The Dane County Board’s district 25 sits in the northern part of Dane County and contains the village of Waunakee.
Incumbent Tim Kiefer has served on the board since 2012, and works as a criminal defense lawyer in Madison. Kiefer is one of the few conservative voices on the board, having recently voted to end Dane County’s mask mandate in January and to increase the budget of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department last year. Both of those resolutions failed.
Kiefer says that he is seeking reelection to focus on public safety issues in his district.
“I think we need to have more sheriff deputies on the roads protecting us. I think that’s particularly important for those of us who live in Waunakee where essentially the only ways in and out of our community is on the county highways. I’m really going to try and focus on public safety, not just the deputies on the road, but also making sure the jail gets fixed. Without the jail, that’s just one part of the criminal justice system for keeping people safe and we need to get that project done. I think the biggest issue that’s for voters is the issue of public safety, and that’s something I’m really committed to,” Kiefer says.
He’s facing off against challenger Carlos Umpierre. In a statement, Umpierre, told WORT that running and connecting with individual voters has been exciting and exhilarating, and that he wants to create safe streets and a focus on basic government services.
Umpierre was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, moving to the mainland US in 2002. He moved to the Waunakee area in 2020, and currently works at a private financial institution in Madison.
On the Carlos Umpierre for Dane County Board Facebook page, the only online presence for his campaign, Umpierre said that he is passionate about both freedom of speech and freedom of religion, though he did not expand on where he sees this issue in Dane County.
Umpierre also stated on his Facebook page that he did not support how Dane County handled the pandemic. He said that both of his two daughters were greatly affected when schools were shut down in the beginning of the pandemic, and that the impacts of the overreaching decisions are only now starting to become known.
Kiefer says that one of the biggest issues he sees affecting the county in the next two years is the Dane County Jail. He says that the current jail in the city-county building is unsafe and outdated, and that if action isn’t taken soon, the jail may be forcibly closed by either a court ruling or a natural disaster event that would make the jail unsafe.
Kiefer says he also wants to tackle deteriorating roadways that connect Waunakee to Madison.
“ Highway M, which is the highway that crosses the north side of Lake Mendota, that was basically at one point a rural country road and gradually has turned into more of a busy highway and it has way too much traffic and is just unsafe. There’s no safe space for pedestrians, there’s no safe space for bicycles, so highway M is going to be extensively reengineered to allow it to take more traffic, as well as to provide bike paths and bike lanes. It’s a project that needs to get done, and I want to be on the county board to see that project through,” Kiefer says.
Kiefer tells the Wisconsin State Journal he’s not sure what issues his opponent is running on. . But he says that, regardless, the board has important upcoming votes that will make learning on the job difficult.
“I know that for myself, I have 10 years of experience on the county board. The county board, like any other job, benefits from having experience. I think now is a time, with big decisions coming up, you want to have someone that’s experienced representing Waunakee. It’s not necessarily the best time to be learning on the job when we have big votes coming up on things like the jail consolidation project, and the county budget, and public safety, and transportation,” Kiefer says.
The 2022 spring election takes place next Tuesday. Polls open at 7am and close at 8 pm.
Photo courtesy: Dane County Board of Supervisors