Dane County Board of Supervisors district 30 sites in the southwest corner of the county, containing Mount Horeb, Mount Vernon, and my hometown, Belleville.
The two candidates running for the seat are incumbent Pat Downing and newcomer Jerry O’Brien.
Pat Downing lives in Blanchardville and works as a builder of classical guitars and as a piano tuner. He has sat on the Dane County Board since 2006, as well as the chair of the Town of Perry from 1989 to 2013. For this race, he has been endorsed by Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the village president of both Belleville and Mount Horeb.
He served on the county’s Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources committee for 14 years, before being moved to the Public works committee where he works with the Broadband Task Force. He says that he is working outside of that task force to find new ways to bring reliable internet to his district.
“While the Broadband Task Force will get results down the road, Charter was given state money and has to use it in a certain amount of time. They selected three underserved areas, two of which are in my district, and I’m hoping we get some results from that,” Downing says.
O’Brien declined to talk with WORT about his campaign, and has not talked to any news outlets about his current election run. O’Brien joins a handful of the Wisconsin State Journal has termed “ghost candidates” – board supervisor candidates who have not spoken with news outlets about their campaign. O’Brien told the Wisconsin State Journal that he did not like how he was treated by media outlets in past elections.
O’Brien is a graduate of Belleville High School, where he continues to live and owns Road Rescue Towing. Previously, he had run against Downing for the Board seat in 2014, where he lost by an exactly two-to-one vote. At that time, he had spoken with the Wisconsin State Journal about his issues with the county, saying that he was concerned about the debt that the county had been taking on at the time.
O’Brien has no campaign website that lists his campaign platform.
Downing says that he is passionate about many issues here in the county, including his support for the new Dane County Jail.
“I recently took a stand to approve the building of a new jail. Public safety is important, I mean our mission as County Board Supervisors is to provide for the health, safety, and general well being of our constituents, so it’s hard to break it down to just one issue,” Downing says.
He says that his long tenure on the board has made him reliable to both his constituents and fellow board members.
“My experience, my proven track record of accomplishing things, I’ve been available to my constituents, I’ve been able to help him find answers and wade through the county departments if they had questions,” Downing says.
The 2022 spring election takes place on April 5th.
Photo courtesy: Dane County Board of Supervisors