Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Six candidates are vying for three at-large seats on the McFarland Village Board on April 4. Winners earn a two-year term. Incumbents Stephanie Brassington and Clair Utter did not respond. (I) indicates incumbent.

Brevin Becker

Age: 19

Address: 4813 Terminal Drive

Family: Mother, father and brother

Job: Applications analyst at Amtelco

Political experience: None

Other public service: None

Education: Graduate, McFarland High School

Stephanie Brassington (I)

(No response)

Carolyn Clow

Age: 43

Address: 6603 Schneider Place

Job: Purchasing agent for Dane County; executive director, McFarland Family Festival

Political experience: None

Other public service: Volunteer, Girl Scouts, McFarland Food Pantry, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Wisconsin; member, Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion in McFarland; board member, Wisconsin Women in Government

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Carleton College; master’s degree in public Affairs, UW-Madison

Shaun O’Hearn

Age: 33

Address: 5205 Linden Parkway

Family: Married, 4 Children

Job: Own and operate The McFarland House Café

Political experience: None

Other public service: President, McFarland Hockey Boosters; member, McFarland Community Development Authority

Education: Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, UW-Eau Claire

Michael L. Shumway

Age: 35

Address: 5201 Linden Parkway

Family: Wife, Cassie Shumway; son Nathan, daughter Emmaline

Job: Stay-at-home dad, substitute teacher

Political experience: Political campaign work for Russ Feingold and John Kerry, constituent services intern for former Gov. Jim Doyle

Other public service: 12-year Navy veteran, member of American Legion, VFW, National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, UW-Madison; master’s degree in education, Edgewood College

Clair Utter (I)

(No response)


List three of your top priorities.

Becker: My top three priorities if elected would be working with the School Board in helping accomplish their goals for the students and families of McFarland, bringing greater transparency to village affairs and preserving the quality of our natural resources and waterways.

Clow: My top three priorities are to build community engagement, plan for the future of the village, including development of a community center, and to preserve local services in an environment of reduced state and federal revenue sharing. McFarland is an amazing community and we need to continue to evolve to meet the needs of our residents.

O’Hearn: Proactively seek out businesses to move their operations to the village. Develop a clear brand for the village that represents our commerce and residents alike. Continue the efforts in exploring a village community center.

Shumway: 1.) Build a better relationship between the Village Board and the School Board so that the community can be guided by two organizations with the best interest of the village at heart; 2.) Work to bring more small businesses into town to bolster the local economy and make it easier for businesses to navigate the zoning ordinances; 3.) Work with the Village Board to flesh out the development of a plan for a McFarland Community Center.

If you could reverse one village action, what would that be?

Becker: I would do my best to put an end to the practice of conducting village business in closed sessions when the situation does not necessitate it, as citizens have a right to know how their officials are governing. Even sitting members of the board have denounced the practice, and yet it continues.

Clow: I would not reverse any village actions. We have a hard-working board which has made considered decisions. There is no value in second-guessing past decisions. McFarland is best served by moving forward with careful consideration.

O’Hearn: I would reverse the actions of the Village Board’s communications with residents in regards to the sale of property to the McFarland School District.

Shumway: I believe that the negotiation for the sale of the land from the Village Board to the School District was far too drawn out and did not appear as fair treatment to the School Board by the Village Board by the amount deemed as a fair purchase price between the two parties despite two independent assessors.

How would you change the way the village handles development?

Becker: After speaking to business leaders and investors, I’ve learned that the board has a reputation of being hard to work with. I would do my best if elected to ensure that we create a business-friendly environment to increase goods and services for the people of McFarland.

Clow: The village needs to be more intentional and proactive in courting the types of development that will benefit residents. In particular, we need to work on attracting business to our downtown and Farwell Street corridors. We also need to diversify the housing stock away from exclusively single family homes.

O’Hearn: I would streamline the process to help expedite paperwork, committee meetings and fees.

Shumway: I think that the village could be more aggressive using tax incremental financing to revitalize the downtown district of the village of McFarland. Addressing the downtown area for beautification while drawing in developers to locate small businesses and residential units would brighten the area and increase property values.