On the April 3 general election ballot, Lincoln County voters will have a number of choices to make for city and county offices.
Candidates in contested races for local offices were asked to introduce themselves by filling out a questionnaire and making some comments about themselves and their views. This week we will hear from the candidates for Merrill Aldermanic District 4 and 5, Lincoln County Supervisor candidates for Districts 3, 10 and 20 as well as the lone incumbent to the MAPS Board of Education and the candidates from the Merrill Mayoral race. Following are responses from the Lincoln County 10th Supervisory District candidates.
Loretta Baughan – Incumbent
Family: My husband, Steve, and I celebrate our 40th anniversary in October with our children: Sabrina, Dustin, and Joshua. Invested in our community, we’ve lived in the Town of Pine River for 20 years.
Employment: I’m an author and own Baughan WEB design and Autumnskye Quality Pet Foods.
Involvement: Since 2014, I’ve served as Lincoln County’s District 10 Supervisor. My current committee duties are Land Services Chair, Public Property Vice-Chair, and Secretary of Finance. Representing Lincoln County, I’m appointed to the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and previously to the Aging and Disability Resource Center Board of Directors. Before joining the county board, I served on the Merrill Board of Education between 2009-2014.
Comments: “With nine years experience representing our community, I understand the challenges we face.
“We’re aging. Between 2000-2010, Lincoln County experienced a net outbound migration losing 42% of our 20-29 age group. In 2010, our 65+ population was 5,269 and is projected to expand to 9,480 by 2030. This explains school declining enrollments and highlights a need for the county to plan for this shift in demographics. (Source: NCWRPC’s 2015 Regional Livability Plan)
“In 2016, county supervisors were told we must repave roads every 20-25 years to keep all properly maintained, but we’re operating at a 50 year rotation. Literally at the crossroads, either taxes must go up or spending must go down. We can make necessary cuts by taking a hard look at non-mandated expenditures.
“I support fiscal restraint and good stewardship of county resources. I question expenditures to ensure tax dollars are used wisely. Less government intrusion into the lives of citizens is always best. I support and respect your private property rights.
“Whether young people, single parents, hard working families, retirees, or elderly living on fixed incomes, we need to keep taxes under tight rein. I opposed the board approved ‘wheel tax’ used to balance the budget, up for renewal later this year. Instead, we should prioritize roads and reduce spending to make ends meet, just as we all do with our own budgets.”
Jeremy Ratliff – Challenger
Family: Wife: Jenny; Daughter: Mattyson “Matty” (10)
Education: High School Diploma, Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Criminal Justice and Human Services and Psychology Certificate from Northcentral Technical College.
Employment: Journalist, US Army veteran.
Involvement: Elected member of MAPS Board of Education (2015), will begin second term in April; Former chair of MAPS Finance/HR Committee; Co-founder and Chair of the Merrill Community New Year Ride, an organization dedicated to assisting local families and/or non-profit organizations in need, enjoy a brighter new year; volunteer and coordinator of various local fundraisers.
Comments: “The safety of and opportunities for my family, your family and those of our Town of Pine River families, is very important to me and will be the top priority for me as your district supervisor, if elected on April 3.
I believe in “Opportunities for and the safety of our neighbors and families being a priority…for a change”
“As an example, I will strive to assure the men and women we employ to assure the safety and welfare of our families, are afforded the resources necessary to fulfill the responsibilities we entrust them with. From our beautiful facility and dedicated, caring staff of Pine Crest Nursing Home and the dedicated men and women of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, to those who serve us via the Merrill Fire Department, Lincoln County Highway Department and Department of Social Services. The bottom line is; the departments responsible for the safety and welfare of our neighbors and families should be the very last resort for budgetary cuts if the need arises, rather than a starting point.
“Another example will be to push strongly for the broadband internet initiative promised to our rural neighbors and families is either fulfilled, or explained, if unable to be completed. Just because we choose to live away from the city lights and noise does NOT mean we as rural residents should not be afforded the same opportunities as city residents!
“I feel collaboration with department heads, experts and fellow supervisors, conversation with constituents and communication of essential information and constituent concerns; are essential to any decision making process. I believe very strongly in these concepts and will carry them with me to every meeting as your district supervisor, while checking my own personal feelings and any secondary influence at the door.
“These are just a few examples of goals and I plan to focus on.
“If you have any questions or would like to discuss my candidacy further, please feel free to contact me at your convenience at (715) 536-8494 or email at RatliffforD10@gmail.com. Thank you so very much for your support on April 3.”