Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Race for Falk’s successor to narrow

The six prominent candidates in the race for Dane County Executive are looking to replace Kathleen Falk, pictured above at the Vilas Zoo Friday, where officials announced one of the zoo’s new initiatives. Falk served the county for nearly 14 years.[/media-credit]

With primary elections creating a battleground Tuesday, a number of diverse
candidates are vying for the opportunity to snatch up the Dane County Executive
seat, available for the first time in 14 years.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced she
would step down from her 14 consecutive year term, leaving many state and local
politicians in a heated competition. 

Dane County Board Chair Scott McDonell, the first candidate to
enter the bid for Falk’s seat, said he is confident in his student support because
of his background.

McDonell pioneered the first domestic partner registry in
the state and said if he passes through the primaries, he plans on defending
his stance on same sex partnerships, which he said is a generational issue.


Having led the County Board for more than five years,
McDonell said he supports a wide range of economic opportunity, especially in
light of Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill.

“I believe in collective bargaining, and this legislation is
unacceptable and has nothing to do with the budget,” McDonell said.

Joe Wineke, former State Senator and candidate
for the seat, spoke strongly against the repair bill. He said he favors more
representation for the University of Wisconsin’s union employees.

“I’m running to defend the interests of this county from a
government that is being punitive,” Wineke said. “This is a direct negative
shot at the county.”

Wineke said students, faculty and employees alike will be affected
by the bill, stressing his early stance against it.

County Executive candidate Zach Brandon, who worked for the
State Department of Commerce, said his track record of job creation is unique
among the other candidates and is especially important in light of the current
economic situation.

Brandon said Madison trails other university cities
in job growth and business establishment. He said economic development lies
with small businesses and young start-ups to create new jobs.

“I’m the only candidate who has managed a large agency with
400 employees and a nearly $400 million budget,” Brandon said.”Lots
of my opponents talk the talk about the importance of job creation, but I’m the
only one who’s walked the walk.”

In a similar take on economic development, State Rep. Joe
Parisi, D-Madison, has advocated for job creation in clean energy.

“I am standing up for students and fighting for clean energy
jobs because it’s important for students who want to stay in Dane County and
work in Dane County,” Parisi said.

Parisi said the first half of the county budget is job
creation while the second half is human services, stressing the importance of
community safety and security.   

Joshua Wescott, Falk’s spokesperson, said the position of
County Executive is an important and dynamic one.

Wescott said the county executive is a key leader in terms
of quality of life issues and a steward of the fastest growing county in the

“[Falk] held the position longer than anyone can look back
and see that she shaped her position on not wasting tax dollars, not wasting
kids and not wasting land,” Wescott said.

Dane County Executive candidates Eileen Bruskewitz and
Spencer Zimmerman could not be reached for comment. 

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