Candidates seek open position
By Robert Cloud
With Mary Robbins Will retiring after 26 years in office, five candidates are now in the race for Waupaca County clerk.
Seeking to replace her are Jackie Beyer, Jill Lodewegen, Colleen McCoy, Kay Suehs and Don Aasen.
Since all of the candidates are running as Republicans, the partisan primary on Tuesday, Aug. 9, should determine the outcome of the election.
Four of the candidates responded to questions from the Waupaca County Post. Aasen did not respond in time for this week’s paper.
She is the town clerk for Little Wolf, a position she has held for four terms. She served as a town supervisor for one term prior to being elected to the clerk’s position.
“I also chair the town’s Planning Commission, and am on the Board of Adjustment for Waupaca County,” Beyer said.
Beyer served as the chair of the Farmland Preservation Committee for Waupaca County and was a member of the Core Planning Committee. “I feel the most important accomplishment I can claim, as one of the group that worked on it, is the Farmland Preservation in Waupaca County. The contribution of agriculture to our county’s economy is so important, and I am proud to say I helped make it a reality,” Beyer said.
A 1981 graduate of New London Senior High School, Beyer attended one year at the technical school, majoring in accounting.
She worked as a bookkeeper and in sales for Dennison’s Building and Supply for three years.
“After that I work for the National Farmers Organization out of Neenah. I was in charge of making sure the farmers got paid correctly for the milk they shipped. I also was tasked with assisting the fieldmen, and working with the milk plants,” Beyer said.
In 1993, Beyer and her husband bought his parents’ farm in Little Wolf.
“For the last 23 years my husband, Rod, and I have been dairy farmers on land that has been in his family for over 140 years,” Beyer said. “We have two grown daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, and our son, Aaron. Aaron is 21 and lives at home, and helps on the farm besides his full-time job at Kolbe and Kolbe.”
Since July 2013, Beyer has served as the secretary and treasurer for the Manawa Fire and Ambulance. She has also been on the Church Council, Board of Youth, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Symco.
I am running for County Clerk because I appreciate the process of local government and upholding the integrity of that process. Especially the election processes,” Beyer said. “I feel very qualified to do this as county clerk, with my town experience.”
Beyer said she believes that checks and balances are important to ensuring the integrity of government.
She had a major role in the investigation of Little Wolf’s former town treasurer, who was convicted of embezzling $200,000 in township property taxes over 15 years and from the Little Wolf Cemetery.
“I hope to take what I learned and use it to better the whole county,” Beyer said.
“I started out as the administrative assistant. Because of my willingness to take on more I grew the position and was awarded a re-class and the title of highway office specialist,” Lodewegen said.
Prior to working with the county, she worked for F + W Media, (Krause Publications) in Iola for 21 years.
Lodewegen began her career there for 11 years in the human resource department, then took the position of retail sales support technician, was promoted to an event planner and sales support group manager, then promoted to an administrative director position.
“I feel my qualifications and background will allow me to serve the citizens of Waupaca County well as the next county clerk,” Lodewegen said. “The combination of my county experience as well as my private industry experience combines the understanding of the uniqueness of working for the government with my knowledge of private business practices.”
Lodewegen noted that the county clerk is not responsible for setting the county’s policies.
“This position follows the statues to ensure that its citizens are treated equally and have a voice. My job as county clerk will be to do those things but also to do them in the most efficient way possible which will help save time and money,” Lodewegen said. “Along with those duties I will be working very closely with county board members and all town, village and city officials whom I’m already familiar with.”
A 1986 graduate of Iola-Scandinavia High School, Lodewegen attended Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, where she received an associate’s degree in 1988.
“My family and I started the Iola community Thanksgiving dinner back in 1993 and continue through 2014,” Lodewegen said regarding her civic involvement. “Last year our church took that over. Besides my role with the cooking, serving, etc., I was also the person that did most of the paperwork for the event.”
Lodewegen also taught Sunday school for her church for about 12 years, served as co-superintendent for the Sunday school for more than five years and was on the youth and education committee.
She believes her prior professional experience will help her serve the citizens of Waupaca County and save them money by streamlining processes and being as efficient as possible.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with many towns as well as villages and cities in my role as the program administrator for the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) which is a funding program for roads,” Lodewegen said. “I have helped many of them create appealing applications in order to get additional LRIP funding that is competed for statewide. I’m also in charge of the seasonal weight permits and was able to streamline the process to allow me to issue them much more quickly and efficiently.”
She has served as chair of the Wisconsin Towns Association, Waupaca Unit from 2013 to present and served as secretary and treasurer from 2009 to 2013.
McCoy has also served on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Municipal Clerk’s Association as treasurer, finance committee and mentoring of new clerks from 2014 to present and served as district co-director Unit 7 from 2010 to 2014.
“My most important accomplishment in public service will be when Jurnie’s Shelter, a domestic violence shelter, is no longer a dream but a reality in Waupaca County,” McCoy said. “There are a handful of survivors of domestic violence and we are working hard to make it possible, so victims of domestic violence have a safe place to go.”
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Jurnie’s Shelter.
McCoy has also worked for five years on the fundraiser for the Rural Health Initiative Wine and Cheese Tasting to benefit “kitchen wellness” in the agriculture community.
She has also been involved with the Lind Center Beavers 4-H Club as a project leader and was a member of the Waupaca County Master Gardener Association and served as treasurer for four years.
McCoy graduated from Weyauwega-Fremont High School in 1976, attended Fox Valley Technical College for classes in accounting and graduated from World Wide College of Auctioneering in 2007.
She was a member of the Leadership Waupaca County Class of 2009-10 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay Clerks Institute’s three-year program.
McCoy worked for the Waupaca County Post in advertising and classified sales, owned and operated South Side Cheese and Liquor for nine years, was a partner in Hudziak-McCoy Auction Service for five years and worked as the office manager for Jay-Mar Inc. in Waupaca for 15 years until it closed in November 2014.
“Though continuing education and experience, I have developed quality leadership skills that will prove beneficial in the key role of county clerk,” McCoy said. “Having advance communication skills, being able to handle conflict and adversity in a calm confident, rational matter – these are qualities that are needed in serving Waupaca County’s six cities, six villages, 22 townships and governed by 27 county board supervisors.”
“My family and I have been especially interested in raising and showing Hampshire sheep. My husband’s family has raised sheep for five generations, starting with his grandfather, his father, his siblings and since then our children and now our grandchildren,” Suehs said.
The Suehs family has been heavily involved in the market animal program and is still active in showing sheep all over the United States. She has served on various sheep project and 4-H committees.
“I have enjoyed working with the youth and the sheep program volunteering my time,” Suehs said. “I am especially proud of my children and grandchildren in their accomplishments because of the high quality they possessed in showing sheep at the various county, state and national levels.”
Suehs has been a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Manawa since she was a child. She played the piano for Sunday School and then church services. She has also served on the church council and worked as the church secretary and financial secretary over the past 20 years.
After being a stay-at-home mom, Suehs started working part time for the Manawa School District as a bus driver, transporting children with disabilities from Manawa to Marion.
In 1993, she went to work part time at Waupaca County Industries in Manawa, where she formed relationships with staff and clients.
“I then accepted a full-time position at the Waupaca County Courthouse in 1995. For 19 years I worked in the Finance Department and for two years as the deputy county clerk. The deputy county clerk position gave me the insight to learn and know what is expected from the county clerk,” Suehs said.
“I am running for county clerk because I feel that I have a lot of experience in government and want to make sure to maintain the same level of excellence as is being done by our present county clerk,” Suehs said. “I also have two sisters that work in government and I feel they will be a great asset to me in the county clerk position.”
Suehs and her husband currently own the Waupaca Equipment Rental Center, where she is responsible for the finances of the business. They have three grown children and 12 grandchildren.