Two candidates are vying for the Stoughton City Council, District 3, in the April 3 election. (I) denotes incumbent. The term is for three years.
Address: 804 Berry St.
Family: A son and daughter in-law; one granddaughter.
Job: Realtor; formerly an ELCA Mission Developer, in Illinois, Virginia and North Dakota.
Prior elected office: None
Other public service: Served with The Red Cross; Camp Lejeune, director of volunteers; North Atlantic Girls Scouts, London Area coordinator; ELCA Disaster Relief, Biloxi Mississippi, Katrina response team and support coordinator; University Women, American University, Safety Committee; Women’s Shelter Arlington, co-chair Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorship; Ecumenical support center, peer counselor with victims of family violence; C21 Cares, Stoughton, coordinator, food/coffee collection for area pantries
Education: The American University, Washington, D.C., bachelor’s degree in psychology
Regina Hirsch (I)
Address: 209 N. Harrison St.
Job: Director of strategy & planning at Advanced Engines Development Corporation; president of R.M. Hirsch Environmental Consulting
Prior elected office: Stoughton City Council, District 3, 2015-present
Other public service: Founding member of Sustainable Stoughton; former board of directors for Yahara River Grocery Co-op; vice president and board member for Island Birding Corp.; State Technical Committee for Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA; Wildlife Subcommittee for the STC, NRCS
Education: Doctorate from UW-Madison in the Department of Wildlife Ecology; master’s degree from Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison, concentration in psychology
Website or email address: email@example.com
List three of your top priorities.
Bradford: 1. Prompt, sensible and fiscally responsible action on Riverfront Redevelopment, Kettle Park West and Whitewater Park projects. 2. Create economic development initiative that will prioritize downtown entrepreneurs and larger employers, as well as attract young families. 3. Develop more effective communication among City Council, city staff and Stoughton citizens by encouraging active listening, positive and constructive dialogue and collaborative planning.
Hirsch: Sustainable and strategic growth is my top priority: balance the increase in quality housing options and more parks and trails with excellent public safety services while being fiscally responsible; attract more businesses to increase the number of skilled-labor jobs; create and maintain roads that are safe for bikes, have ample crosswalks, and lights and/or roundabouts.
If you could reverse one city action, what would that be?
Bradford: It would be the March 2017 decision to delay the RDA plan. This decision created a public endangerment situation and a street closure which impacted a significant traffic corridor. A year later the same council voted to change their vote after public pressure with the same motion. A whole year wasted for the same result.
Hirsch: How the city handled the Kettle Park West development both in transparency to the citizens of Stoughton and action taken after the community voted via referendum 59.8 percent against the proposed $5.1 million TIF loan for the project in 2015. These actions divided our community and could have been avoided with appropriate leadership, openness, and community input at project onset.
How would you change the way the city handles development?
Bradford: Our city needs more big-picture planning and budgeting for the future. We need to trust the professionals on our city staff who have expertise. Then use their information and follow through research of our own to make long-term evaluations on development. We also need to be open to working collaboratively with developers and businesses.
Hirsch: Future city development should be proactive and transparent; the city should work collaboratively with developers and the community to balance the needs and desires of the community with developer profits and city revenue requirements. City-organized public forums, community design charrettes and surveys will help develop a mutually beneficial strategic plan and openly outline any proposed project TIF loan.