Who's who in the midterm elections for Pierce County
October 10, 2018
Pierce County elections are coming up this November. There are many positions being voted on including sheriff, clerk of circuit court, Congressional District 3 and Representative Assembly District 30.
The Democratic nominee for local representative is Barry Hammerback. According to the President of the University of Wisconsin River Falls Democrats Jordan Brundidge, Hammerback is a well-known attorney, and has been representing farmers for 40 years. Hammerback lives in River Falls and wants to make changes in the community to make healthcare more affordable. He also wants to put money into the UW system. Professor of Political Science Neil Kraus mentions that “Hammerback has good name recognition.” Since he has been an attorney for four decades.
The Republican nominee is Shannon Zimmerman. According to the Chairman of UWRF college Republicans Josh Hanson, Zimmerman, the current representative of Assembly district 30, is running for re-election. Zimmerman is a local businessman who lives in River Falls. Hanson comments that Zimmerman is heavily involved in the university and is on the Chancellor's Advisory Committee and the Foundation Board. Hanson says “He takes student issues very seriously.” Zimmerman is very responsive to students, he has visited campus three times already, and his office has helped deal with issues in the past in professional and appropriate ways. Hanson mentions that,“It’s not a republican democrat thing, it’s someone who wants to be engaged with their local community.”
Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove, a Democrat, is running unopposed. Dove has held this seat for a long time. The sheriff is in charge of overseeing deputies, and unincorporated townships and municipalities. It is not uncommon in local politics to have someone running unopposed.
The County Clerk of Circuit Court will either be Kerry Feverheim on the Republican side, or Megan Erwin on the Democratic side. The Clerk of Circuit Court is a managerial role for the court system. Brundidge points out that Erwin attended UW- River Falls. Typically in local elections, the Clerk of Circuit will deal with more bipartisan issues.
Congressional District 3 has Steve Toft, a Republican, running against Ron Kind, a democrat. According to Kraus, Kind has been popular in River Falls for a while and may be difficult to beat. According to Ron Kind’s website, he has worked on several environmental issues, and served on the National Resources Committee for 14 years. He is from La Crosse, Wisconsin. Kind was nationally recognized in 2007 for his efforts“to move the farm bill away from cash-crop subsidies for wealthy agribusinesses and toward increased conservation to help more farmers in more regions of the country.”
According to Hanson, Toft’s campaign is mainly ran by students in the UW system. Toft’s campaign manager is Tom Rocque, a student at UW Eau Claire. Toft is a retired military colonel, and served his country for more than three decades. Toft was born and raised on a farm in central Wisconsin.
Voting is an important right that students are encouraged to be a part of. Brundidge said, “By voting you get to decide who makes the rules for your future here in River Falls. Be informed and elect people you trust.” The amount of students who vote is typically low. Though Kraus said that this year his students seem more involved in politics, and are paying attention more. Kraus predicts that turn out may be higher than usual in all areas of the country. Kraus advises students to, “Look at what the Republican and Democratic parties of Wisconsin are advocating. What do they say they want to do in regards to the UW system?” He also tells students not to rely on advertisements to get information.
Both UWRF political organizations have been working to increase awareness about voting. The UWRF Republicans and Democrats are working to organize a debate viewing party on the nominees for the Congressional district 3. They have both also passed out brochures and information on the candidates to students. Both groups have organized local leaders visiting campus, giving them a chance to meet students. Both organizations give information to group members and discuss elections during meetings. Brundidge mentions she even drives people to the polls on election day.
In order to be more informed about future elections, students can easily find out who is on the ballot by visiting myvote.wi.gov. Once students obtain the names on the ballot, they can then participate in looking into the candidates, or trying to meet with them if they visit campus. The advisor of the UWRF college Republicans and Professor of Management Brian Hoffman says, “I won’t vote if I’m ill prepared.” Hoffman says students should be well informed before they go make a decision. Local elections have a direct impact on the town and campus.