Five Out of Six Candidates for Walworth County Board of Supervisors Have Responded to Banner Questionnaire (Updated 3/26)

On March 20, the six candidates for the three Walworth county districts that include most of our readers were given the opportunity to respond to a questionnaire for publication on the Banner. Candidates were informed that the Banner would hold publication of any responses until after March 22. As of this writing on March 24 only two candidates have responded. Additional responses will be posted as received.

Candidates were also invited by the League of Women Voters to respond to questions that are posted on www.vote411.com. You may enter your address on that site to see whether the candidates for your district have responded. That site also includes responses from candidates for other local and state races.

County Supervisor, District 3 
Tim Brellenthin – Has not yet responded.

Brian Holt

  1. What educational, professional, civic, and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office? I graduated from Pius Xi High school in Milwaukee in ’06. I studied business and human resources at UW-Milwaukee for 3 years before riding my bicycle across the country. I decided to return to the Elkhorn area and start my own business. 
    I am now a self employed dairy farmer. I own and operate a custom dairy heifer business. I am a member of the Elkhorn Rotary Board and Lake Geneva Jaycees. I am very involved in our community and wanted to find additional ways to give back. I live with my partner outside of Elkhorn, she is a teacher in Milwaukee. This will be my first election for public office. 
  2. Name your top priorities for your term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and explain the reasons for your choices.  One of my top priorities would be bringing a voice from the agricultural sector to county Government. I know farmers feel underrepresented and I hope to change that. Farms are at a critical point in our country, things are going to change for everyone, big or small. Having a streamlined process for reformatting your business is crucial for expediting thing like zoning changes, food processing permits, Government programs for federal grants, etc.
    Our environment is very important to me. Land is our greatest asset as farmers, protecting our forests, fields and waterways is vital. I am currently helping to form a watershed protection group in Walworth County to make sure farmers stay on the cutting edge. I am organizing to protect our County and avoid the (sometimes) unjust perception that big ag is the only cause of the problems in our lakes and streams. 
  3. Do you have an opinion as to whether the county should consider selling Lakeland Health Care Center?  If so, what are the reasons for your position? My instinct is not to sell, having a county run nursing home creates a level of consistency, a known place for our residents to have If needed, but I’d be open to hear arguments either way. 
  4. The county is currently debt free.  Do you think that it is realistic to expect to continue that position over the next few years, or are you concerned that it will not be possible to adequately fund needed services and projects within the projected revenue? If the latter, what particular concerns do you have? As for the County being debt free; I know that infrastructure projects are key. Our County is on the verge of becoming an important hub for business in the region. There are companies who want to start projects here and the long term health of the area is at stake. I have a more ‘long term view’ that differs from some others on the board. Our County is one of the only in the state that is debt free, this is a great thing on the surface but at this point with interest rates at or very near 0%, not investing in long term projects seem short sighted. 

County Supervisor, District 4 

Kerstan Roeven

  1. What educational, professional, civic, and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office? I see serving as County Supervisor as an opportunity to give back to the community of Whitewater. I am currently a student at UW-W studying history and political science with the goal of becoming a teacher. While at school I have volunteered with Circle K International, a group based on community service. I will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the Board.
  2. Name your top priorities for your term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and explain the reasons for your choices. My top priority is to serve the community of Whitewater and Walworth County as a whole. Walworth County has many places of natural beauty that must be protected. Trash is a threat to beautiful places around the world and in our county. When elected I hope to pass a partial ban on single use plastic straws in Walworth County. Plastic straws would be available upon request only. This policy will work to reduce the amount of plastic waste in Walworth County and help eliminate needless plastic from our environment.
  3. Do you have an opinion as to whether the county should consider selling Lakeland Health Care Center?  If so, what are the reasons for your position? I do not think that Walworth County should sell Lakeland Health Care Center. Allowing the county to continue overseeing the rehabilitation and nursing facility is important. It would be unjust to the residents of Lakeland to sell their center and cast their future into uncertainty.
  4. The county is currently debt free.  Do you think that it is realistic to expect to continue that position over the next few years, or are you concerned that it will not be possible to adequately fund needed services and projects within the projected revenue? If the latter, what particular concerns do you have? I believe that responsible budgeting for the county is of paramount importance. Remaining debt free has its benefits for maintaining current county projects and services. However, taking advantage of low interest rates to fund new growth opportunities, where and when appropriate, could help boost our county in the future. 

Jerry Grant 

  1. What educational, professional, civic, and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office? My education is a graduate of: Whitewater High School, graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy, other college courses. My professional experience is a Whitewater Police Officer for 33 years. I was involved in many organizations while the children were in school. Also past member Whitewater Optimist Club, current for over 20 years a member of Whitewater Kiwanis Club, past President. My community experiences along with the above, police officer 1962-1995, Whitewater School Board 1983 -1998, Walworth County Board 1998-2012 and 2018 to present.
  2. Name your top priorities for your term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and explain the reasons for your choices.  My top priorities are to maintain the needed services to our Walworth county residents in an efficient manner, and to continue to work hard to keep Walworth County debt free as long as possible.
  3. Do you have an opinion as to whether the county should consider selling Lakeland Health Care Center?  If so, what are the reasons for your position? I do not believe Walworth County should sell the Lakeland Health care Center. We have life-long residents that have contributed much to the County. We owe it to them.
  4. The county is currently debt free.  Do you think that it is realistic to expect to continue that position over the next few years, or are you concerned that it will not be possible to adequately fund needed services and projects within the projected revenue? If the latter, what particular concerns do you have? There is a near future need to update the County’s communication system. This will include updated equipment. The need is close for emergency services to be able to communicate better between agencies while working together. It is hoped the State of Wisconsin will update that system, so we can join it. It is estimated to cost about $25,000,000.00.


County Supervisor, District 5

 Ryan G. Simons 

  1. What educational, professional, civic, and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office?Education: BBA, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Finance, Marketing and International Business; MBA, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, Finance and Marketing. Professional Experience: Currently a Real Estate Broker for Keefe Real Estate. Prior to real estate, I served in a number of finance and marketing capacities in Manufacturing. Received the designation of an Inc 500 company, given to the fastest growing companies in the United States, two years in a row. Civic: Member of Delavan Delavan-Lake Chamber of Commerce; Member of Walworth County Visitors Bureau; Member and prior president of Lakes Area Realtors Association; Prior member and Paul Harris Fellow for Rotary International Community Experience: Town of Delavan Supervisor for two years.  Town of Delavan Chairman for eight years
  2. Name your top priorities for your term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and explain the reasons for your choices.  My pledge to the residents in District 5 is to continue to Listen, Plan, and Protect as I have demonstrated during my terms as Town of Delavan Supervisor and Town of Delavan Chairman. The pledge to “Listen” could be seen during the extended public hearings that I held for complicated or expensive town decisions and public comment sections that encouraged the contribution of citizens present at Town of Delavan meetings. We need to get the input of citizens before taking action on issues that can have a long term effect on those that live in our community. As a member of the Walworth County Board of Supervisors, I will continue to listen to those who I represent and make the best decisions for the Towns of Delavan, Richmond and Darien, and the Village of Darien. The pledge to “Plan” has been realized through my implementation of long range planning at the Town of Delavan since elected as Town Chairman. I instituted a long term capital plan with careful consideration of expenditures and planning from all town committees. As a member of the Walworth County Board, I will continue to plan for the future and work to create and maintain the small town feel of this community. The pledge to “Protect” includes protecting our lakes, streams, waterways and farmland of Walworth County. It also means protecting our citizens by providing the resources that are needed by the Sheriff’s Department, Health Department and other municipal services. While Town Chair, we invested more in the Fire and Rescue departments during my term than during any other similar period of time since the 1980’s. We completed the largest lake management project since the 1980’s, and maintained a strong, dedicated police force through open contract negotiations and support of their capital needs. This was all accomplished while lowering the taxes for Town of Delavan citizens. As Walworth County Supervisor, I will build on the knowledge I have gained as Town Chairman and work with other County Supervisors to create the best possible county for all who live here and visit here.
  3. Do you have an opinion as to whether the county should consider selling Lakeland Health Care Center? If so, what are the reasons for your position? I believe that Lakeland Health Care Center should be maintained as a County entity.  The Health Care Center has provided valuable services for a number of years and provides a balance to private options that are available.  Lakeland Health Care Center should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that it maintains a high standard and remains a positive asset to the county.
  4. The county is currently debt free.  Do you think that it is realistic to expect to continue that position over the next few years, or are you concerned that it will not be possible to adequately fund needed services and projects within the projected revenue? If the latter, what particular concerns do you have? The county has been extremely fiscally responsible in recent years and I do not see a reason for that to change.  The county has the ability to remain debt free though the continued prudent use of funds.

Charlene Fell Staples

  1. What educational, professional, civic, and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office? 6 years as a Walworth County Supervisor- Chair of the Land Conservation Committee, Vice Chair of the Executive Cmte, Vice Chair Agriculture and  U.W. Extension Cmte, Secretary of Lakeland school Cmte, serving on 7 county committees. I retired early from my  county employment as a C.N.A. to bring that specialized experience. Two term President of Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (D.U.V.C.W.); Vice Regent Daughters of American Revolution (D.A.R.); Board member of Walworth County Historical Society, Walworth County Genealogy Society volunteer, Old World Wisconsin docent, I have spent most of my adult life in service to my community. Serving as a volunteer emergency medical technician (E.M.T.) for 12 years as a member of Darien EMS and the city of Delavan       Rescue squad.
  2. Name your top priorities for your term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and explain the reasons for your choices.  The continued concern for the health and welfare of our county,  this includes our County’s Emergency radio system and dispatch center, which is beyond its life expectancy.
  3. Do you have an opinion as to whether the county should consider selling Lakeland Health Care Center?  If so, what are the reasons for your position? My opinion is Walworth County has had a long history of providing for those of us that need assistance. Examples would include our Lakeland school and Lakeland Heath Care Center. I believe if we can continue to provide superior care for those people that need it we should continue to do so.
  4. The county is currently debt free.  Do you think that it is realistic to expect to continue that position over the next few years, or are you concerned that it will not be possible to adequately fund needed services and projects within the projected revenue? If the latter, what particular concerns do you have? As stated earlier we will soon need to replace our radio system. This is a huge ticket which will need to be bonded for. Any big project needs a steady and forward-moving approach.
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