Wis. votes on Tuesday



After Buffalo-Pepin Counties Circuit Court Judge James Duvall decided not to seek re-election, two experienced candidates will compete in Tuesday’s election for Duvall’s seat as the lone judge in Buffalo and Pepin counties.

The first candidate, Tom Clark, currently serves as the Buffalo County District Attorney, acting as the head prosecutor in the county and the legal advisor to the County Board.


The second candidate, Roger Hillestad, currently serves as the Buffalo-Pepin Counties Circuit Court Family Court commissioner and is a private attorney with his own practice in Durand, Wis. Family court commissioners preside over divorce, paternity, child-support, and child-custody cases.

“I think I’m the best qualified for the position with the experience I’ve had,” Hillestad said in an interview. Clark was not immediately available for comment. Clark’s website describes him as having “a compassionate approach to outcomes in criminal cases involving victims of crime — fair, firm and constructive consequences for offenders.” Hillestad described himself as a conservative, adding, “I think criminal justice needs to have swift responses to criminal acts.”

Hillestad’s campaign was ruffled, however, when the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office charged him in late February with eight counts of violating state law by allegedly selling home-brewed beer from his garage in Durand. The charges included operating as a brewer without a permit, selling or manufacturing alcoholic beverages without an appropriate license, and failure to pay the fermented malt beverage taxes, among other charges.

“I’ve never sold beer out of my garage,” Hillestad said. “I’m a home brewer, and when people stop by I offer them beer, just as most people would do when people stop by. ‘Hi, how are you doing? Would you like something to drink? This is my new batch, would you like to try it?’ And if people wanted to donate, they certainly could. I think there was some miscommunication with the state undercover agents and them throwing some money out as a donation and calling it a sale.”

According to the criminal complaint, Wisconsin Department of Revenue Special Agent Mario Altuzar went undercover to investigate a complaint about Hillestad. Altuzar reported that Hillestad’s garage was set up to look like a tavern, and that when Altuzar asked how much a growler cost, “[Hillestad] replied that a growler was $10 filled and $7 for a refill.” The case also alleges that there was a Facebook page for a “Durand Brewing Company” that listed Hillestad’s address as its own.

“I think the timing of that case is pretty politically suspect,” Hillestad said in an interview. Altuzar’s reported sting took place on August 4, 2017. The Attorney General’s Office filed charges on February 27, 2018. The first appearance in the case is scheduled for April 30. Hillestad is up for election this Tuesday, April 3.

“The case was issued last month because it was ready to be issued, and withholding [the charges] until after the election would be inappropriate and allow a possible public health risk to continue,” Wisconsin Department of Justice Director of Communications Johnny Koremenos stated. “This case was not filed because of the defendant’s candidacy for circuit court judge,” he added.

Wis. election day is Tuesday, April 3

The judgeship is not the only seat up for election. On Tuesday, voters in Buffalo and Trempealeau counties will chose City Council members, mayors, village trustees, and entire County Boards. Challengers are taking on incumbents in a few races, and the Arcadia School District is asking voters’ approval for $4-million bond referendum that would help fund a $16-million middle school gym and community center.
To see a sample ballot and find polling places, visit myvote.wi.gov.

Statewide referendum 

Elimination of state treasurer
Voters will be asked to vote yes or no on this ballot question: “Shall sections 1 and 3 of article VI and sections 7 and 8 of article X of the constitution be amended, and section 17 of article XIV of the constitution be created, to eliminate the office of state treasurer from the constitution and to replace the state treasurer with the lieutenant governor as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands?”

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

Justice of the Supreme Court
Rebecca Dallet
Michael Screnock

Trempealeau County Board of Supervisors
There is not a single contested race on the Trempealeau County Board. Incumbents Ernest Vold (District 17, Osseo) and Dick Miller (District 8, Blair and part of the towns of Preston and Ettrick) are not seeking relection. Former board member Ron Johnson is running unopposed for Vold’s seat, and newcomer Randy Tollefson is running for Miller’s. Miller served for 10 years on the County Board, but Vold has him beat by a long shot. “He’s decided to hang it up after 51 years on the board,” County Clerk Paul Syverson said of Vold.

District 1
Richard Frey (i)
District 2
Douglas Winters (i)
District 3
Sally A. Miller (i)
District 4
Richard Doc Sacia (i)
District 5
Jon W. Schultz (i)
District 6
George Brandt (i)
District 7
Beth Killian (i)
District 8
Randy Tollefson
District 9
Michelle Gandyra-Haines (i)
District 10
John Aasen (i)
District 11
Charles Walek (i)
District 12
Tim Zeglin (i)
District 13
Olin C. Fimreite (i)
District 14
Michael Nelson (i)
District 15
Jeanne Harris Nutter (i)
District 16
Curtis Skoyen (i)
District 17
Ron Johnson

Buffalo County Board of Supervisors
Current board chair Douglas Kane (District 7, towns of Modena, Alma, and Gilmanton) faces one of only two competitive races in Tuesday’s election. Challenger Max Weiss is vying for the District 7 seat.

District 1
Bernard Brunkow (i)
District 2
Don Black (i)
District 3
Lou Anne Roby (i)
Jon Seipel
District 4
Donald Hillert (i)
District 5
Scott. S. Smith (i)
District 6
Nathan L. Nelson (i)
District 7
Douglas Kane (i)
Max Weiss
District 8
Larry A. Grisen (i)
District 9
David Danzinger (i)
District 10
Nettie Rosenow (i)
District 11
Dennis Bork (i)
District 12
John B. Kriesel (i)
District 13
Mike Taylor (i)
District 14
Mary Anne McMillan Urell (i)

Buffalo-Pepin Counties Circuit Court

Circuit Court Judge
Thomas W. Clark
Roger M. Hillestad

Arcadia School District
School Board member (Vote for not more than two)
Michael E. Edmunds (i)
David J. Frahm
Rob Hurlburt
Randy Nilsestuen (i)

Arcadia referendum
Voters will be asked to vote on whether to allow to school district to borrow “an amount not to exceed $4,000,000 for the purpose of paying a portion of the costs of constructing and equipping a new gym and locker room facility as part of a new community center addition to the Middle/High School.” If the referendum is approved, the Ronald & Joyce Wanek Foundation would contributed $12 million. If fundraising an additional $1,250,000 were to be successful, a community library would be added to the project.

C-FC School District
Incumbents Sue Pronschinske and Steve Scharlau are not seeking re-election. Newcomer Dennis Oldendorf and former School Board member Bonnie Breza are running for the two vacant seats. Breza’s name will not be on the ballot, but she has registered as a write-in candidate, according to the school district.

School Board member (vote for not more than two)
Bonnie Breza (registered write-in candidate)
Dennis Oldendorf

G-E-T School District

School Board member, at-large
Mark Kopp (i)
School Board member, city of Galesville
Paul Kinzer (i)
School Board member, Town of Trempealeau
Cooper Richason
Todd Roessler (i)

City of Arcadia

Robert Reichwein (i)
Alderperson, 1st Ward
Adam Schlesser (i)
Alderperson, 2nd Ward
Kevin Mayzek (i)
Alderperson, 3rd Ward
Marlys Kolstad (i)

Buffalo City

Ross Lorenz Jr. (i)
Council member (vote for not more than two)
Jeannie Czaplewski (i)
Ben Holien (i) (registered write-in)

Fountain City

Mayor Kevin Hutter did not file for re-election. Bobbi Farrand is running unopposed for the mayorship.
Bobbi Farrand
Alderperson, 1st Ward
Cheryl Braatz
Judith Ganger (i)

City of Galesville

Vince Howe
John Ph. Graf (i)
Alderperson, 1st Ward
No candidates
Alderperson, 2nd Ward
Kelly L. Kreger (i)
Alderperson, 3rd Ward
Jean A. Wallner

Village of Cochrane

Village Trustee (vote for not more than three)
Dallas Dworschack (i)
Charles Speltz (i)
Kari Wilde (i)

Village of Ettrick

Village Trustee (vote for not more than three)
Matthew Theisen (i)
Joshua Hanson (i)
Peter Filla (i)

Village of Trempealeau

Village Trustee (vote for not more than three)
Kit Locke (i)
Lois Taylor (i)
Bridgette Turner


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