Four candidates are running for Vernon County Register of Deeds on the Republican Party primary ballot — Marilyn Hauge, Patricia A. Belke-Becker, Andrea Cade and Dawn Nemec. The partisan primary election is Aug. 11.
Editor’s note: The Vernon County Broadcaster publishes the questionnaires from the candidates as we receive them and in their entirety.
Name: Marilyn Hauge
Occupation: 1/2005-3/2019—Deputy Register of Deeds until Governor’s office made an appointment; 1994-2004- Elderly Benefit Specialist for Vernon County; 1991-1993- Helped with Hauge Excavating initial startup; 1982-1991- Program Assistant with Vernon County Farm Service Agency (Additional legal description and determining land ownership experience.).
Elected office you are vying for: Vernon County Register of Deeds.
Previously elected offices: Deputy Register of Deeds under Konna Spaeth starting my 15th year.
Community and group affiliations: Vernon County Republican Party; Previous Board of Directors for Westby Coop Credit Union; Previous Loan Approval Committee member for WCCU; Taught Youth Sunday School when my kids were young.
Why are you running for office?: I applied for the position of Register of Deeds a year and a half ago when Konna Spaeth stepped down as Register, with her full support. It was supposed to be an appointment by the Governor after interviews by him, which never took place. I have been urged by the community to run because of the lack of experience and understanding of legal descriptions and documents in the office at the present time.
What do you think are some of the more important issues facing the Vernon County?: Right now, I think it is trying to carry on business as usual serving the residents of Vernon County with COVID 19 present.
Are there any issues currently being handled that you would handle differently?: I would bring experience, knowledge and understanding of Vernon County land records back to the office. I also have the 14 + years of experience in all other services provided by the office.
What should people know about you as a candidate and potential representative?: I was born and raised in Vernon County. My parents Orrin and Arlean Pederson instilled a strong work ethic in myself and my 3 brothers from an early age.
My husband Kelly, myself and our sons have operated an Excavating business for 30 years. We also farm. Both ventures have taught us to work hard and on a tight budget. The same goes for Vernon County.
Mainly, I have over 14 years of experience as Deputy Register of Deeds and when it comes to your legal descriptions and documents, Experience and Understanding Matters!!
Name: Patricia Belke-Becker
Elected office you are vying for: Register of Deeds
Previously elected offices: Worked on many campaigns, this is my first elections
Community and group affiliations: I have spent over a decade lobbying for the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Smoke Free Wisconsin, WI WINS and local government with bills to improve health. I have volunteered for after school programs such as FACT, TATU, and Teen Court. My husband and I volunteered for church, local food pantries, Postal Workers Food Drive and Boy Scouts. I’ve works with people in my network to encourage bi-partisan efforts to address drug addiction in Vernon County.
Why are you running for office?: I running for office because I believe I can do an excellent job for the Vernon County community. I plan to host three seminars for the people:
1. What the Register of Deeds does and what the people can expect from the office. I saw the Governor appointed ROD put a video on the website. This is good for those who know how to use the internet. Many of the people in this county do not use email or the internet. Most seniors prefer the one-on-one contact. It’s easier to ask questions this way.
2. Genealogy. I’ve been doing genealogy since I was 16 years old. I’ve been in the ROD office getting information on my family many times. I’ve also been volunteering my time teaching others where to begin and how to get more in depth. It can be very frustrating and very rewarding.
3. Duality-Dual Citizenship. I’ve spoke to many people interested in a second citizenship. The best reason is to save money. Having a citizenship in any European country will cut down on cost for attending school there, especially for an exchange student program.
I believe it’s time to get out from behind the desk and get to know the people you serve, find out more about them to better serve them.
What do you think are some of the more important issues facing the Vernon County?: The most important issue is COVID-19, and re-integrating back into society where people are safe. I’ve a bachelor in Community Health Education, a major in English and a minor in Speech. I am very capable of making the workplace safe for both employees and customers.
I believe there are also issues facing veterans, seniors, students going back to school, and drug addicts.
The list of issues is long, but I believe in a statement one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelo, said: “It takes a village to raise a child.” In our case, it takes a county to address change for better health and better circumstances for our people. It’s important we do our part.
Are there any issues currently being handled that you would handle differently?: There are many issues I think could be handled differently. There are many things I approve of. The thing is, I don’t have all the facts of those who are in charge. I can express my opinion and hope I’ve been heard. I will continue to stand for what I believe in. I will lobby for the organizations I believe in. In the end, I will know I’ve done the best I could.
What should people know about you as a candidate and potential representative?: I’ve been a part of Vernon County my entire live. My mother, Jeanne Trussoni was born and raised in Genoa. My father had a Stoddard address during the time he served on a ship during the start of the Korean War. My parents were married at St. Charles Church in Genoa. A beautiful church at the top of the hill. I have family throughout the Vernon County area. If you are related to a Trussoni, you are related to me. It’s a very large family. I want to note that my father’s name is on the war memorial on Main Street in Viroqua.
I have always represented people in all kinds of circumstances. In some ways they end well, in others they pass. I’ve cared for over a dozen people passing from cancer including my parents.
This position is very important to me because I believe your land is important and needs to be described in the best way possible. I believe that birth, death, and marriage are events that need to be properly entered so appropriate statistics reflect the health of of our community. Most of all, I believe in you! You matter, you count, and your voice deserves to be heard. I believe firmly in people before politics!
I will be hosting a meet and greet on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at the Vernon County Republican Party office on Main Street next to the Family Cafe, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Name: Andrea Cade
Occupation: I recently sold Bleachers Pub, my business of almost 12 years and am currently exploring my options for a career path.
Elected office your vying for: Vernon County Register of Deeds
Previously elected offices: N/A
Community and group affiliations: Vernon County GOP, coaching for youth sport groups, member of The Power of 100 Driftless Region
Why are you running for office?: I consider this to be an opportunity to serve in a position of importance to the citizens of Vernon County and also a challenge and opportunity for the betterment of myself and my family.
What do you think are some of the more important issues facing Vernon County?: Economic development in our area for more sustainable employment, aid to small business owners and recreational opportunities.
Are there any issues currently being handled that you would handle differently?: Offering a variety of youth activities and programs, such as Big Brother/Big Sister and/or mentoring programs.
What should people know about you as a candidate and potential representative?: I am a native to Vernon County and have resided here my entire life. I furthered my education after graduating from Westby High School by attending and receiving an associates degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College in Criminal Justice.
I established and maintained a successful business in the city of Westby from 2007 to 2019 which offered me the experience in management, scheduling, payroll, budgeting, purchasing, maintenance of inventory, and provision for excellent customer service.
Being employed previously in the Title Insurance industry for five years, in that position I gained the extensive experience of property research, interpreting and drawing land descriptions, real estate closing and DOT projects all utilizing the records in the Register of Deeds offices in Vernon County and various other counties of Wisconsin.
I am a mother of a beautiful 9-year-old daughter. We spend time together enjoying sports, exploring and activities with family.
I am looking forward to being able to serve the citizens of Vernon County in the role of Register of Deeds.
Dawn Nemec (I)
Name: Dawn Nemec
Occupation: I am the Vernon County Register of Deeds.
Elected office you are vying for: I am running (as the incumbent) for Vernon County Register of Deeds.
Previously elected offices: In February of 2019, I was appointed by the Governor, after being interviewed and recommended by a panel of Wisconsin Registers of Deeds, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the previous Register of Deeds. I was elected to the LaFarge School Board and served as Vice President; served as the President of the LaFarge Area Partners Association; served on the Independent Living Resources Board and I served as Treasurer of my church council.
Community and group affiliations: I am a member of my church council (Redemption Chapel) and my church Fellowship Committee; a member of the Vernon County Land Information committee; a member of the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association (WRDA); and will be serving on the WRDA Operations Committee.
Why are you running for office?: I have a genuine passion for public service.
My past employment experience in service agencies such as CouleeCAP, Viroqua Housing Authority and Organic Valley, has provided me with a well-rounded resume of knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the office. As your current Register of Deeds, I have been assessing processes and making efficiency improvements. I have computerized the office accounting procedures and other tracking functions of the office. I have worked with business partners to increase the number of electronically submitted documents from 26% when I started, to around 50% currently. Issuing birth, marriage and death certificates is a function of the office that I find very rewarding. It is most often that piece needed for people to complete other important business, such as renewing a driver’s license. I have developed a plan to protect staff and customers regarding COVID-19 while still maintaining a high level of customer service.
Being a landowner myself, protecting the integrity of the county’s land records is among my priorities to ensure accuracy and availability for generations to come.
I am proud of my family and friends that have served in the military. As the Register, I have the opportunity to ensure our area service men and women are not forgotten by recording their military discharge DD-214.
I have a vision for improving land record preservation and retrieval for all Vernon county residents and business partners, while adhering to budget constraints. With your support, I look forward to continuing the plans I have for improving systems to better serve the people of this great county.
What do you think are some of the more important issues facing Vernon County?: I believe wise use of our limited resources, the safety of our county’s residents, and mitigation of the unknown financial impact of COVID are probably the most pressing issues at this time. There are many important issues that our county is currently facing: planning for future garbage/recycling options, repairing roads and infrastructure, technology upgrades, and taking care of our aging population and individuals with disabilities.
Are there any issues currently being handled that you would handle differently?: I feel a missing link in the structure of the county is a county administrator. An administrator would oversee the day-to-day operations of the county and provide the connecting link between the board and operations. It would provide an additional layer for checks and balances. This position could be the leading force for assessing needs and for developing a short term and long term county-wide plan for needs and capital improvements. In my opinion, potential cost savings could come from identifying duplication of services and centralizing some functions of the county.
What should people know about you as a candidate and potential representative?: My husband Tom and I have called Vernon County home our entire lives. We are second generation co-owners of the family farm where we raise crops and beef. We have three children: Aaron (Amanda), Craig (Jessica) and Michelle (Brad) and ten beautiful grandchildren.
Please reach out to me if you have questions or would just like to chat. I look forward to hearing from you. And I would really appreciate your vote on August 11th. Thank you.
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