For the third consecutive year, City of Platteville voters will get three choices for a Common Council at-large seat.
Darrel Browning is running in his third consecutive election with newcomers Katherine Burk and Jeremy Johnson to replace retiring at-large Ald. Mike Denn. The top two vote-getters will advance to the April 5 general election, where the winner will serve a three-year term.
The Platteville Journal and the Platteville Main Street Program will host a candidate forum for the three candidates for the Platteville Common Council at-large seat in the Municipal Building council chambers Monday at 7 p.m.
Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, Feb. 15 at noon.
The candidate forum can also be viewed on Centurylink channel 36, and will be available on the city’s YouTube channel, PlattevilleWISC.
Browning, the owner of Browning Motors, describes himself as “a lifelong businessman with enough business sense to assist the council in its duties.” He said he is running to “make Platteville the best city to live and work in through cooperation and addressing all the needs of the citizens of Platteville.”
Burk, 30, is a planner/GIS specialist for the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
“I chose to move to Platteville two years ago for my career. I met Dustin, my fiancé, in Platteville. We plan to stay in Platteville to start and raise our family. I have always been involved with community organizations. I am running for at-large city council to be involved with guiding the future development of our community. As a regional planner at Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, I understand the current state of our community and no stranger to working with local government.”
Johnson, 41, owns Diesel Doctor.
“I like to be involved and believe that my knowledge can help guide the city in a positive direction,” he said. “I feel I have the ability to view all sides of issues and develop a logical and practical solution.”
Browning’s top two issues are tied to each other — economic development and infrastructure.
“When a city is first in infrastructure, people with high skill levels move to Platteville,” he said. “This in turn makes businesses profitable and attracts new businesses. This creates jobs that makes Platteville economically grow.
“Therefore, our biggest challenge facing our city is to rebuild its infrastructure. We have 100-year-old water mains that will soon need to be replaced. We don’t want to wait to make these repairs and have similar problems that the city of Flint, Mich., is having with lead in our water.”
Johnson also sees economic development as a major issue.
“We need to generate a larger tax base by recruiting more business to our industrial park,” he said. “These need to be business that will bring more jobs to our community and in turn enable more residents to own houses in our community.”
Browning also said the city needs to “do more with less. For example, it is cheaper to sublet a job than to hire a part-time employee.”
“We need to become more fiscally responsible, in effort of keeping our budget as low as possible and keeping our taxes manageable,” said Johnson.
Johnson also sees parking throughout the city as a major issue.
“We need keep control of our parking, not just downtown but all over the city,” he said. “All projects, either downtown, on the Business 151 corridor or anywhere else in the city, all need to be held to the same parking standards.”
Burk’s priorities are more about process than issues. She says she wants to “listen to all community members concerns and ideas; this is important because our community has a wealth of knowledge and experience about our community that can provide solutions to problems.”
Burk also wants to “focus on collaborative solutions — many great organizations and agencies are working on great projects, ideas, and solutions. Our community can pull our resources together to reach our goals.”
Burk lists as a priority maintaining “a family friendly community — communities that keep families for the whole life cycle are more vibrant. Providing opportunities for youth, young adults, seniors and every age in-between is critical to keeping a vibrant community. There are various actions that can make a difference by addressing topics such as transportation, zoning, child care, and community services.”
Other races: Tuesday’s election also will include a primary for the state Supreme Court seat held by Justice Patrick Crooks before his death Sept. 21. Gov. Scott Walker appointed Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Bradley, who had already announced she was running after Crooks announced he was not running for reelection, to fill Crooks’ term on the Supreme Court. Also running are state Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, who lost to Supreme Court Justice David Prosser last April, and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge M. Joseph Donald, who also is making his first run for the Supreme Court.
Iowa County voters will vote in a primary to reduce the number of candidates to replace retiring Iowa County Circuit Judge William Dyke from four to two — Tim Angel of Dodgeville, Margaret Koehler of Dodgeville, Timothy McKinley of Dodgeville, and Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson of Mineral Point.
This year’s elections will be the first under the state’s new law requiring voters provide a form of photo identification at the polls — a state Department of Transportation-issued driver license or photo ID card, a military ID, a U.S. passport, an American Indian tribal ID, a photo ID by a Wisconsin university or technical college, or a certificate of naturalization. Information is available at www.bringit.wisconsin.gov.