Isthmus sent email questionnaires to each candidate for Dane County executive. Here is what they had to say about themselves, why they're running and what they hope to achieve.
Current employment: Dane County Board Chairman, state Department of Administration policy analyst
Campaign website: scottmcdonell.com
Relevant experience (in 75 words or less): Scott McDonell was first elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors in April 1996 and became County Board Chairman in 2005. Scott serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Transport 2020 Committee. Scott has also served on the Board of Directors of the Alliant Energy Center, the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Dane County Regional Airport Commission. He is a driving force behind the Regional Transit Authority.
Please answer the following questions in 100 words or less.
1. Why are you running?
I have dedicated myself to County government for 15 years, and want to continue my service to the county at another level. I am not running because I need a job, or because I aspire to higher office. I am proud of Dane County, of the way we live and work, the way we raise our families, and the way we find practical solutions to the problems we face. I'm the only candidate with real experience finding and implementing the progressive solutions at the county level that make this a great place to live, work and raise a family.
2. What do you think is the single most important issue facing Dane County?
The imminent threat to the jobs and livelihoods of our public servants is a top concern. We have more state, county and municipal employees than any other county in Wisconsin. The new regime in the Capitol threatens to do to state employees what Governor Walker did to county workers in Milwaukee -- hand out pink slips. We must first stand up against his assault on public servants, but also create new jobs for those people left in the wake of his Tea Party policies. We must invest in clean and renewable energy, education, and diversify our economy.
3. Name an official recently elected in Wisconsin whom you admire? Why?
Tammy Baldwin. She encompasses the Dane County way with her integrity and values as a legislator. Her dedication to ensuring all Americans have access to quality health care is unmatched by any other politician.
4. Can you name two specific areas in which you think county spending could be cut?
We can reduce energy costs in our county facilities. The budget I just passed includes audits for this purpose. I have also lowered costs is the criminal justice system. Some wanted to solve jail overcrowding by building more beds -- but I said no. Instead, I led the way to increase the efficiency of our justice system. We lowered the jail population from 1,200 to 800 in just four years, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars now and into the future, without letting anyone out early and without endangering the public. We simply made the system work smarter.
5. Identify one or two areas in which the county could raise new revenue.
Currently many municipalities contract for police services with the sheriff's office which saves everyone money. We should continue to expand contract policing to as many communities as possible, as it lowers overhead for both the Sheriff and the county on a voluntary basis. This contracting creates economies of scale for both the county and the town or village.
7. If you were forced to drop out of the race unexpectedly, which of the remaining candidates would you vote for and why?
I may be accused of dodging the question, but if I had to bow out, I would write in Kathleen Falk. Her county experience would be of great use during these turbulent times and this is not the time to have someone learning on the job. Kathleen and I have accomplished a great deal together over the last 14 years. Indeed, the state government has imitated some of our initiatives, like the domestic partner registry and phosphorous ban.