Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review will publish a series of Q&As in the days leading up to the April 3 spring election for contested seats in the Wausau metro area. For a sample ballot and general election information, visit the Marathon County election information page. Watch for more election coverage and be sure to bookmark our elections page here. Candidates, listed in alphabetical order, were given the opportunity to answer identical questions in the interest of fairness. Their unedited answers are listed below.

Letters to the editor are encouraged through Monday, April 2. Email editor@wausaupilotreview-newspack.newspackstaging.com.


Marathon County Board of Supervisors, District 21

Shawn Black, Challenger

Age 53, lives in Weston. Occupation: Senior pastor, U.S. government advisor

Government Experience:

  • It has been an Honor to have served for over twenty years as a member of the U.S. Army (82nd Airborne), as a Police Officer, Investigator and Federal Agent. In addition to these U.S. Government roles held domestically and internationally, I have served as an U.S. Congress guest Chaplin, Advisor with the Department of Defense and the White House.

Community Involvement:

I presently serve as a SAFER Fire Commissioner with the South Area Fire and Emergency Response District. It is an honor to serve as a commissioner and to serve our emergency responders.

-In addition to this volunteer commissioner role, I serve as a Chaplin and Senior Pastor. It is my pleasure and joy to provide free counseling to Veterans and their families. It is an honor to serve our nations U.S. Armed Forces and discussing solutions with our communities’ economic, alcohol and drug related challenges.

Political affiliation:

I have been fortunate as a youth to “spar” with a few family dinners over political opinions and parties. Like most Americans, this event holds true today as a unique American tradition. I can certainly relate and value the strengths and the weaknesses of both political parties. And I certainly enjoy working with all parties, groups and reaching across the aisle together in serving our community. I believe that is what the voters and the residents desire from our Marathon County public servants.

Question: Why are you running for office?

Answer: I believe there are many challenges that face Marathon County and our affected individual communities today. As a member of the community, I would like to serve Marathon County by working together with other community leaders in solving these issues and contributing to the future of Marathon County.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing county officials in the next two years?   

A: Like many of the County leaders, I believe that the economic Budgeting challenges and those involving health and public safety continue to take center stage in our community. We must continue to work in identifying a multi -prong approach in the public and private sectors to address our Opioid crisis, health care issues and the Marathon County Sheriff Corrections (jail) and court system challenges. We must work together in supporting and ensuring the safety, health and community care of all our Marathon County residents.

Q: If new resources were available, what one area of county services would you feel most needs additional resources?

A: This is a difficult question as there are different departments and needs that are viewed on the same critical level. I believe that prioritizing our immediate community need and safety issues will balance our response in a fair and timely manor and help us in meeting these critical challenges within the County.

Q: Should any part of the county budget be shielded from cuts? And if so, which area?

A: The role of a County leader is a difficult one. With competing department interests, budget requirements and various needs, I believe that County Departments must work from a team approach. A good place to start from a management view is with a fair and individual audit of each county department. This ensures that checks and balances are met, a level playing field with negotiations and that all departments can help collectively with the County’s goals of public service and meeting the needs of all our county residents.

Q: What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county? 

A:  In keeping with the County’s current investment in our buildings and infrastructure, we must continue to preserve and maintain our investments with existing assets across a wide range of departments and programs. I believe that the safety and security improvements of County workers within the courthouse and our healthcare facilities are priority.

Q: What is your assessment of the county’s overall financial position? Where do the biggest threats to the county’s financial stability lie?

A: As in any County or Government organization, the policy and economic outlook is only as good as the team implementing it and ensuring proper controls. Marathon County continues to grow and the economic outlook is projected to be one of growth and opportunity. To ensure this future outlook and forecast, we must remain vigilant in streamlining county services that will reduce waste and duplication. We must continue to address a proper functioning capitol policy, maintain a fair and accurate general fund policy and work harder at accounting and administrative controls which reduce our debt.

Q: What is your vision and strategy for addressing the opioid addiction crisis?

A: In responding from a faith based and Law Enforcement background, I believe that a multi prong approach with the public and private sector can be effective. Government and non profit groups can and should partner with companies and groups which have an interest in eliminating addiction, reducing crime and reducing our incarceration rate while providing an economic future. It should be our goal in supporting those residents who wish to become productive members of society and working toward a fresh start in breaking the chains of drug and alcohol addiction.

Q: What, specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for the people of Marathon County?

  • I believe we live in a wonderful, thriving community with Marathon County. Our county with our residents, education systems and dedicated public servants helps all residents who wish to grow and achieve the American Dream. I believe that safety, education, healthcare and opportunities for our residents are all well within our reach, if we all work together to and share the vision of a prosperous and generous community.

Q: Anything else you’d like voters to know?

A: I have greatly enjoyed serving within Marathon County and working alongside so many dedicated public and private groups. I believe that by working together and contributing our skills and experience, which we can continue to build upon the great foundation that has been built in Marathon County. I look forward to working and serving Marathon County residents. Thank you.


Thomas Rosenberg, Challenger

Age 66, 28-year homeowner in Weston. Currently retired. Former 2-term  business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers, 20 years at the Weston Power Plant, 13 years as a manufacturing rep for an environmental pollution abatement company.

Government experience: Three terms on the D.C. Everest School Board

Political affiliation: None

Question: Why are you running for office?  

Answer: With reduced responsibilities and obligations in retirement, I felt it was time to once again engage more in my community in addition to observing that my County Board supervisor has been unable to attend to many Board meetings.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing county officials in the next two years?  

A: Budget issues in a limited revenue environment.  Mining regulations that assure a quality environment for future County residents.  Possible Jail expansion and issues with incarceration.  North Central Health Care renovations and operations along with possible issues surrounding the UWMC merger with UWSP.

Q: If new resources were available, what one area of county services would you feel most needs additional resources?  

A: Seek ways to reduce wait times for court proceedings and alternatives to incarceration.  Improve maintenance on roads and bridges.  Make the County more attractive to mental heath professionals with the goal of mitigating crime, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide.  Support attracting young adults and families with quality employment and recreational activities.

Q: Should any part of the county budget be shielded from cuts? And if so, which area?  

A: Much of the County’s budget is obligations passed down from State Government.  Continued investment in more effective and efficient ways of performing these functions can result in lower costs in selected areas while maintaining the quality of services.  That said, everything is always on the table.

Q: What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county?  

A: Maintaining improving high quality roads and bridges throughout the County.  Making decision on the County Jail expansion along with how Marathon County uses incarceration.  North Central Heath Care building renovations.

Q: What is your assessment of the county’s overall financial position? Where do the biggest threats to the county’s financial stability lie?  

A: Historically, Marathon County has been very fiscally conservative which serves the County’s taxpayers well going forward. Pressure on the budget comes from the State imposed revenue limits along with reduced Federal and State aid to meet the County’s obligations. Spending smaller amounts today can often reduce the necessity for major spending in the future, but only if the funds are available at the opportune time.

Q: What is your vision and strategy for addressing the opioid addiction crisis?  

A: Continue seeking and implementing proven alternatives to incarceration for low level drug crimes while making the culture for dealers a very risky and costly pursuit.

Q: What, specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for the people of Marathon County?  

A: Continue to create and improve recreational and educational opportunities along with working to maintain and attract quality employers to our area.  Support services for seniors and those struggling with mental illness and working to overcome poverty.

Q: Anything else you’d like voters to know?  

A: I am a near lifetime resident of the metro area and informed consumer of information relating to government policy and government fiscal issues.  I will be a good steward of the County’s assets and resources.