District 34 on the Dane County Board of Supervisors represents McFarland, and some areas around Stoughton and Oregon.
The two candidates running for the seat are incumbent Patrick Miles and Herb Taylor.
Miles has represented this district on the Dane County Board since 2006, and had previously ran for the State Assembly in 2012, losing in the democratic primary. Miles first got involved in local politics in 2000, when he was elected as a village trustee in the town of McFarland.
Miles says that he is running for reelection because he still sees value in what he provides to the community.
“I continue to have that same enthusiasm and appreciation for work that I bring but also the partnerships and work that I do with others that I’m able to do, and there’s things I still want to accomplish,” Miles says.
Taylor did not respond to multiple requests for comment on his campaign over the past week.
Taylor’s campaign website states that he first moved to McFarland in 2012 after graduating from U-W Madison in 2008 with a history degree. He now owns several liquor stores around the Madison area.
Taylor says that he is running because he wants to see more representation on the county board. He tells the Oregon Observer that he believes that diversity of thought is the most important form of diversity, and that he would like to see the removal of what he calls groupthink from the board.
In that same interview, Taylor said that one of the most important issues facing the county is over-politicization. He says that applying political solutions to non-political problems, such as education and public health, ends up with nothing being done to solve the issues.
Another issue that Taylor says he wants to address is criminal justice reform. In an interview with The Herald Independent and McFarland Thistle, he says that criminal justice reform has come to mean not enforcing the law, and that crime rates have risen dramatically throughout the county. According to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, arrests had slightly dropped between 2020 and 2021.
Miles says that there are a variety of issues he is concerned with, from small scale projects like addressing trailheads in his district, to creating equity-focused criminal justice reform.
Miles also says that he wants to help the county grow financially after the pandemic.
“I’m chairperson on the finance (committee), and that puts me in a unique position of seeing and providing oversight for the pandemic, and as we come out of the pandemic, to look towards recovery. We have the federal funds that we have received and (they) have been incredibly helpful, and the county executive has targeted several uses for those and we as the board have required that certain levels of information come from the departments to make sure those dollars are being used effectively, and as we move forward over the next couple of years that we are keeping a close eye on where the most acute needs are and making adjustments as we need to,” Miles says.
Taylor says that he is running because he doesn’t like how Patrick Miles is representing the district. In an interview with the McFarland Thistle, Taylor accused Miles of defunding the police through his push to end certain jail fees. But Miles says that, not only is it not true that he has tried to take away police money, but he actually voted to increase police funding in last year’s budget.
Miles says that his years on the board, and his willingness to talk with people about his platform, makes him a better representative of his district.
“Up until very recently, my opponent hasn’t been communicating with people about who he is and what he stands for. The experience that I have, and the leadership role that I play on the county board just makes me a more effective and productive representative of our district than someone coming in without that experience,” Miles says.
The 2022 spring election takes place next Tuesday on April 5th. A reminder that if you are voting absentee, be sure to submit your absentee ballot sooner rather than later to make sure that your vote is counted on election day.
Photo courtesy: Dane County Board of Supervisors