By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dull and Heilman vie for Board of Supervisors District 9 seat
Crawford County
Crawford County Administration Building

CRAWFORD COUNTY - Incumbent Wade Dull, and challenger Harrison Heilman, will appear on the ballot of the April 5 nonpartisan election, vying for the District 9 seat on the Crawford County Board of Supervisors. District 9 includes the Town of Clayton and the Village of Soldiers Grove.

Wade Dull
Wade Dull

Wade Dull

Wade Dull is the District 9 incumbent, and has served eight terms, for a total of 16 years on the Crawford County Board of Supervisors. Dull has served as chairman of the Agriculture and Fair Committee, and as a member of the Audit and Land Conservation committees.

The 66-year-old retired dairy farmer is a lifelong resident of the Town of Clayton. He lives on a multi-generation farm that over the years has produced both dairy and beef. In addition to dairying, Dull has worked as a groundskeeper at Leeward Farms in Crawford County, and received training in agricultural mechanics.

In addition to his service on the board, Dull has also been a leader in 4-H, and a member of the Soldiers Grove Lions and the Sons of the American Legion, His father served in World War II, and some of his children are military veterans as well.

The biggest issues Dull sees facing Crawford County are maintaining the budget, dealing with the threat of pollution in the county from Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and facilitating the foster care program for county youth.

“I am very concerned about the threats of pollution from the current and proposed Roth Feeder Pigs operation,” Dull said. “Spreading the amount of manure that comes from operations like that is a threat to our county.”

The best things that Dull sees happening in the county include hiring an IT specialist to protect cybersecurity in county operations, the Crawford County Fair, and the formation of the County Treatment Court.

“We’re seeing ever greater attendance at the Crawford County Fair,” Dull said. “The Fair is good for kids, and it’s good for our families.”

Dull said that the substance abuse problems in the county had grown steadily in recent years. He sees support for the Treatment Court as a way for the county to help citizens afflicted with substance abuse problems.

“So much of what the county does is not seen by county residents, but the county has great potential to help our citizens,” Dull said. “Some of the best things that happen as a result of county board activity come from UW-Extension, ADRC, and more. The county is really active in helping our children and our families.”

Harrison Heilman
Harrison Heilman

Harrison Heilman

Harrison Heilman is a six-year resident of the Village of Soldiers Grove, and has served on the Soldiers Grove Village Board for the last four years, completing two terms.

The 34-year-old helps to operate the innovative new Tobacco Warehouse Inn in Soldiers Grove with his partner Noel Miller. Heilman also helps to operate the other business owned by Miller, Roots to Fruits Nursery, which sells trees and fruiting shrubs. The two plan to open a gourmet restaurant in the tobacco warehouse property in the coming year.

Heilman was born in Benton, Arkansas, where his mother was employed as a nurse. The family relocated to the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, where Heilman graduated from high school in 2006. After graduation, Heilman attended Monmouth College, where he majored in International Studies, Political Science and Spanish.

After graduation from college, Heilman joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in the Phillipines. Upon return from the Peace Corps, Heilman took a Masters degree in Public Administration from Western Illinois University in Macon, Ill.

“I moved to the Driftless Area for love,” Heilman reports he is fond of saying. “Originally, after moving here, I worked as a Justice Support Specialist for LaCrosse County, but when that position was eliminated, I began to work for Star Valley Flowers in rural Soldiers Grove, first cutting lilacs, but later as an assistant sales manager.”

Heilman says one of his concerns about the Crawford Count Board of Supervisors is their chosen meeting time of Tuesdays, at 10 a.m. He says this choice of time means that the average working citizen has no chance of being able to participate in the meetings to view the workings of county government.

“I think that the meetings should be scheduled for the evenings, when working citizens could choose to participate, and should be available virtually to accommodate the lives of busy working families,” Heilman said. “In addition, with our county seat being located in the far southwest corner of our county, I think the board should explore moving the meetings around the county to other venues such as the Crawford County Highway Department building in Seneca or the meeting room in the Community Commerce Center in Gays Mills.”

Another issue Heilman sees for county government is better, and more complete minutes of county board meetings.

“The minutes that I read are barely understandable to the average citizen, and give little idea of what the board did or why,” Heilman said. “Our county government needs to be more accessible to county citizens in a variety of ways.”

If elected, Heilman says he would like to serve on the Election and Personnel committees of the board.

“My education prepares me to serve in both of these capacities,” Heilman said. “I asked Bob Froiseth what he thought of the new election machines in the Village of Soldiers Grove, since they were new this year, and he was an election judge. He said that he liked the machines, and they were incredibly easy to use. Soldiers Grove Village Clerk Kaitlynn Ott agreed. So we have that going for us in the face of election oppression.’

The biggest issues Heilman sees for the county are net population loss, availability of more affordable housing, and the threat that manure from the Roth Feeder Pigs CAFO operation in Wauzeka Township, and their proposed operation in Marietta Township, pose for the county.

“We need a bigger tax base in our county to support our municipal utilities, and our school districts,” Heilman said. “We also need more affordable housing in the county to attract families to live here.”

Heilman said he would have voted to extend the county’s CAFO Moratorium, which vote he noted his opponent in the race had missed.

“I would have listened to the concerns of my constituents about the threat that CAFOs operating in our county posed to the environmental health of our county, and our access to clean water,” Heilman said. “I would not have missed that vote.”

Heilman says that the permit for the Roth Feeder Pigs I operation has been renewed, and as a county board member, he would like to work to explore how the county can reduce its impact. He also remains hopeful that the WPDES permit for the proposed Roth Feeder Pigs II permit in Marietta Township won’t be approved, given that it is going on a year now with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources failing to issue a notice of final determination on that water quality permit application.

“Erosion and runoff is also a very big issue for our county,” Heilman said. “Soil erosion and phosphorous loading of our waterways is making the job of small, impoverished, municipal sewer system operators in the county even more difficult and financially ruinous. In addition, runoff from the increasingly large storm events we’re seeing, like the one that impacted areas south and east of Seneca last June mean that our highway department can never make progress in improving our roads, and is always struggling to repair the damage with the scant funding available.”

Heilman said he would like to see the county support municipal utilities with more water quality trading efforts to assist them with meeting state phosphorous reduction mandates, and also to reduce the amount of runoff impacting local roads and water crossings.

Heilman says that the best things he sees coming out of county government in recent years is moving ahead with projects to supply fiber-optic-to-the-door broadband internet to all county residents. He says he would also like to see the county explore how to best take advantage of recent extensions of three-phase power options in the county.

“Like Jane Adams said, Government is designed for those who need it least,” Heilman said. “If more people could see what our county does for them, they would understand better how their tax dollars are spent, and what that means for them.”