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Two newcomers face off in clerk's race

Oct. 23, 2012

While the state and the country will have their eyes on national elections on Nov. 6, Waukesha County voters will have their eyes on the race for county clerk. Republican Kathleen Novack of Pewaukee and Democrat Jessie Read of Sussex will vie for the position currently held by Kathy Nickolaus, who is not seeking re-election.

Q Why should someone vote for you?

Novack: I bring senior level leadership skill, complex program experience and the professional credentials this job requires. During my career I held increasingly responsible positions and led offices in Washington, D.C., and six states. I worked extensively in cross-functional groups and respect the importance of collaboration. I value the expertise of specialists and believe in leveraging others' strengths. A determined self-starter, I attended college with a scholastic scholarship and put myself through graduate school while working full time. I believe varied life experiences and advanced education are invaluable assets. The next county clerk must be ready to represent the county on a statewide stage. Years of managing large offices, working with fellow senior managers and acting as spokesperson for my agency before the full range of media have given me the firsthand experience the next clerk will need to face the tough scrutiny ahead.

Read: Honesty, integrity, nonpartisanship, transparency. These are the values and ideals that I will bring to the office of Waukesha County clerk. My experience in accounting, along with credible organizational skills, provide the background needed to run an efficient office. I want to be a true public servant to the people of Waukesha County. I would not allow partisan politics to play a role in the management of this office - this is what I mean by promoting non-partisanship as a value I intend to bring, along with honesty and integrity to the office of Waukesha County Clerk.

Q What do you think you could do better than the person who holds the position now?

Novack: I would conduct elections with office members directly involved. I would fully support the County's decision to study the overall election process from current business practices to election hardware and software, and work collaboratively on any suggested recommendations. Third, professional relationships within the county and state and externally with the media need to be reinforced. I would establish positive, open lines of communication with the County Executive's Office, the County Board, county municipal clerks, fellow county clerks, the general public and the media.

Read: I am dismayed by the apparent lack of transparency and inattentive practices being displayed by the current county clerk. I have lost confidence that the election vote counting process is accurate. I will bring transparent and secure organizational structure to this office. I will also manage this office and the election process in a nonpartisan manner.

Q What differentiates you from your opponent?

Novack: 30 year career in government which included 10 years' experience in Washington DC in a highly-charged political environment; six years experience interacting with many parts of County Government as a member of the Waukesha County Community Development Block Grants Board(CDBG); significant budget experience at the federal and local level. As a City of Pewaukee

alderman I have worked on six city budgets and am on the city's Finance Committee

Read: Having no previous experience in a governmental clerk office, I come with a fresh perspective on how this office should be managed. I am in process of researching and interviewing local municipal clerks, other nearby county clerks and the GAB (Government Accountability Board) to find the best procedures and practices for recording elections.

Kathleen Novack

Current offices held: Alderman, City of Pewaukee since 2006

Employer: Retired, senior level management for the federal government

Education: B.S. in accounting from Millikin University, 1972; M.S. in taxation from DePaul University, 1979

Organizations: Waukesha County Community Development Block Grants Board, Pewaukee Area Historical Society board member and treasurer, Women's Club of Pewaukee board member and vice president, IRS Retirees Association, Vagabond Ski and Social Club

Jessie Read

Current offices held: None

Employer: Self-employed: owner of JRR Bookkeeping Service

Education: Morristown High School, 1977, valedictorian; B.A. in math from DePaul University, 1981

Organizations: Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, treasurer and board member; Clan Donnachaidh Society Upper Midwest (Scottish Clan Society) trustee; Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee, member of Governance committee; Presbytery of Milwaukee Presbyterian Foundation board member; Wauwatosa Presbyterian Church since 1994

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

The Art of the Bicycle: 11 a.m. Nov. 21, 26, Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield. Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. first and third Saturdays and by appointment, Free www.delafieldartscenter.org.

Organ Concert: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21, St. Jerome Catholic Church, 995 S. Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc. Oconomowoc Music Club is hosting a concert by renowned organist Dr. Simone Gheller. Refreshments will be served after the concert. Free.

Yuletide Faire: 5-9 p.m. Nov. 21; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 22, Prairie Hill Waldorf School, N14-W29143 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee. $4 in advance or $5 at the door for adults and $1 in advance or $2 at the door for children under 15. Features strolling minstrels and costumed characters, puppet shows, storytelling, candle dipping, face painting, children’s craft workshops, children’s holiday shopping, live music, silent auction, children’s book sale, natural toys, 35 vendors, warm food, homemade desserts, candies, nuts and other treats. 

Fashionable Tidings Gala Luncheon: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 22, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Holiday fashions of local clothiers Paul Bruce Goodman and Liebling Leather. Music by Brusubardis String Ensemble. Lunch includes shrimp scamp and angel hair pasta with vegetables provencale. Wine tasting  and auction. Benefits Waukesha Choral Union. $35. Call (414) 297-9310 for tickets. www.choralunion.org.

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