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Candidates gear up for local elections April 7

The Town of Richmond is facing a big local election race on April 7.

The Town Board is expanding from its present three members to five, opening up additional spots for new candidates.

Following is a list of candidates and some biographical information about each.

Also, several area candidates who did not have their information printed last week, are attached on the end.

Name: Todd Rehnelt

Office seeking: Town of Richmond chairman.

Age: 38

Family: Wife, Sherry, and daughter Emma, a seventh-grader in New Richmond.

Public service experience: I will bring to the Richmond Town Board my civil service experience working as a civil engineering technician for the St. Croix Highway Department and my work resources with other government agencies in numerous functions. Currently I am the Town of Richmond Plan Commission chairman. I have also served as a member on the Richmond Plan Commission and North Hudson Plan Commission.

Why are you seeking election?: I am running for Richmond Town chairman because my 20 years of experience in construction, engineering and work with local governments has given me the knowledge and leadership to represent our community in a fiscally responsible manner, with strategic planning, community involvement and customer service.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town?:

1. Finding a common balance with the City of New Richmond as Richmond Way is extended, along with improvements to 140th Street and Paperjack being addressed.

2. Extraterritorial zoning requirements, boundary issues and future library concerns with the City of New Richmond.

3. In our current economic environment, future government aids to our town will be reduced. In order to maintain our current levels of service, we will need well thought out, fiscally responsible plans.

Name: Richard Berquist

Office seeking: Town of Richmond supervisor.

Family: I have lived in New Richmond since 1965.

Public service experience: After five years employment with the city police department, I started an insurance agency, where I have been for the past 40 years. I moved into the township 16 years ago. I became interested in town government six years ago when the city began talking about expanding through forced annexation procedures. I am a member of the town Planning Commission, currently involved in drafting a comprehensive plan. This plan is heading into a discussion on a boundary agreement with the city.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town?: The town board will make the decision on how or if to proceed with such an agreement. A boundary agreement is designed to remove the property owners right to object and puts the decision solely in the hands of the town board. Two hundred and fifty homes could end up being annexed into the city without much say. If elected to the board I will not support any such action that removes an owner's right to reject this.

Name: John Dean

Office seeking: Town of Richmond supervisor.

Age: 63

Family: Wife, MaryAnn, and six children.

Public service experience: None.

Why are you seeking election: The subject was brought up by some of the members on the board now that I give it a try. I talked to Warren Bader, and he said it's something where you learn on the job.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town: He said he wasn't sure what the top issues are, except to mention the proposed construction of a large dairy operation off County Road G.

Name: Gerrit Van Dyk

Office seeking: Supervisor position on the Richmond town board.

Age: 61

Family: My wife Pat and I have been living in Richmond Township since we got married. We have raised five children, have eight grandchildren and all of our children reside in or work in the New Richmond area.

Public service experience: Granted I have never been on the board before, but I have served on committees over the years. I am seeking election because it's time for me to give back to the community in which I live.

Why are you seeking election?: I am seeking election to be able to bring better communication to our town residents. There is a need to address the town roads, including concerns with 140th Street for the schools. The township will continue to lose taxable land if property continues to be annexed into the city limits, thus increasing the tax burden to property owners. Budgets are on everyone's mind, and we need to be able to maintain our township infrastructure without additional tax burdens.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town?: Top issues are the being financial responsible to our residents thus impacting property taxes. Roads are a concern along with addressing town hall facility.

Name: Gary W. Knutson

Office seeking: Town of Richmond supervisor.

Age: 62

Family: Wife, Elizabeth; daughter, Deanne Gabriel; son, Michael Knutson.

Public service experience: Westfields Hospital, current board chair and board member for past 14 years; former treasurer of the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce; former treasurer of the New Richmond Lion's Club.

Why are you seeking election?: The township residents will be electing a new town chairman. In addition, the board supervisors will be increasing from two positions to four. Only one incumbent is running for election. As a life long resident of the township, I would like to be aware of and have input in the issues and concerns that the township is facing in the future.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town?:

1. The township's intergovernmental relationship with the City of New Richmond.

2. The completion of a comprehensive plan. The township is mandated to have a comprehensive plan in place by January 1, 2010. A component of the plan will be an establishment of a boundary agreement with the City of New Richmond. A boundary agreement could not only affect the residents located near the city limits but all residents of the township.

3. The transition and working relationship of the new board. The new board chair will be replacing an individual who held the position for over 40 years. In my mind it is important the residents of the township continue to enjoy a rural way of life.

Name: Richard Volkert

Office seeking: Town of Richmond supervisor.

Age: 64

Family: Wife, Sue, a daughter, two step-children and five grandchildren.

Public service experience: Two years as supervisor on the Town of Richmond Board; served on church board; self employed.

Why are you seeking election: To prevent rezoning, annexation and the boundary agreement.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town: Keeping affordable housing in Richmond Township; keeping the rural and community feel of the township; maintaining green spaces; staying close to churches, shopping and medical with lower taxes.

Name: Gayleen Farrier

Office seeking: Richmond Town Board supervisor.

Age: 45

Family: Mother of four, three of the teens are still living at home and attend New Richmond schools. I am attending Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College to complete my business management degree. I have had experience as an assistant manager of a 160-employee transportation company.

Public service experience: Elected president of Wisconsin Student Government for 2007, representing the 16 technical colleges in our state. Student governor of the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical Colleges. President of Student Government Association for 2006-07. Current Vice president of Student Senate Association for 2009-10. Chaired and served on numerous committees concerning community improvement and strategic planning.

Why are you seeking election?: I feel that I have experience in various aspects of government that will help me to be an asset to the residents of Richmond Township.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing your municipality?:

1. Road quality in our township needs to be improved. The road that is in the greatest need of updating is 140th Street. This highly traveled road needs to be improved to ensure the safety of our residents.

2. As our economy is faltering, we want to make sure that the allocation of our property tax money is spent wisely.

3. Recycling is an important means of protecting our community's natural resources. We need to assess and make improvements to our recycling efforts.

Name: David Naser

Office seeking: Town of Richmond supervisor.

Age: 59

Family: Wife, Ardell, and two grown daughters.

Public service experience: 10 years on town board.

Why are you seeking election?: With the town board expanding to five members, I think my experience will help the township. It's going to be a tight budget and I think I can help.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town?: 1. Keeping taxes down; 2. Maintaining the roads; 3. Finishing the comprehensive plan.

Name: Gerard Kriscunas

Office seeking: Town of Richmond supervisor.

Age: 48

Family: Wife, Bonnie.

Public service experience: None at this time. Works at Unisys; computer science degree.

Why are you seeking election?: I'm not running on a single issue, but I'm concerned about the proposed confined animal operation that could have up to 3,800 cows in Erin Prairie. From an environmental stand point, I'm against it. That issue has gotten me active. I feel like I want to represent people who are moving into the developments in the town. I could bring a different mindset and different ideas to the board.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the town?:

1. Confined animal feed operation. Based on our comprehensive plan, that's absolutely the wrong direction to go. I'm not against large farms, but at the same time this proposed operation would generate a lot of waste. I can't see spreading in all on local fields.

2. I want to preserve what we've got started. And I'm opposed to any annexation. Annexation would be a big issue.

3. Taxes. Richmond Township isn't too bad. I'd like to keep a lid on taxes.

Name: Donna Preece

Office seeking: Town of Richmond clerk.

Public service experience: Town clerk.

Name: Mary Kelly

Office seeking: Town of Richmond treasurer.

Public service experience: Town treasurer.

Name: Elijah L. Wayne

Office seeking: Town of Richmond treasurer.

Age: 31

Family: Wife, Shelly, daughter Baily (12), son Caden (6), son Nolan (1.5), daughter Harper (2 months).

Public service experience: Currently serve on the Town Planning Commission.

Why are you seeking election?: I have a background in finance and accounting coupled with an affinity for technology and feel I could help maximize efficiency.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing your municipality?: Maintaining the history of fiscal responsibility particularly with current economic conditions. Working with the surrounding municipalities to establish a shared vision for the future. Assuring the town is prepared for the next period of housing growth so as to maintain the rural charm while allowing for growth.

Village of Somerset

Name: Bob Campbell

Office: Village trustee.

Age: 51

Family: Single, taking care of 84-year-old mother.

Public Service Experience: Fire committee for three years, village board trustee for two years.

Why are you seeking election?: I want to help see the community grow. See more businesses like a hotel, nice sit-down restaurant, community center for the kids. I've been involved in athletics for the last 24 years, setting up basketball teams at St. Anne's and the middle school. I've been able to develop a good comraderie with other communities like Osecola and New Richmond.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing your municipality?: We need to get something for the youth community like a teen center or a bowling alley. I'd love to see more businesses and for the industrial park, love to have a restaurant or a furniture store. It'd be nice just to get some new things in. Somerset needs so many things but we're limited in size and space. It would be nice to get everyone on the same page. Some people dwell on the negative; we need to concentrate on the positive.

Town of Hammond

Name: Tessa Boury

Office seeking: Hammond Township Board chairman, resident since 2006.

Public service experience: I graduated from law school in May 2005 and have years of experience communicating in a straightforward manner. I currently work at a legal publishing company.

Why are you running for office?: As chairman of the board, I hope to create clear lines of communication between the township and its residents. Many of the residents don't know how the township functions because the information isn't readily available - for example, how does the township appoint/contract for our tax assessor? What are the hours of our local dump/recycling center? How can a resident rent the town hall? These are basic questions and residents should have access to the answers. We can easily communicate this and more information by creating a Web site or mailing township news to residents.

If any resident has questions, they are more than welcome to contact me at

Village of Hammond

Name: Mary Rivard

Office seeking: Village of Hammond trustee.

Age: 61

Family: Husband, John; sons Stephen, John and Mark; daughters Sara and Anne; and three grandchildren.

Public service experience: I served on the Village of Hammond Board from 1976-80 and from 2003 to present; Hammond Plan Commission; I served on the St. Croix Central School Board for 12 years as a director and treasurer; SCC Plan Board when laying on the new high school; have been on various church committees and am willing to serve on other committees as needed.

Why are you seeking office?: I want to see Hammond thrive.

What are the top three issues in your municipality?: Taxation; growth of the village; and health and welfare of the residents.