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Partisan primary election held Aug. 14
Kate Findley and Duane Jorgenson face off in district attorney race.

The election, held Tuesday, Aug. 14, is a partisan election where voters will be asked to vote by political party for the November general election.
The polling places will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
The only local contested race on the ballot will be the Lafayette County District Attorney race where Kate Findley and Duane Jorgenson are both running under the Democratic ticket. The current district attorney, Charlotte Doherty, is not seeking re-election for the 2013-17 term. She has been the district attorney for 20 years.
See the candidate profiles at right for more information about the district attorney candidates.

Two face off in district attorney race

Name: Kate Findley
Address: Darlington
A brief family background: My husband, Brian, and I are both pastor’s kids. My father is a retired Lutheran minister and my mother is a retired business woman. Brian’s father was a Methodist minister and his mom is a retired social worker. Brian is also an attorney who specializes in criminal and juvenile law appeals. We have been married for 10 years. We enjoy living in Darlington.
Detail your background and why you are seeking the position of district attorney in Lafayette County:
The entire focus of my career has been the practice of criminal law. My education is:
n Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies from Milwaukee Area Technical College
n Bachelor’s Degree from U.W. – Milwaukee
n Law Degree (Juris Doctor) from University of Miami School of Law
When I returned to Wisconsin I took, and passed, the Wisconsin Bar Examination.
My work experience as an attorney includes:
n Assistant state public defender in Manitowoc and Calumet counties
n Assistant Clinical Professor at UW-Madison Law School in the Legal Defense Program and Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons Program for nearly 10 years while also handling criminal trial and appellate cases throughout the state.
n Attorney Manager for the State Public Defender’s Office in Lafayette and Green counties
I am seeking the position of district attorney because I believe in the law. I am the best qualified candidate for the position and I know I have the abilities to keep Lafayette County a safe place to live. I believe that partisan politics has no place in the administration of justice. A district attorney takes an oath of office to uphold the laws of the state, and the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought, and what do you feel you have to offer?
Currently, I am an attorney manager for the State Public Defender’s Office and I am the public defender in Lafayette County. Prior to that I was an Assistant Clinical Professor at UW Law School where I taught law students how to represent real clients in criminal court. Additionally, I had a private criminal law practice. One of the special attributes I have is that I’ve practiced criminal law in more than 23 counties in Wisconsin. This gives me insight into what practices are state of the art or outdated, and the experience to know that I will be ready to be the District Attorney on day one.
The people of Lafayette County need a district attorney who will work with law enforcement agencies throughout the county to defend and protect their homes, their families, and their safety.

In general, what changes would you be making if you became district attorney?
Our current district attorney, Charlotte Doherty, and her staff have done a great job in working tirelessly to make Lafayette County a safe place.
In many counties, juvenile non-criminal cases called CHIPS (child/.children in need of protection and services) and JIPS (juvenile in need of protection and services) are handled by the district attorney’s office. In Lafayette County, these cases are contracted out to a local attorney. It’s possible it could be a cost savings for the county to have the district attorney’s office handling these cases rather than contracting them out. 
However, any changes should not impinge on the first job of any district attorney’s office, to prosecute criminal activity.

What do you believe to be the biggest challenge as the district attorney?
There are three challenges that every district attorney must meet. First, to keep current with the law so that her advocacy is competent. Criminal law is a constantly changing area of law. The DA must keep current with case decisions released by the state and federal appellate courts, changes made to the state statutes by the legislature, procedural changes made by the WI Supreme Court, advances and changes in forensic science and evidence gathering practices, and changes in policing practices.
Second, the district attorney must be able to work well with area law enforcement, victim/witness coordinators, and other court personnel.
Third, the district attorney must have the ability to deal with changing crime patterns while keeping her perspective on the need to protect society and being prepared to respond 24-7 to any serious developments that require her legal expertise. Keeping all three of these balls in the air at the same time is the biggest challenge of a District Attorney.
In addition to that, the district attorney of Lafayette County has additional challenges in that it is one of 10 counties in the state that has only one prosecutor in its District Attorney’s Office. This means that this one attorney is responsible for all pre-charging activities, providing advice to law enforcement, all court appearances, legal research, drafting of complaints, preparation of victims and witnesses, preparation of cases for trial, and preparation for sentencing. I am at the stage in my personal and professional life to be available to perform all duties at all times for the citizens of Lafayette County.
I firmly believe that I am best qualified for the office of the district attorney because I have the necessary specialized knowledge and expertise this job requires. I’ve handled cases that cover the broad spectrum of crimes, from minor disorderly conduct charges to attempted homicide. I have a reputation for doing my homework and getting things done in a timely manner.
There have been massive changes in case law, the state statutes, forensic science, the prosecution of sexual predators and sentencing law in Wisconsin in the past 15 years and I’ve kept abreast of these changes.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Lafayette County?
I believe the most important issues facing our county are economic development and retention of our young citizens through job opportunities. Economic growth also tends to have a positive effect on lowering the crime rate.
I believe in the coming years, the biggest challenge facing the Lafayette County District Attorney’s Office will be dealing with the increasingly violent crimes that are fueled by drugs and alcohol while having less staff and budget to cope with the problem compared to other counties.

What are you interests in county government?
I believe that county government should work efficiently and cooperatively for the people of Lafayette County so that this county remains a safe place to live, work, and play.

Please feel free to add any additional comments/ideas here:
The duty of a district attorney is “to seek to promote public peace and safety by just and vigorous prosecution; to seek and to do impartial justice by ensuring that the guilty are punished and the innocent go free; to protect the health and welfare of children who are victims of child abuse and neglect; and to safeguard the rule of law and to promote citizens’ participation in law enforcement by treating all persons who come in contact with the criminal justice system with fairness, dignity, and respect.” (Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association.)
The people of Lafayette County have a choice in the upcoming primary election. I have 10 years of criminal law experience in Lafayette County compared to my opponent who has hardly handled any criminal cases. The district attorney’s office is pivotal in the success of our county’s law enforcement. It is important that the office be held by someone who knows criminal law; a person who feels confident in their decision to execute the state statutes; and a person who is available 24/7 to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. District Attorney Charlotte Doherty and Sheriff Scott Pedley have both publicly endorsed my candidacy because they know I am the best candidate for the position. I have been fortunate to receive bi-partisan support, in a world that effective, bi-partisan collaboration is the exception instead of the norm.

Name: Duane M. Jorgenson
Address: Rural Darlington
A brief family background: Wife-Liz (Elizabeth)
Children-Duane Jr. (Dewey) Jorgenson, 33, with wife, Tina, and children Angelina, Jacob and Bo; and Becky Jorgenson Friedrich, 30, with husband, Kyle, and children Bradley, Paige, Ethan and Addison; Matthew Jorgenson, 19, attending UW-Platteville; and Amy Jorgenson, 18, will be attending Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee in the fall where she’ll play basketball.
All four of my children went to Darlington to school, all graduating from Darlington High School. Dewey graduated from UW-Platteville. Becky is attending Black Hawk Tech.
Detail your background and why you are seeking the position of District Attorney in Lafayette County:
Education: 1970 graduate of Darlington High School; 1974 graduate of Valparaiso University with a bachelor of science degree in political science and education; 1991 graduate of Northern Illinois University College of Law
Work experience: trial attorney for 21 years; 21 years of practicing law in Lafayette County and 18 years as corporation counsel for Lafayette County.
Prior to attending law school I farmed in the town of Wiota for 12 years. I have been a lifetime resident of Lafayette County. I was raised here. My children were all born and grew up here.

What qualifications do you have for the position sought, and what do you feel you have to offer?
My strongest qualification for being district attorney is 21 years as a trial attorney in Lafayette County, including 18 years as Lafayette County Corporation Counsel. I have tried a variety of cases, including many criminal law cases. I have chosen not to concentrate on criminal matters only, as other areas of the law greatly impact the criminal justice system as well. I have had experience and success at the appellate level, having won cases in the Court of Appeals and in Wisconsin Supreme Court. I am the only candidate with extensive experience as a prosecutor.
Beyond my extensive legal experience and varied background, my knowledge of the community and the people who live here are another of my strongest qualifications. I was born and raised on a dairy farm near Wiota. I learned the value of hard work from parents who worked hard every day, and never complained. They expected to work hard, their value as a person was judged by their hard work and valued anyone who worked hard as did their parents. I have taken that lesson to heart and live it as well. My wife and I were married here. We have raised our children here. Our children attended school and church here. My family has been involved in the variety of activities of school, community and church, such as athletics, 4-H and Scouting. My lifelong relationship with Lafayette County has afforded me a very clear view of what the residents of Lafayette County want from their district attorney. And I will do my best to carry out that vision.

In general, what changes would you be making if you became District Attorney?
I do not believe drastic changes are needed in how the district attorney’s office functions. The changes would primarily be a reflection of my approach to the job and the professional competence and judgment I can bring to the job.

What do you believe to be the biggest challenge as the District Attorney?
The biggest challenge as district attorney is to be both tough and fair, while making sure those who commit crimes are consistently held accountable for their actions. That starts with professional competence and taking care of the business in court. Once convicted, the district attorney must be tough so criminals know there is a price to be paid for their bad behavior. Also, the district attorney needs to be fair and consistent. The punishment must fit the crime. The district attorney speaks for the victims of crimes and represents the people of Lafayette County. Criminal activity can range from vicious violence to bad checks. That can mean as district attorney you are doing what it takes to send a violent offender to prison or making an offender make restitution for the damage and harm they have done. At the same time, the message must be to others who would break the law; their criminal behavior will not be tolerated. The balancing of those interests often rests with the reasoned judgment of the district attorney. For that reason it is important the district attorney comes from Lafayette County. A person who understands and appreciates the people who live here.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing Lafayette County?
All of my life, Lafayette County has been one of the safest places anyone could be fortunate to live. Many people leave their car and homes unlocked. Over the past 20 years we have seen our population gradually age and unfortunately many of our younger population leave. At the same time we have seen a declining population and a shrinking tax base. As our population ages the population declines, we are seeing declining enrollments in our schools, making it increasingly more difficult to maintain a competitive edge in teaching and raising our children. The vast majority of our seniors who are unable to work, live in poverty, and approximately 40 percent of our children in the county live in poverty. Poverty means our residents have become increasingly vulnerable. They become more vulnerable to criminal activity and exploitation. Poverty makes our residents more susceptible to getting involved with alcohol and drugs, increased susceptibility to mental illness and criminal activity. While our community has always taken pride in how safe Lafayette County is, with all of these factors developing that safety could quickly erode. This simply cannot be allowed to happen. Our criminal justice system needs to be proactive in prevention and reactive when crime occurs.

What are your interests in county government?
I have been working as Lafayette County Corporation Counsel for 18 years. During that time I am proud of the efforts we have made to protect our children and our vulnerable adults in our community. We must be sure to protect those that are the least able to protect themselves, whether they are young or old.

Please feel free to add any additional comments/ideas here at this time:
The job of district attorney is difficult. The district attorney must be very tough on violent criminals and sexual predators to protect the community, and the peace loving and law abiding citizens of Lafayette County. Once convicted the punishment needs to be consistent, fit the crime and make the person accountable for his or her action. To be able to do that, the district attorney must know the community and the people he is serving.