Spring Election 2018: County supervisor District 18 candidates Q&A

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A map of the county supervisor 18th district. (Click for a larger view)

Voters in county board district 18 will be able to cast a ballot in a contested county supervisor race on April 3.

The 18th District includes much of Bristol in Western Kenosha County (see map above). The rest of the district is in Pleasant Prairie.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate, by email or by mail.

Here is their biographical information, followed by their question responses:

Katie Verzal — Age: 44. Village, town, city where you reside: Bristol. Education: Graduate of St. Joseph High School, Kenosha; Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, University of Wisconsin- Parkside; Master of Science, Physical Organic Chemistry, Marquette University;  Registered to Practice, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 2008- present. Occupation: Chemist/Patent Agent, AbbVie Inc. Previous elected/appointed public office: n/a.

Monica Yuhas — Age: 49. Village, town, city where you reside: Pleasant Prairie. Education: Attended University of Wisconsin Parkside. Occupation: Engineering Department Secretary. Previous elected/appointed public office: 2007 – 2014 Trustee, Village of Pleasant Prairie; 2013 – 2014 Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities; 2008 – 2014 Vice Chair, Community Development Authority; 2007 – 2013 Member, Parks Commission; 2001 – 2008 Member, School Commission.

1.) What will you do as county supervisor to advance the interests of Western Kenosha County?

Verzal — The residents of Western Kenosha County and the 18th District can count on me for more fiscal responsibility, sound financial polices and protection of taxpayer dollars. For example, despite recent improvements such as the new KARE Center/Crisis Prevention Center and the expansion of KHDS out into the western portion of the county, adequate services for, and cost of, treatment of mental health and opioid addiction continues to be an area of needed improvement in Kenosha County. We have a shortage of mental health providers and inpatient beds which ends up costing the county more dollars in the long run. Kenosha County government needs to continue to work with the city and area non-profits to address these needs.

Yuhas — I will work collaboratively with Bristol to ensure the charm that is prevalent in Western Kenosha County stays intact. Some development may be inevitable, but future development needs to be sound and well planned to make sure that our communities continue to embrace their uniqueness’s. Considerations must be made to ensure parks, lakes and rural residential livings are ongoing priorities as time goes on.

2.) What will be your top priorities if elected to the County Board?

Verzal — The budget affects both our property tax bills and our quality of life in the county. The Board needs to work together to approve a reasonable budget and cut expenses whenever possible to reduce both taxes and county debt. My opponent, as a trustee for the village of Pleasant Prairie, voted to raise taxes over 27%, even during tough economic times. I am the only fiscal conservative in this race. Another challenge is economic development. We need to balance growth with the needs for increased infrastructure and services, while maintaining the rural character of both Bristol and Pleasant Prairie. Finally, the residents of the 18th district can expect more attention to their issues and concerns from me. Many people have no idea that the County Board exists, much less its function. I want everyone in my district to know my name and feel welcome to contact me with questions or concerns.

Yuhas — My top priorities are: The treatment of mental illness – Kenosha County has taken great strides with the KARE Center which will open in March. This much needed center will address the demand for mental health treatment as well as drug and alcohol addiction treatment. It is very
important that the County continues to find ways to keep the KARE Center functioning successfully and expand the program as necessary to help those who need their services. The pressure of development – Both Bristol and Pleasant Prairie, are experiencing steady economic growth. With that growth comes the need for infrastructure; water, sewer and other services which government must provide. With proper planning, our district create
jobs and build a solid local tax base that will help keep property taxes low, while protecting the identity and charm of our communities. The maintenance of roads – Our county has 258.6 miles of roads which must be maintained daily by the Kenosha County Public Works Department. These roads need to be crack sealed to prevent deterioration and routinely have maintenance done on them to extend their lifecycle. With recent cuts made in by the State of Wisconsin, local municipalities are receiving even less funding for proper maintenance of roads.

3.)  Why are you the best choice for county supervisor?

Verzal — As a current resident of Bristol and a former resident of Somers, Wheatland, and the City of Kenosha, I am familiar with unique needs of municipalities across the county. After earning two chemistry degrees and passing the Patent Bar Exam, I have spent my career as a chemist and patent agent in the private sector. Many years at a global company has given me experience working with a diverse group of people. My education, research experience, and legal knowledge will be an asset to the County Board. Finally, because I only work part-time at AbbVie, I will have extra time to focus on the needs of my district.

Yuhas — Experience. For seven years, I served the public as a Trustee. I was the second woman to hold this position, and the first ever to hold this office for more than one consecutive term. I served during “The Great Recession”, 2007-2014, when hard economic times hit everyone. I kept true to my pledge to the voters when I first ran for office, to be independent and fiscally conservative. During these seven years, the Village portion of tax on the median residential home went up an average of $3.14 per year, which is less than 0.40% AND continued to maintain and provide exceptional services to residents. These are actual true figures and can be verified at the Pleasant Prairie Village Hall. I have a proven record of experience, strong leadership skills, being responsive, fiscally conservative and most importantly, independence. I believe in pragmatism over party politics and I refuse to discount someone’s ideas simply due to their political beliefs. That is why I have not taken any endorsements or financial contributions from any political party during my campaign. The office of County Board Supervisor is a non-partisan office. Party politics should not come into play at the local level, but unfortunately it does, and once again, it has. I believe that while serving a non-partisan office you have to be willing to listen and take ideas from all sides in order to be an effective representative. I believed this as a Trustee, and I still believe it today as I run for County Board Supervisor. I consider the opportunity to serve the 18th District a privilege and I will do so independently and diligently.

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