News Today – Political newcomer challenges 15-year incumbent in District 15 County Board race | Elections

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CALEDONIA — In the race for the District 15 seat on the Racine County Board, the incumbent who’s been on the board 15 years hopes to keep his spot as a political newcomer challenges him.

District 15 covers the northeast portion of Caledonia.

Incumbent John Wisch has been on the board since 2007. Christian de Jong has not held elected office.

The candidates have degrees from institutions practically down the road from each other. Wisch received his bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from Carthage College. De Jong received his bachelor’s degree in sustainable business management from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

The District 15 candidates were asked to submit written responses to three questions, given below.

More than half of Racine County’s tax levy is spent on law enforcement. Do you think local government should cut back on law enforcement spending or continue making it by far the county’s highest tax levy priority?

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Christian de Jong

de Jong

DE JONG: I believe that the budgets of county resources should be based on the services. The County Board reviews those services and budgets to provide oversight. If the sheriff puts together a budget for the services asked of it, then it is reasonable to spend at those levels. In order to decrease law enforcement spending, which I agree is a priority, we should ask which services are provided by other departments. Specifically, resources to deal with mental health to prevent citizens from reaching the point where law enforcement is the first (and sometimes only) resource that tries to help them.

John Wisch


WISCH: I feel we need to keep law enforcement a high priority, particularly with the increase in crime that we’ve had since the pandemic hit. I have been on the finance committee for all but two years that I’ve been on the County Board. In the budget hearings, I have always been diligent in requesting justification of the spending of various departments, especially in regards to the Sheriff’s Department. I have often challenged what I believe to be overuse of overtime pay, however I understand that finding quality law enforcement has been difficult in recent times, and appreciate that we are doing our due diligence to hire and maintain highly qualified individuals to serve our county. I credit our county executive for his efforts in configuring the budget to assure it comes in where projected as a whole.

What other issues do you see in the race?

DE JONG: In addition to mental health resources, I would champion reducing food insecurity for our citizens and balancing development in the county with protecting our natural resources. Also at issue are the funds that Racine County has been given to help during and in the aftermath of the pandemic. These funds should be used to meet our current needs, but more importantly, they should be used to create a safer and healthier place for all of us to live in the generations to come.

WISCH: The County Board has always been a non-partisan position and I think it’s important to keep it that way. There has been a big push this term to flip the board towards one party or another. While I am fiscally conservative, I am not affiliated with either party, which I feel is an asset to my constituents. I think it’s important that we represent our constituents fairly and vote for each issue individually rather than pushing a particular political agenda when it comes to the decisions we make as a board.

Why should voters choose you for County Board?

DE JONG: I am a candidate that is willing to have dialog with all members of the board in order to reach our goals, and will not shy away from the work involved with board meetings, committee meetings and community outreach. I believe that these qualities are all distinct from the current incumbent and I will provide an ear and a voice for the all citizens in the 15th District.

WISCH: I’ve been on the board for almost 15 years and have developed relationships with many of my constituents, who trust that I have their best interest at heart with every decision that comes to the board. I have always taken my oath to them and our county very seriously, and if re-elected I will continue to do so.

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