Saturday, March 20, 2010


March 17, 2010

Area candidates shared their vision of local government at a forum at the Richfield Elementary School last night. Three candidates for the Richfield village board and the Richfield Joint School Board talked to residents at the forum sponsored by Eagle Forum of Wisconsin. All candidates for were invited, and candidates unable to attend were offered the opportunity to provide literature for attendees. State Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) moderated the event.

Michael Shea, village board candidate, brought a copy of the $3 million village budget and discussed the need to prioritize expenditures. Budget approval would need to be "examined under a microscope." Shea stated he was running because he "didn't like what's going on in the village." Responding to a question regarding upholding integrity on the village board, Shea said one should "live on your morals and whether your word is any good." His motto is "tell the truth or get out." As for TIF districts, Shea adamantly proclaimed, "forget it" and "It's a big fat failure at the expense of taxpayers."

Unemployment was addressed and Shea felt that re-examining municipal contracts to "see what is being done inefficiently" was the key. His goal as village trustee would be to outsource services to local companies. A former police officer of 29.5 years, Shea feels that [we] "under-utilize people in our jails."

A controversial issue within the village of Richfield is the movement of the public comment period to the end of village board meetings. Shea stated his opposition to this decision by the village board and felt that "the public that pays the salaries of these people should be the first ones up" at the meetings.

As to why he would be the best candidate for the trustee position, Shea regarded the fact that he was the only trustee candidate to clear his calendar for tonight's forum. "You have to demonstrate to people that you're willing to tackle the problems."

Howard Wolf and Blair Rogacki, both Richfield school board candidates, agreed on a number of hot-topic issues, such as parental consent prior to Comprehensive Sex Education classes and keeping social justice curriculum out of primary education. Wolf said schools should be "molding young minds with facts, not indoctrinating with those who are opining."

School funding has raised concerns among taxpayers who are already strapped during tough economic times. Wolf explained "We only tax for what we need." Both candidates, again, cited the lack of financial assistance from the government. Rogacki, labeling himself a fiscal conservative, stated the formula was basically "you have a pot of money available to spend and services that need to be provided. You prioritize and do what you can." Wolf would like to "mentor new board members" during his tenure so that all his work "won't be for naught."

"This was a great opportunity to give taxpayers the chance to hear directly from the candidates," stated Ginny Maziarka, Eagle Forum of Wisconsin, Washington County president. "We were thrilled to have Rep. Pridemore attend as our moderator. There is a real need for one-on-one time with candidates before the general election, to share with voters why they should belong in office."

Video of the forum can be viewed below or by clicking HERE.