UTICA TOWNSHIP - Well politics seems to have gotten into the air this spring and Utica Township is no exception. Both town supervisor positions are contested in next Tuesday’s election.
Perhaps, it was occasioned by the decision to not run for re-election by two long-serving members of the town board. Utica Town Chairperson Leonard Olson and Utica Town Board Supervisor One Stanley Stevenson chose not to run this spring.
Organic dairy farmer Jim Wedeberg is running unopposed for the Utica Town Board Chairperson position.
However, both town supervisor races have two candidates on the ballot. In the Town Board Supervisor One election, Donald ‘Donnie’ Boland is running against John Quellhorst. In the Town Board Supervisor Two election Chad Eick is challenging incumbent supervisor Phil Mueller.
Donnie Boland lives at 18736 State Highway 27, Gays Mills, Wisconsin.
The 58-year-old dairy farmer graduated from Seneca High School and has taken some continuing education farm courses at Southwest Tech. Boland is a lifelong Utica Township resident and a lifelong dairy farmer, who is a member of the Great River Grazers.
Boland decided to run because several people asked him to run, after incumbents Leonard Olson and Stanley Stevenson announced they were not running.
“Well, I’m not opposed to it (serving as a town supervisor),” Boland said. “I feel I have something to offer. But I’m not going to be heartbroken, if I’m not elected.
“We need to have the township run respectably,” Boland said. “We need someone to try to make it run smoothly.”
What’s the biggest issue facing the township?
“Well I’m not sure,” Boland said. “Maybe, it’s less people making a living farming. The demographics are changing a little bit. Things are changing. Utica is zoned ag. I like the ruralness. But what we have to do is blend the people who have been here with the people who are coming.
“We need to treat people with respect and do what’s best for the township. We need to try to get along with the neighbor whether they have been here or just moved here.”
What’s the first thing Donnie Boland will do if elected?
“Make the meeting I guess,” he replied. “I’m not trying to change the world. It’s mostly common sense. You take the information you have and make a smart decision.”
Town of Utica resident John Quellhorst is running against Boland in the Supervisor One race.
Quellhorst, 65, lives at 13207 Highway 27 Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.
Quellhorst grew up in Boscobel and graduated from Boscobel High School. He attended Western Wisconsin Technical College for a year and received his welding certificate.
Quellhorst served in the U.S. Army in the armored division for three years of active duty from 1976 to 1979 and three years of inactive service from 1979 to 1982.
John is married to Sharon and they both have an adult child from a previous marriage-Jeremy and Christopher.
Quellhorst retired on December 30, 2020, from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, where he had been working on the Lock and Dams on the Mississippi River for the past 20 years, including the last eight years in Genoa.
The town supervisor candidate has lived in the Town of Utica for 40 years.
Quellhorst is a member of the American Legion in Gays Mills.
Quellhorst learned the position on the town board was open from Stanley Stevenson’s decision to not run.
“There’s a need for some new blood on the board,” Quellhorst said.
If elected he would try to better the township.
Quellhorst sees the biggest issue facing the board as the need for a little more management of how things are being done-particularly when it comes to road maintenance and brush cutting.
“I think we need to make our tax dollar work a little better,” he said.
Quellhorst believes the board must work together to accomplish things.
“I want the township to grow strong and be unified,” Quellhorst said.
He also mentioned the need to upgrade some of the equipment.
The only incumbent of the three-member town board running for re-election is Town Board Supervisor Two Phil Mueller, who livers at 13668 Mickley Drive, Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.
The 55-year-old Mueller has experience of serving on both the town board and the county board in the past.
Mueller grew up in Georgia, where he attended Milledgeville High School. He went on to attend the University of Georgia, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in French.
Mueller works as a sales manager for Star Valley Flowers, a position he has held for the past 22 years-all of which he has lived in Utica Township.
Mueller is running because of his interest in local politics. He noted that he was involved in local politics and attended meetings long before he ever thought of running for office.
Mueller followed county government before running to become a county board supervisor, which he served as for three or four terms.
“I see the town as a community of landowners who need to find the best way to use the land and resources for the benefit of everybody,” Mueller said.
He went on to explain that as the town board, the goal is not to attract business and not to encourage tourism. He sees the role of town board as more domestic in nature-concerned with maintaining the roads, paying for equipment and paying employees.
Mueller believes that the role is different for county government, which is more interested in things like business development and tourism.
Mueller thinks the biggest priority for the township in the immediate future is to review the town’s comprehensive growth plan that was adopted close to a decade ago. He wants the town to look at plans for the natural resources and see what might need to be modified in light of the current situation.
Mueller’s opponent for the Supervisor Two position is challenger Chad Eick, who lives at 53447 County C, Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.
The 41-year-old Eick is married to Kim and the couple lives on a farm originally owned by his grandparents.
Eick is lifelong Town of Utica resident. He graduated from Seneca High School and attended some tech school classes.
Eick currently works on Jim Wedeberg’s organic dairy and also has some side jobs and a tire business he operates.
Like other candidates, Eick feels improving the township roads is a big thing that needs to be addressed.
Eick also feels it is important to get younger people working for the township. He said he has never known of anyone under the age of 55 to work for the Town of Utica.
Eick believes better road maintenance and brush cutting are needed.
“The real problem is the intersections are not being cleared and the falls under roads,” Eick said.Utica Town Treasurer Kent R. Salmon is running opposed in the spring election.