mike also has the insight to help create the dog park in the county park located in Paddock Lake. Which not only has created more use for the park but has brought more patrons to the village’s business district.
I hope you can see just how valuable Mike Underhill is to our county government.
~ Marlene Goodson
Mike Underhill for County Board
As a long-time resident of Paddock Lake, I have the honor of being represented on our County Board by Mike Underhill.
He’s a neighbor and a friend, but more than that, he’s been a wonderful steward of our tax dollars in his first two terms! He believes that the county board should focus on: increasing employment, supporting local businesses, provide a strong voice for working families, and improving government efficiency.
I could tell you how wonderful of a human being he is, like sending my partner and I a personal congratulations when we were married last year, congratulating and publishing every honor I receive at UW-Parkside, or even never hesitating to hear my concerns over politics, especially when it relates to our County government.
He even helped organize a tree planting in Old Settlers Park to honor our previous supervisor, Gordon West.
Instead of how great he is personally, what about his actions on the board? Mike brought the dog park to Paddock Lake, voted to end County Board health insurance (saving us $200,000 beginning in 2012), has assignments on: the Planning and Development Committee, the UW-Extension Committee, and the Information and Technology Subcommittee. I think we could say that he’s an accomplished supervisor.
I think instead of voting for the opponent, who only spouts talking points and dog-whistles while trying to make this race partisan, a vote for Mike Underhill is a vote for everyone in Kenosha County.
For Town of Salem Board
Why re-elect Dennis Faber Salem Supervisor?
My family has lived in Salem since the 1800s. It is with this heritage in mind, I decided I wanted to serve this community and give something of myself back.
In 2003 I was appointed to fill a vacancy and have been re-elected ever since. Over these years, the issues and problems confronting Salem have changed dramatically. Along the way much has been learned and accomplished and I am proud to say I have played an important roll in successfully and affordably guiding Salem through those years.
Today, there is an even greater need for experienced, knowledgeable representation to help guide us through these difficult times. I consider the knowledge and experience I have gained to be a valuable asset in facing these challenges. That, along with the support and encouragement I have from Salem’s citizens, who are both old timers and new comers, is why I am again seeking re-election.
What are today’s challenges? Plummeting property values, families in foreclosure, lay-offs, jobs eliminated, our elderly on fixed incomes, gas prices, decaying infrastructure, and a lower tax base are some of the important problems facing Salem’s residents and our town.
Just a few years ago we knew what to expect, “rapid growth” and it is extremely important to me that this development does not adversely affect our quality of life, our roads, our sewer or our lakes.
Today, that growth is uncertain and it will be for some time. We will have to be extremely careful about what we spend our tax dollars on. Now is not the time to spend money on things that are not a priority or truly necessary.
I have had the privilege of serving in harmony with Mr. Joe Meyer, Pat O’Connell, Josephine Weidman, and Chairman, Dianna Tesar and with our current board to accomplish much. We haven’t always agreed but these individuals have treated one another with respect and is why we have been able to successfully and affordably move Salem forward.
What has been accomplished? Our credit rating is AA. Financial institutions aggressively bid to buy Salem bonds which mean lower interest rates.
We have refinanced debt and paid off loans so the pay back on our 10 plus million dollar combination Highway, Fire building does not increased taxes.
We have bought approximately 140 acres for park land using impact fees and DNR grants and this again will not raised taxes.
We did not raise Salem taxes for four years and until recently our utility charge for over twenty. We are currently spending over three million dollars re-paving roads, and over a million on storm water and utility repairs.
We have reduced our garbage and recycle cost by two hundred fifty thousand dollars. We’re doing all this and the minimal tax increase over 10 years on a two hundred thousand dollar home is less than eight dollars per year.
Thanks for your continued support and please remember to vote April 1.
Town of Salem Supervisor
For Village of Twin Lakes Board
Andres seeks election to Twin Lakes Village Board and Lakewood School Board
My name is Barbara J. Andres. I am a candidate for the positions of Twin Lakes Village Trustee and Lakewood School Board.
My husband, Ernie, and I have lived in Twin Lakes for over 40 years. We raised our children here, and now our grandsons are growing up here, attending Lakewood School. This is home.
Experience has taught me to listen carefully with an open mind, to ask questions and explore an issue from all sides before coming to a decision. I do not believe in change just for the sake of change.
Neither do I believe in continuing to do things just because “that’s the way we have always done it.” Progress requires moving forward, using what we have learned from the past, applying good judgment and common sense.
Village Trustees face many important issues as they work to maintain the high quality of life we have come to expect. Maintaining and improving the infrastructure of the village, when needed, to provide for our safety and comfort; promoting local business and tourism to keep the village alive and vibrant; using the tax revenues in the most prudent and efficient ways possible to keep the property taxes down are but a few of the challenges facing Village Trustees every day. I am anxious to learn and willing to serve.
Education is the foundation upon which our children build their entire future. Lakewood School Board, along with the parents, teachers and administration has the responsibility to provide our children with the very best level of education. To achieve this education the school board must provide the best teachers and support staff. The teachers must have the tools and technology they need to teach in today’s ever-changing world. The students need a safe, healthy, well-maintained environment, conducive to learning.
The Lakewood School Board also has a financial responsibility to the taxpayers of the district, to use the resources it is given in the most prudent and efficient ways possible.
In small villages such as ours, the burdens of government, all too often, fall to the same people simply because no one else is willing to step up to the challenge. I am willing to step up to the challenge. I have the time, the energy, am anxious to learn and willing to serve in the positions of Village Trustee and Lakewood School Board member.
I would appreciate your support.
~Barbara J. Andres
Matlock seeks election to Twin Lakes Board
My name is Jennifer Matlock. I am 48 and live in Twin Lakes, I have served the past three years on the Lakewood School Board.
What qualities and qualifications do you have that would make you a good board member? My first year being elected I had zero experience but a drive and desire to see the manners and structure of the existing board change. I sought office to facilitate those changes.
The qualities that I bring to the table are fairly simple, I have an open mind, I have the ability to look at both sides of any equation without prejudice and I enjoy math. But most of all I strive to never micro manage my district and transparency in all decisions that we make as a board is paramount.
Why are you running for School Board? This is my second foray into political life. I am running for the school board again because it’s the best hobby I didn’t know I needed.
Most people’s lives are only about themselves and rightfully so. Serving on the board is my opportunity in my life to step outside of myself, my wants, my needs, my family, my career and give back to the school that has educated my daughter Katlyn for the last 9 years. It is my duty and my responsibility to see that Lakewood School is managed in the best way that it can be.
What are the three most important issues facing the district and how would you help address them?
Open enrollment numbers are not always something we can affect change with on a personal level. A parent’s choice to open enroll is just that, it is a personal choice and usually not one that is up for discussion or to actually change their minds about it. As a district we strive to keep technology at the cutting edge and offer a teaching staff that is quite frankly amazing
The facilities upgrade piece refers to the needs of a very old school building that is in need of repairs and upgrades. As a district we have addressed this issue by working with Sherrer Construction and Nexxus Solutions to bring a proposal to the district to address the needed repairs and upgrades.
The third issue facing our district is that historically the parents in our district do not fall within the demographic that actually turns out to vote at the polls. I can speculate on what keeps those parents from voting but I don’t have a real pulse on their actual lack of motivation to get out and vote.
Those parents should know that I personally care about Lakewood School.
I would somehow like the message to them to be that – you may not know me, Jennifer Gail Matlock but I care and I am the person currently serving on the board that is looking out for the best interest of your children’s education and the best interest for you as citizens and taxpayers within our district.