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Plunkett, Fry campaign for county board position

March 13, 2008

On April 1, two of UW-River Falls’ more recognizable faces will be running for District 4 of the Pierce County Board.

Special Assistant to the Chancellor Blake Fry will be challenging incumbent UWRF student Ben Plunkett.

“The most important task a member of the Board of Supervisors is charged with is effectively representing the interests of their supervisory district,” Fry said.

The duties of county board members include setting policies, approving budgets, making laws for the county and serving on various committees.

Plunkett first came into office when he received 10 votes as a write-in candidate in 2006, which was enough for him to come away with the win.

“I ran for election the first time to advance the issues and factors that I believe make Pierce County a better place to live, and to get the maximum value possible for my tax dollars,” Plunkett said.

In his first term Plunkett worked on several county committees, including human services, board of health, law enforcement, solid waste and industrial development.

This will be Fry’s first time running for public office, but he is not new to administrative positions.

“I have provided this type of leadership to colleges and universities throughout my career and I am committed to doing the same as a member of the Pierce County Board of Supervisors,” Fry said.

Before coming to UWRF, Fry had worked as the Director of Campus Life at the University of Central Oklahoma and the Director of Student Activities and Webmaster at Avila University.

The county board seat is non-partisan, so the candidates run independently of party affiliation. They do come from varying political backgrounds.

Plunkett is involved with College Democrats, but Fry is not affiliated with any party. 

“I am one of an increasing number of independent voters,” Fry said. “A perfect example is that in the last three presidential elections, I have voted for candidates from three different political parties.”
Both candidates have specific aims if they win.

“My primary goal is to assist the county in preparing for growth with fiscal and environmental responsibility,” Fry said. “I am also dedicated to ensuring the county is properly prepared for emergency situations.”

Plunkett will be working on things such as encouraging land use that plans for future fuel shortages and reducing prison populations in Pierce County.

“Every dollar we spend on incarceration is a dollar we don’t have for any other use,” Plunkett said.

He will also be introducing legislation on overtime for hourly employees and mandatory paid sick time for food service workers.

Fry and Plunkett are working to gain support .

Plunkett has participated in candidate forums and talked to voters in his district.

“Up to this point, I have been speaking with leaders in Pierce County and River Falls about my candidacy,” Fry said. “I am planning a more aggressive publicity campaign as we get closer to the April 1 election date.