Dane County Board will see high turnover in April 5 election

Eleven of the 37 current members are not seeking reelection

MADISON, Wis. — The Dane County Board is expecting to see at least 11 new faces when new members are sworn in next month, due to almost a third of the board not seeking reelection.

Board chair Analiese Echier said this happens roughly every 10 years, coinciding with the decennial redistricting process.

“The election right after a redistricting tends to be a naturally high turnover point for the board, and I think for any legislative body, as we’re seeing in the state Legislature as well,” Eicher said.

“We are losing some absolute giants,” she added.

The turnover will pave the way for new faces on the board, but the chamber will not lose institutional memory, according to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

“As long as we still have that balance of people who have been there a long time and new folks, I think it’s good and everything will be okay,” he said.

Parisi, who has been county executive since 2011, added that supervisors remain who will serve as good mentors to the next generation.

Among those retiring is state Rep. Shelia Stubbs, D-Madison, who split her time between the Legislature and county board. She is now focusing her attention on the Legislature full time.

“She was a really effective leader on the county board, but she’s doing a great job in the state too,” Parisi said. “So while we’ll miss her here, it’s really great to see her moving on and moving up in state government.”

A through-line Eicher expects to see amid the changing of the guard is a strong desire to have a positive impact on the community.

“There’s not a desire to be a government that just makes statements there’s a desire to be a government that has an impact truly,” she said. “[That] is what’s at the core of all of these conversations.”

Tied to that, Eicher said voters going to the polls April 5 will appreciate a “measured” tone from candidates. Both Eicher and Parisi said the pandemic will continue to play a role in discussions going forward.

“COVID will always be part of what we’re dealing with,” he said, “along with all of the issues that were here before, many of which were exacerbated by COVID.”

Early voting continues in Wisconsin until Friday, after which voters will have to vote in-person on election day.