Four Republicans run for county clerk
By Jane Myhra
The four Republican candidates for Waupaca County Clerk were featured at a forum on Wednesday, July 20.
The candidates are Don Aasen, former Waupaca County Board supervisor; Jackie Beyer, Little Wolf town clerk; Jill Lodewegen, administrative assistant at Waupaca County Highway Department; and Kay Suehs, Waupaca County Accounts Payable Office.
The four Republican candidates will face off in the Aug. 9 primary, when one will be elected to run against Democrat Colleen McCoy in the Nov. 8 general election.
Audience members submitted questions which were read by Andy Herro, president of the Waupaca County Republican Party.
Why are you running for Waupaca County Clerk?
“One year ago we had an unsavory situation in our township,” Beyer said. “It made me realize that people in this county want more transparency. Having served seven years as a town clerk, I have the experience and judgment needed for this position.”
She said serving as a town clerk has helped her to develop job maturity and good judgment.
“Things need to be more transparent,” Beyer said. “Taxpayers need to be respected.”
“People asked me to run,” Lodewegen said. “I have the organizational and people skills, and I take on challenges.”
She listed her qualifications as having over 25 years of administrative experience and good customer service skills.
“I am able to work with anybody,” Lodewegen said.
“I have the knowledge, having served as deputy clerk,” Suehs said. “It was always a dream of mine that when Mary (Robbins) retired I would run for the position.”
“If I was elected, it would be a smooth transition with less training,” Suehs said. “I believe my experience makes me stand out from the other candidates.”
“I am between positions right now,” Aasen said. “It would be a great segue into the next section of my life. It is a perfect fit for me and good timing on Mary’s part.”
“A big part of the job is working with county supervisors and department heads,” he said. “I know them all and have worked with them all through the years. My wife and I have run a lot of businesses, so it’s easy for me to work with the public and I understand management.”
What changes do you foresee making to the county clerk’s office?
“The county clerk’s office follows rules and regulations, so it is best to first look at what is happening in the office,” Lodewegen said. “I bring years of administrative experience so I always look for ways to do things more efficiently to save taxpayers money.”
Lodewegen said she might consider having the office open later on one night a month, to better accommodate the people who work during the day.
“There are not a lot of changes you can make,” Suehs said. “The office needs to follow state regulations.”
“From being on the county board, I know the office sends out a lot of paperwork,” Aasen said. “The office should get more IT invested with county supervisors and assign them emails.”
While serving as a county supervisor, Aasen said he served on the IT Committee.
“I think Mary and her staff do a wonderful job,” Beyer said. “I might expand training for incoming town clerks and election workers.”
What plans do you have to save money in the clerk’s office or county board?
“I believe going online to supervisors would, in the long run, be a huge savings to Waupaca County,” Suehs said.
Aasen agreed. “It would also be a time savings thing,” he said. “I think there (are) a lot of things to explore.”
“Cost savings are hard to pinpoint when you’re not in the building,” Beyer said. “We could save on mileage with some rule changes. It’s just a thought, but if you’re trying to save money, everybody has to pitch in.”
“I love the tablet idea for county board members,” Lodewegen said. “The highway department does things online.”
Why are you running as a Republican? What principles of the Republican Party do you embrace?
“I grew up with Republican values,” Aasen said. “I do believe in the principles of the Republican Party more than anywhere else. That’s kind of where my heart is.”
“I felt the qualities of the Republican Party more closely match the way we live in my household,” Beyer said. “I embrace the party’s conservative values of don’t spend money until you have it, and give a hand-up, not a hand-out, that lasts forever.”
“I’m an American more than a Republican or a Democrat,” Lodewegen said. “I’m a conservative. My values are definitely more Republican, but I vote for the person.”
“I was raised in a strong Republican family,” Suehs said. “Family values are very important to me and it is important to me that I pass those values to my children.”
What is your most important mission as county clerk?
“To administer the laws, elections and administer the office as state laws specify with honesty and integrity,” Beyer said. “The most important mission is to do the best job you can and remember you work for the taxpayers of this county.”
“To follow the letter of the law and state statutes, and to educate election workers,” Lodewegen said.
“To serve the citizens of Waupaca County by providing the services they are entitled to,” Suehs said.
“Following state statutes goes without saying,” Aasen said. “The mission is to make sure you give people the answers and do it in a friendly way.”
How will you abide by the open records law?
“You always need to double check,” Lodewegen said. “When there is a question, I would check with corporate council.”
“I will go above and beyond to take care of citizens,” Suehs said. “I will help in any way I can.”
“By providing access to open records online, we could make things more accessible for all our citizens,” Aasen said.
“It doesn’t matter what the request is, the clerk must follow the state’s open records law,” Beyer said.