Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear Editor,

Elections clearly have consequences, especially if you’re a child in foster care in Marathon County.

On July 19th our county board voted to reject a grant meant to help reunite foster children with their parents. This grant addressed the main roadblock for parents and children who want to be reunited…housing. The reason supervisor Dickinson and his 13 proxy board members gave for not accepting the grant was because he (they) feared a program like this might become permanent. Is that a bad thing?

A permanent program to keep families together by any measure would be considered a win for everyone, especially kids. Another reason supervisor Dickinson rejected the grant was because he felt that other people like students and working families needed help with housing too so why should children in foster care be a priority? Who in their right mind thinks the two groups are equivocal?

Dickinson and the other right wing, new members of our County Board are out of touch with the values of the people in Marathon County and do not represent the majority of the residents in their districts. The problem is, we have no way of holding them accountable until election day unless residents speak up and tell their board members that they need to vote in ways that represent them, not the personal political views of their supervisor. I am confident that there are many Marathon County residents, outside of Wausau, that recognize the value of reuniting foster children with their parents and would be appalled to know that their supervisor voted to turn down a grant to help facilitate that.

After seeing the damage two rogue city council members can do to the village of Kronenwetter, I would hope Marathon County residents would want to ensure that doesn’t happen at the county level. Unfortunately, without residents speaking up I’m afraid we’re headed in that direction.

When self-serving people are elected to office the voices of the community cease to be heard. Helping families stay together and keeping kids out of foster care should be something everyone can get behind. That’s what I would consider a true, pro-life initiative. 

Marathon County Board Members who voted against the grant:

DICKINSON, MORACHE, BAKER, WILHELM, SHERFINSKI, STRAUB, HARTINGER, RITTER, NIEMEYER, MARSHALL, UNGERER, COVELLI, SEUBERT, SONDELSKI

Christine Salm

Wausau