Dane County District 9 hugs the Beltline on the far west side of Madison and west Middleton. The district includes a lot of the county's recent development and potential for much more, particularly in north Middleton along Airport Road.
Both candidates -- challenger Dianne Hesselbein and incumbent Ruth Ann Schoer -- address concerns District 9 constituents have over traffic congestion in their answers below.
The Daily Page: What is the single most important issue for your particular Dane County Board district?
Hesselbein: The people of District 9 are greatly concerned over Dane County road congestion. The residents I meet going door-to-door consistently comment on the traffic conditions of High Road, North High Point, Farmington Way, Old Sauk Road, and other busy thoroughfares. We cannot continue to build roads in reaction to development conditions, but rather establish plans to embrace the future, and programs to mitigate existing saturated traffic patterns.
Schoer: It is difficult to state just one issue. If you are talking long-term it is definitely taxes. If you are talking issue of the moment it is the intersection of Mineral Point Road/County Highway M and American Transmission Company's proposed high voltage above ground lines right through the middle of District 9.
If Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk were to leave office, who would be her ideal successor?
Hesselbein: If Kathleen Falk leaves office we will need a person in that position who has good business skills and common-sense solutions.
Schoer: 2 words - Mark Bugher!
Do you support a Dane County Regional Transit Authority, with its own taxing ability? Why do you think some communities oppose an RTA?
Hesselbein: I am committed to environmentally-sound transportation solutions. Community transportation planning for roads, rail and bus systems must incorporate proactive planning, not expensive reactions to roadway congestion caused by unanticipated growth. I support a Regional Transit Authority that produces the best mix of transportation to meet the needs of neighborhoods, towns and villages. Light rail service must be carefully studied to determine whether the full economic costs positively compare to user trends and community needs. Dane County must deal with tomorrow's transportation needs today, and I will ensure the goals of District Nine are fully represented.
Schoer: RTA is an idea whose time has not yet come. We do not have the density needed to make a rail system productive. However, we DO need to leave a corridor open for future needs. WE must first figure out how to run a productive and safe bus system.
I think many communities do not support RTA because they do not trust Dane County with the money. The announcement of the RTA was not handled well. If we want people to support something we need to bring them in at the beginning to help shape it - giving them some ownership. The first tax was targeted to go for Public Safety and look what happened to that.
Has the County Board become more or less relevant over time?
Hesselbein: The Dane County Board has become more relevant over time because we can tackle regional issues such as the transportation, environment, and land use.
Schoer: I think the County Board is as relevant as it chooses to be. Being a rubber stamp for the Executive Branch does not do proper service to the citizens who elected us. I strongly believe in checks and balances. The County Board's job is to make policy decisions. The County Execs job is to implement that policy and oversee day-to-day operations.
Name the one quality you possess that is most essential to the job?
Hesselbein: I have shown through my experience on the Middleton Cross Plains Area School Board that I listen to my constituents, and vote accordingly. I promise that once elected I will have listening sessions with my constituents and will continue to go door-to-door to listen and talk with as many people and neighborhood associations as possible. District 9 will not just see their Supervisor when it's time for an election.
Schoer: Being a County Supervisor is much more than sitting on committees and/or advocating change. It is about using my position as a community leader to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. I believe it is my responsibility to work toward a better life for all of us; to do everything I can to make our community safe, to make government more efficient, to keep taxes in check and provide services to those who need them.