My wife, Jody, and I own and operate our family farm, which has been in the family for three generations in the town of Hamilton. I also am an agronomist (Certified Crop Advisor) for Melrose Farm Service, a local Ag retailer for over 32 years.
Presently I am serving in my second term as the 24th district county supervisor along with serving in my third term as the Town of Hamilton Supervisor. I also have 13 years (2003-2016) of experience serving on the State and National American Soybean Association Boards (a Grass Roots Ag Policy Organization), representing the farmers of Wisconsin in state and national rural policy.
Four years ago, I decided to run for county board because I felt that the citizens of the 24th district needed a voice that represented them to the county board, not the other way around. I still feel that way and will continue to do everything I can to do so.
I came to the board with the goals of improving our roads, bridges, and other vital infrastructure. La Crosse County ranks near the bottom of the list of counties in the state on spending per capita on infrastructure, we need to put a higher priority on fixing our roads and bridges.
Supporting and improving public safety: La Crosse County wants to create a policing oversight committee that oversee all law enforcement agencies in the county. I support each municipality overseeing their own police departments; it is not the role of the county to do that.
Protecting our natural resources: La Crosse County has a history of groundwater and surface water challenges which we need to address to ensure we all have clean safe drinking water in ways that make sense.
La Crosse County has received nearly $22 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. We were given a unique one-time opportunity to invest in our county and communities with these funds. It is important that we recognize that these funds are given to us by the taxpayers and not a gift from the government. These funds should benefit the county as a whole and not be concentrated within a single municipality. We need to ensure that the projects we use these funds on do not create a draw on our budget after the projects are completed. We have some urgent needs within our county’s infrastructure that need to be addressed before the costs go even higher. We easily could spend all $22 million on fixing our roads and bridges. Using these funds in this manner, doing the upkeep and repairs we have been neglecting, would free up other monies within our budget to reduce our need to continually borrow money which ads to our already high debt. La Crosse County ranks as one of the highest in the state for debt per capita. We need to change that. We need to remember that it is our obligation and duty as county supervisors to ensure the tax monies we collect are spent in ways that benefit all of us in the county without adding more tax burden to our bottom line.
The best way we can create better and more collaboration between county and all municipalities is to include representation from all municipalities including their policy makers on various task forces and committees. Currently the county board executive committee, which is chosen by the county board chair, is heavily represented by one municipality. We need a more balanced approach of representation when it comes to the leadership roles within county government. When we look at the demographics of La Crosse County, over more than half of the residents live outside the city. When looking at creating policy which affects all parts of the county, it is important that all parts of demographics of the county are represented. We need to be careful to not load committees up with like minded individuals as that leads to poor policy and poor decisions being made. I will push to ensure that every voice is heard and every voice has the opportunity to serve.