Robert Wedell & George Peterman

District 9 Supervisor Candidates answer questionnaires

The Waushara Argus sent a questionnaire to the Waushara County Board of Supervisors candidates in the contested district races prior to the election on April 3. The candidates’ answers to each of the questions have been printed in full. Below are the responses for the candidates vying for District 9, which includes Town of Deerfield, Ward I, Town of Richford, Ward II, Town of Wautoma, Wards I and II.

Robert Wedell

District 9

(Incumbent)

    What prompted you to be on the ballot for supervisor of your district?

    I have been a supervisor for the last several years. I enjoy working for and serving the voters in my district.

    What do you believe you would bring to the Waushara County Board of Supervisors?

    I feel that I have an open mind, not one sided when it comes to making decisions or voting on matters that affects not only voters in my district but voters in the whole county.

    What changes in the county, if any, do you believe need to be addressed by Waushara County Board of Supervisors?

    I don’t know about drastic change, but maybe a few things need to be tweeked a little. I would take any recommendations to my colleagues and discuss them and come to an agreement that would benefit the county as a whole.

    What are your views about opening Waushara County roads to ATV/UTV traffic?

    I feel IF properly controlled or regulated, use of some, not all roads would not greatly harm anyone. It would bring in some additional revenues to the county. In the western part of the county they have been using some town roads with minimal concerns.

    With the Fox Valley Technical College breaking ground on a new regional center in Wautoma, how do you believe this will be beneficial to the county?

    It may train and keep some of the younger people in the area, instead of having to go further away for their education in certain fields. It could also benefit some other people who are interested in furthering their education. Businesses could also benefit by purchases made by people attending various classes.

    What are your feelings on the board approving to provide an investment of $25,000, which is $5,000 a year over five years, to help fund the Fox Valley Technical College Regional Center?

    As one of my colleagues stated a recent board meeting, “we are already paying taxes to help support Fox Valley Tech.” The $5,000 a year for five years is not a huge amount but could be used elsewhere in the county budget. I would hope that the Fox Valley Regional Center can benefit everyone in the county. 

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George Peterman

District 9

    What prompted you to be on the ballot for supervisor of your district?

    I am a person who continually sets goals and pushes myself personally and professionally to achieve more and be better. I find little comfort in being comfortable, rather my comfort comes from accomplishment. 

    While at the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office (1998 – 2014) I continually set and accomplished goals for myself and for the department. In my personal life I am always evaluating how I can be a better father, husband and community member. In my new role as a business owner (Badgerland Driver’s Education) I am regularly looking to improve my program and offer better services to my customers.  

    As I continue to grow as a person and a professional I feel there would be no greater honor than to serve my community as a Waushara County Supervisor. I believe that serving as a County Board Supervisor is something I am well prepared and well suited for. I have a comprehensive understanding of the importance of this position and would not take the role lightly. Thousands of Waushara County residents rely on their County Board Supervisors to make to make informed decisions without bias. If elected, I vow to meet and/or exceed those expectations.

    What do you believe you would bring to the Waushara County Board of Supervisors?

    Within my 16 years of employment at the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department, 10 years were spent in Administration. During those 10 years I worked with the County Board and its committees monthly. I had a front row seat to the County Board and its operations. I also worked directly with county personnel on drafting budgets, adapting policies, assessing staffing, grant writing and much more.  

    As a law enforcement professional, I had the privilege of getting to meet many citizens of Waushara County. These encounters traversed all demographic backgrounds and granted me the opportunity to listen and have true conversations with a variety of citizens.

    As a small business owner, I have gained new perspective as a service provider in the community. I have the daily opportunity to speak with other business owners in our community and have gained an evolving understanding of what hurdles they face on a day to day basis.  These are just some of the experiences that I would bring with me to the Waushara County Board.

    What changes in the county, if any, do you believe need to be addressed by Waushara County Board of Supervisors?

    There are a few changes I would like to focus on if elected to the Waushara County Board. First, I would like to see the supervisors on each individual committee make a greater observational investment in the departments they oversee. Supervisors need to make time to regularly observe county employees at work. Additionally, Supervisors need to make time to speak to County employees, ask tough questions and possibly receive tough answers. This will allow Supervisors to make more informed decisions on difficult fiscal issues like equipment, staffing and department programs.  

    Second, I would like to see the Waushara County area make strides to attract a retain young employees from both blue collar and professional backgrounds. Many employers in our county believe that retention of good employees is one of the more insurmountable hurdles they face. Employers often feel like they are in a never-ending hiring cycle because, in general, great employees move elsewhere to find work. We also see a low percentage of Waushara County High School graduates return to Waushara County to work after college or technical training. I would like to see the county make investments directed at retaining the great young talent we have in our high schools.  

    Last, I would like to see changes made to the Waushara County hiring process to better compete in an ever-changing employment landscape. Over time employee’s values change, job markets change and technology changes. Waushara County needs to attract the best employees available and not just settle for the best of those that applied for a position. This means that Waushara County, as an employer, must evolve and be open to change. Regular reviews of our processes, employee retention and applicant demand are needed.

    What are your views about opening Waushara County roads to ATV/UTV traffic?

    It is not just as simple as allowing or not allowing ATV’s on the road. Any motorized, or non-motorized, vehicle on the road represents risk. 

    When a decision is made that will increase vehicle traffic, we must try to ensure that every vehicle operator is safe. We also need to look at the impact ATV’s roadway operation will have on our Public Safety community. 

    With that in mind, I would not object to ATV/UTV traffic on our roads if I was reasonably certain it would not create an increased workload to our Public Safety community, that we could mitigate the risk to all vehicle operators, and that there was a substantial benefit to the affected community. 

    Proper information gathering from similar counties which allow ATV’s on their roadways would be needed to make the correct decision; including call volume to Law Enforcement, personal injury and property damage numbers, and the financial impact to the community.

    With the Fox Valley Technical College breaking ground on a new regional center in Wautoma, how do you believe this will be beneficial to the county?

    FVTC’s new regional center works brilliantly with some of the changes I would like to see in Waushara County. An educational outpost that could be used by Waushara County residents to help keep our population planted and offer citizens a variety of educational opportunities is exactly what is needed to create a foundation for the future of Waushara County.  

    Waushara County students, employees and employers will all benefit from the services offered at the new FVTC facility. Additionally, a new facility will help Waushara County attract employers and employees from outside our county. FVTC’s future regional center in Wautoma makes our entire county a more viable location to live and work.

    What are your feelings on the board approving to provide an investment of $25,000, which is $5,000 a year over five years, to help fund the Fox Valley Technical College Regional Center?

    I believe that Waushara County’s commitment of $25,000 to the new FVTC regional Center in Wautoma is money well spent. However, whenever there is a monetary commitment to any outside projects, there should be a plan to evaluate the impact of our investment. How is this investment directly impacting our community? What benefits are we seeing from this investment? If the investment is beneficial, are there other similar investments we should consider? If we determine the investment was not beneficial, we then need to learn from the process and determine what changes could be made in future financial partnerships?