Following official notice of non-candidacy from current District Attorney Don Dunphy in May, two candidates have stepped in to vie for the open seat.
On Aug. 9, Sidney Brubacher (D-Wausau) and Galen Bayne-Allison (D-Lake Tomahawk) will face off in the partisan primary with the winner stepping for Dunphy in January. Below is Bayne-Allison’s candidate profile as well as his answers to four uniform questions asked of both candidates.
Current city of residence: Lake Tomahawk, Wis.
Location of Practice: Rhinelander
Name of Practice: Bayne-Allison Attorney (Private Practice)
Party Affiliation: Democratic
High School Attended: Stevens Point Area Senior High (Stevens Point native)
Undergrad: University of WisconsinStevens Point
Law School: UW-Madison (Intern with state Public Defender’s Office; Dodge County District Attorney and Wisconsin District 4 Court of Appeals)
Previous work experience: Information Technology-Systems Administrator and Architecture for Division of WorldCom and EDS Consulting
Law experience: 6-years private practice; March of 2016- named Special Prosecutor for Langlade County upon departure of Langlade County DA Ralph Uttke.
Other information of note:
*Served as Court Commissioner in Oneida County and served as substitute judge.
“I feel my duties of special prosecutor for Langlade County are very similar to those of the District Attorney for Lincoln County. In Langlade County I am responsible for handling juvenile and children’s law cases, same as Mr. Dunphy here in Lincoln County. This year alone Langlade County has handled 280 criminal cases which is pretty close to the estimated 320 cases which Lincoln County has handled.”
1) Why have you chosen to run for the Lincoln County District Attorney seat?
“I had given some thought to running for a District Attorney position somewhere in the area this year. There were rumors of current DA’s in Vilas, Lincoln and Langlade counties retiring and Ralph Uttke ended up being the only certainty.
“I wasn’t sure if Don (Dunphy) was going to run again. If he chose not to, I had heard Corey Mehlos (Schmitt & Koppelman Law Firm) was going to run and I didn’t want to run against a local guy. I didn’t feel that would be the right thing to do. But around Memorial Day, I heard Mr. Mehlos had opted not to run. That left no other local candidates so I decided to give it a go.
“Thanks to the much appreciated help of local community members, I went door to door and gathered signatures to run for the DA position.
“I feel prosecutors have the most ability to affect the way the criminal justice system works and the outcome of the criminal justice system. We have a great deal of discretion in deciding whether to charge or not charge, or bargain on certain offenses.
“In running for the District Attorney position for Lincoln County, I hope to team up with local law enforcement officers as well as community stakeholders to address issues facing the communities of Lincoln County. I would like to be a part of the solution to the issues in Lincoln County, especially drug issues, within the limitations of the criminal justice system.”
2) If there is a particular change you would make-if any-upon being successfully elected to the Lincoln County District Attorney seat, what would that change be?
“I would like to see the DA’s office be more open and transparent with local law enforcement and the local communities. Not just when charging on offenses but on an ongoing basis. I will look to discuss problems and problem people, with those who know their communities best including local law enforcement and community members.
“I have been told there has been a lack of consistency in prosecuting cases in Lincoln County, in terms of plea agreements and how cases are handled. I feel as a District Attorney, I should be held accountable for my actions and how I approach matters. The only way I can express accountability is to get out there in the community, talk to people and explain myself.”
3) What do you feel will be the greatest challenge you will face upon successful election to the Lincoln County District Attorney seat?
“Establishing dialog with the community may be a challenge as that is something community members may not be used to. I hope to establish communication with community groups such as HAVEN and social services, as well as of course law enforcement, in an effort to get everyone working together to address current issues in Lincoln County.
“At this point, I don’t get the impression there are open lines of communication with community stakeholders and I want to change that.”
4) If you could pick one lesson or concept you have learned in your professional career, which you feel will prove to be a benefit to you upon successful election to the Lincoln County District Attorney seat, what would that be?
“I have learned the best way to get things done and get ahead, is to be a straight shooter. I have learned the importance of being honest, open and transparent. I take a great deal of pride in being a person of ethical practice and integrity in my profession.
“As attorneys, we have a code of professional ethics as any other profession. As attorneys we also have a tremendous amount of power to affect lives. We can make the difference between someone having a good or bad quality of life. I wouldn’t be running for this position, if I didn’t enjoy what I do and feel I’m doing something good. I have learned clients may not always want to hear the truth, but as attorneys it’s our responsibility to tell the truth. That’s an example of what ethical conduct is all about.”