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@wausaupilotandreview.com.

Marathon County Board of Supervisors, District 18

Craig McEwen, Incumbent

Age 63, retired police officer.

Craig McEwen has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors since 2008. McEwen was unavailable to answer questions prior to publication.

Bill Miller submitted this information on Craig’s behalf.

“Craig and I both were elected to the Board 10 years ago and got to know each other quite well, having served on many committees together. Currently Craig is the chair person of the Law Enforcement Committee which oversees the Sheriff’s Department and jail operations. In addition he is Vice-chair of Finance and Human Resources, a member of the County Executive Committee, Board of Health and the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Craig was instrumental in putting together the County’s strategic plan recently approved by the our Board. He has shown boundless energy, commitment and dedication to his role with the County. In addition, he has been and remains an active member of the Village of Rothschild Board. He has been on that Board since his retirement from the Village Police Department.

Craig had a long and active stint with the Rothschild police department and served as its D.A.R.E. Officer. In addition, annually he took time off to take the Everest crossing guard children on an educational trip to our Nation’s Capital. He is a dedicated family man and a volunteer in many ways to those who need his talents. These attributes say volumes about what Craig has given and his role as a mentor to youth in our County. He is a fully committed individual with boundless energy and talent. His presence on the County Board is unique because of his talents and commitment and dedication.”

Corrie Norrbom, Challenger

Age 49, lives in Rothschild and works as a physician and educator

Government Experience – avid follower of policy and have been involved in advocacy efforts though have not held public office

Community Involvement – I am on the executive committee for Healthy Marathon County and work closely with the Health Department. I am the parent representative on the DC Everest Junior High Mental Health Team and also serve on the North Central Community Services Program Board (North Central Health Care). I am on the Good News Project Board and the Dream Big 2056 Planning Committee.  I have been serving on the UW-Marathon County Foundation Board since 2004.

I was the key organizer for Baby Business: The Dollars and Sense of Investing in Working Parents. This community event highlighted how investing in young children and supporting employees as parents can lead to a healthier, more prosperous Marathon County. Subsequently I developed a public-private partnership to fund and implement LENA Start Marathon County, a program that utilizes “talk pedometers” and a parent group education model to improve language exposure for young children.

I organized Substance Abuse: It’s Everybody’s Business. Uniting to Think Differently About Addiction, a May 2017 conference that brought national, state and local experts to Wausau to examine the neurobiology of addiction and its impact on workforce, families, and community well-being.  I have been actively involved in the Toward One Wausau project and am currently involved in several projects that promote youth empowerment and resiliency.

Political affiliation (if any) – nonpartisan race

Why are you running for office?

Over the past 7 years doing project work in the community, I have come to realize that many local level decisions impact our day to day lives, and that there are some very important decisions the County Board will be making over the next several years.

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

Decisions made regarding jail overcrowding, mental health and substance abuse issues, and the fate of children caught in the middle.  North Central Health Care plays a key role in addressing these challenges.

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

Efforts around promoting a more effective substance abuse recovery environment.  It is promising that a grant-funded Drug Court is being implemented and local law enforcement officials are recognizing the importance of diversion of drug users into treatment. However, to make recovery more possible, we need further funding of those programs, as well as partnerships and funding around transitional jobs, safe/sober housing, and recovery coaching and support.

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

I think all areas of the budget should continuously be evaluated in terms of efficacy and impact

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

One capital project of importance is the Mount View Care Center.  The facility is in major need of an update. Mount View provides high quality dementia care that is not provided in other local nursing homes, and it is important for families in our area to have this care available locally. In addition, North Central Health Care is in need of a facility update to allow for expansion of inpatient addiction treatment as well as other substance abuse and mental health programs, including a possible youth crisis center.

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

The county has not been in debt and has operated out of a position of scarcity which has its positives and negatives.  The biggest threat to financial stability is if Marathon County does not make efforts to be a healthy and vibrant place in order to attract and retain a productive workforce and if we do not address the fact that nearly half of Marathon County families fall under the category of Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed.

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

As noted above, to make recovery more possible, we need further funding of programs such as Drug Court and other ways to divert people with substance abuse issues from the criminal justice system when possible. In addition, we need partnerships and funding around transitional jobs, safe/sober housing, and recovery coaching and support. I also feel it is important to work  upstream with efforts to optimize early childhood experiences and reduce childhood trauma and support programming that promotes youth resiliency

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

I will support programs and opportunities for community members from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life to talk openly, listen earnestly, learn about each other and act in ways to make Marathon County a safe, welcoming and attractive place for all.

Anything else you’d like voters to know? 

Before any decisions are made regarding the proposed metals mining near Eau Claire Dells, much more information is needed about potential hazards and the safety record of the mining company and outcomes of similar projects. I am a strong proponent for good jobs in this area, and I think a better option is to support entrepreneurship and investment in homegrown small businesses. The majority of the workforce in our county are employed by employers of less than 100 employees. Local economic and community development depend on entrepreneurship, innovation and the growth of small businesses.