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.
Spencer G. Zimmerman
Current employment: Independent contractor for Vector Marketing Corporation
Campaign website: Facebook: Abolish the Dane County Executive, vote Zimmerman
Relevant experience (in 75 words or less): Active duty Air Force 2000-4; Joint Service Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; Associate degree in Information Systems Technology, Community College of the Air Force 2003; Bachelor degree in Business Administration, Edgewood College 2006; American Legion member; and, Lyman Anderson Award for public service.
Please answer the following questions in 100 words or less.
1. Why are you running?
I want to bring new ideas to the race, find solutions, and serve the people of Dane County. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Our leader must be capable of making the difficult decisions, sacrificing personal interests in favor of what is best for all. I will ask the questions no one else asks. Do we need a County Executive? Dane County existed for 137 years without a County Executive. Can we return to a time when the county can function again without one? I believe we can and that is why I am running.
2. What do you think is the single most important issue facing Dane County?
Reducing our deficit and paying off our debt. Our county bonding debt in 2010 stands at over $250 million, with a budget deficit of $10 million. We have spent our reserves (rainy day funds) and lost our AAA bond rating. Government needs to begin living within its means. We need to look at every dollar spent and ensure it is being used efficiently.
3. Name an official recently elected in Wisconsin whom you admire? Why?
State Treasurer Kurt Schuller because of his campaign platform of abolition of an unneeded office.
4. Can you name two specific areas in which you think county spending could be cut?
Abolition of the County Executive position would cut spending by eliminating a $116,000 annual salary and additional savings would be generated in the elections budget. Of the five people who have served as Dane County Executive since the office was created in 1973, two have resigned mid-term, resulting in special elections at the expense of the taxpayers. On October 14th a budget amendment totaling nearly $300,000, a 46% increase, was approved to cover possible costs associated with the latest resignation. The County Clerk estimated $140,637 for a primary and $153,860 for a general election. This money could be saved.
5. Identify one or two areas in which the county could raise new revenue.
New revenue might be generated by selling county property and continuing to rent excess jail space to the Department of Corrections and other counties, a practice that has generated nearly a half million dollars this year. We should not be raising taxes or increasing fees which will only further burden our citizens in the midst of the worst economy of their lifetimes. The solution is to cut spending by reducing bureaucracy and operating a more efficient county government.
6. Name an initiative or program that you would launch?
I would initiate a report similar to the one conducted for Milwaukee County by the Non-Partisan Public Policy Forum that would investigate different options for structural reform of Dane County Government and use that analysis to make necessary changes.
7. If you were forced to drop out of the race unexpectedly, which of the remaining candidates would you vote for and why?
I will have to see how the election progresses and vote for the candidate whose convictions are closest to mine.