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Friday, 18 March 2016 11:26

Public safety, jobs, development top Beloit City Council candidate concerns

Written by 

BELOIT -- Voters will chose four members of the Beloit City Council April 5, 2106, when they go to the polls. Six candidates are vying for four available seats.

The candidates include incumbents Sheila DeForest and Ana Kelly and challengers Regina Dunkin, Kevin Leavy, Mark Preuschl and James Faragher. Leavy previously served on the council from 2004 to 2015.

The candidates submitted these profiles and a summary of their top issue in the campaign. (James Faragher has not returned a questionnaire)

Sheila De Forest

Age: 47

Address: 748 Harrison Ave.

Occupation: UW-Extension Rock County administrator.

Education: Beloit College from 1986 to 1991, bachelor of arts degree in English and sociology, secondary teacher certification, 1990; MAT in teaching, 1991

Community service: Community Action board of directors, Rock River National Water Trail Federal Designation Council and Parkview District CUP Food Pantry coordinator.

Publicly elected positions: Beloit City Councilor from 2008 to present

Major campaign issue: It’s important to keep Beloit’s "urban renaissance" on track. A thriving city requires thoughtful consideration of the entire package --  ample employment opportunities, friendly business climate, strong schools, good infrastructure, safe neighborhoods and supporting amenities that create a positive quality of life.

Regina Dunkin

Age: 50

Address: 2340 Casey Court

Occupation: Executive director of the Merrill Community Center

Education: Beloit College from 1996 to 1998, and from 1998 to present. I have continued to complete education courses in management and education at Blackhawk Technical College and Fred Pryor Seminars.

Community service: I was involved with the start of the first children’s program for the Beloit Domestic Violence Center, Community Action’s Fresh Start Program, Eclipse Charter School and overseeing the fundraising and construction of a new Merrill Center. Rock County Criminal Justice Council from 2011 to 2014 and was appointed to the Wisconsin State Public Defender Board by Gov. Jim Doyle in 2005 and reappointed by Gov. Scott Walker in 2015. Active volunteer in the schools and with projects that are beneficial to Beloit.

Publicly elected positions: Beloit School Board 2000 to 2006.

Major campaign issue: In talking with the citizens of Beloit, I have been told that the most important issue is jobs. As a future councilor, I would like to see us be involved in an effort with the business community, technical college, school district and employment agencies to address this concern. I am committed to our community and dedicated to the progress of our city.

Ana Kelly

Age: 55

Address: 1747 Sherwood Drive

Occupation: Owner and office manager of Vega Management Inc. since 1991. I manage Centro Dental, a dental office in Chicago. Principal and co-owner of Resonate Web Marketing, a web design, internet marketing and technologies company, since 2008.

Education: Attended Loyola University and DeVry Technical University, concentrating on technology.

Community service: Beloit Plan Commission, from 2009 to April 2014;  Beloit Community Development; Beloit Landmarks Commission; Beloit International Film Festival  for seven years; Beloit Neighborhood Preservation Association; Roy Chapman Andrews Society; The Society for Learning Unlimited; Meals on Wheels; Hands of Faith; The Angle Museum; Explore with Roy initiative; School District of Beloit Strategic Plan volunteer in 2007; Imagine Beloit Team in 2012 for Beloit schools referendum; Beloit School Board Ad-hoc diversity committee; Aldrich Middle School Band Booster treasurer and uniforms for six years; Greater Beloit Chamber ambassador; Beloit Rotary Club member; Pop Warner Football, High Ridge Chargers, manager for seven teams concurrently from 1995 through 2005

Publicly elected positions: Beloit City Council from April 2014 to present

Major campaign issue: Public safety and community development. We have seen significant progress in public safety and need to work to ensure that progress continues. There is an important correlation between community development though with public safety. Public safety is more than simply hiring more police officers. It starts with community development.

Kevin D. Leavy

Age: 52

Address: 1660 Royce Ave.

Occupation: Retail manager at ARAMARK Corporation

Education: Madison Business College associate of arts degree in general business management, graduated in 1985.

Community service: Blackhawk Technical College District Board Association; Headstart Board of Directors; various city of Beloit committees and DBA

Publicly elected positions: Past member of Beloit City Council from 2004 to 2015, and past member of Beloit School Board for four years.

Major campaign issue: Neighborhood development, building citizen and city relationships, and promoting a positive image of the city. This is a great city that has accomplished a lot. I want to make sure we get away from the economic divide. This is where you can tell where the economic levels change in the city by the neighborhoods.

Mark Preuschl

Age: 60

Address: 1266 McKinley Ave. in Beloit

Occupation: Northwoods Premium Confections in downtown Beloit. 

Education: Graduate of Beloit Memorial High School in 1973.  Attended University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, majoring in geography 1973 to 1976.

Community service: Current chair of the city of Beloit Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission. Chaired ad hoc Committee on Communication for city of Beloit; Rock County Wireless Committee; city of Beloit Committee on Committees; Beloit Storm Water Abatement. Chaired Cable Television Advisory Committee and member of the Citizens Advisory Commission, now discontinued. Served on the boards of Friends of Riverfront and Stateline United Way. Have maintained the Stateline.Net website since 1997 to help promote the Beloit area. Elected secretary of IAMAW Local 1197, served 

Publicly elected positions? None.

Major campaign issues: We must manage our budget considering the need for public services and safety, versus recreation and quality of life. We must address violent crime. That solution includes improving police facilities and community relations. We must pursue regionalism for public services to improve efficiency, reduce costs and leverage the assets of greater Beloit. I’ve spent many years doing a lot "behind the scenes" to help make Beloit better. I’ve reached a point where it is time to do a little more. With two open council seats in this year’s election,

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