When voters head to the polls on Tues., April 5, they will choose between businessman and County Supervisor Ken Hall and Register of Deeds Jim Ladwig to serve as the next Racine County Executive.
Responsibilities of the County Executive include the day-to-day operations of county departments and appoints department heads for non-elected positions. The County Executive in Racine County is a non-partisan office with a four-year term first established in 1975.
The Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant and Caledonia Patch websites asked Hall and Ladwig the same three questions. Hall's responses will run in a separate story.
What do you feel is the primary issue facing the county/county residents?
There are many important issues facing our community. One is the need for economic development and private sector job creation. Government doesn't create jobs, but we have to be a partner in attracting new jobs and development, while helping existing business retain jobs and grow their workforce.
A second, but equally important focus, should be working harder and smarter with less state funds, and making the necessary hard decisions to balance the future budgets without those state funds. We do not have the means nor the will to raise taxes; therefore, we will work diligently and creatively to fill potential shortfalls while maintaining the quality services that Racine County residents desire.
Given the autonomous governments in Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant, why should residents continue to have a vested interest in county government?
Notwithstanding the incorporation of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant into villages, Racine County will be playing an even more vital role in the future on both the east and west ends of the County. Racine County can, should and must be the overlying layer of government that can foster and coordinate the critically needed sharing of services and resources among all of the municipalities in Racine County. Only through meaningful intergovernmental cooperation, which Racine County is in a unique position to help create and facilitate, will the individual municipalities be able to not only survive in these challenging economic times, but successfully thrive and prosper.
What should the county do to promote economic development and redevelopment?
Economic development and private sector job creation has been my top priority since the start of the campaign and will continue to be my main focus if I'm elected. I plan on initiating an Economic Summit, which will include local, state and federal govermental leaders, small, medium and large business owners/executives, and local labor leaders working as a team. We will have an open dialogue and formulate a plan to provide Racine County with a roadmap to attract new development/jobs and allow existing businessess to retain jobs and grow their businesses.
We have to make sure that government is providing business owners with a climate that allows them to survive and thrive, by not over-taxing and over-regulating. Government has to make sure that we find ways to help existing and new businesses cut through the procedural govermental red tape. I also want to set up retention visits with existing businesses of various sizes. I need to make sure the lines of communication are open, so we can work together to retain our current businesses. We need to listen to find out what government is doing well and where we can improve, allowing businesses to prosper.
Lastly, I want to make personal contact with any new business that is considering locating in Southeastern Wisconsin. I want to meet with them and discuss the wonderful opportunities available in our great County. I'm going to "sell" them on our county. I don't believe that you can understate the importance of building a relationship or familiarity between any potential new business and the County Executive. It is important for businesses to know that the County Executive is engaged, available, and willing to work with business.