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Candidate Profile: Kriss Marion
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Lafayette County Board of Supervisors

All districts for the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors are up for election. None of the races are challenged. Candidates running are: District 1, incumbent Larry Ludlum; District 2, incumbent Bill Moody; District 3, incumbent Jack Sauer; District 4, incumbent Leon Wolfe; District 5, incumbent Dwayne Larson; District 6, no candidate; District 7, incumbent Bob Boyle; District 8, Kriss Marion; District 9, incumbent Wayne Wilson; District 10, incumbent Jack Wiegel; District 11, incumbent John Bartels; District 12, incumbent Gerald Heimann; District 13, incumbent Theodore Wiegel; District 14, incumbent Carol Korn; District 15, incumbent David Hammer; and District 16, no candidate.

Position sought: Lafayette County Board Supervisor, District 8

Age: 48

City/town of residence: Blanchardville

Family: Married to Shannon Marion, mother to four children ages 21 to 25

Education: Bachelors of Science in Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 1989

Occupation: Vegetable Farmer, Bed and Breakfast Owner

Previous elected positions held: Currently President, Wisconsin Farmers Union South Central Chapter

What are the top issues facing this district/municipality and how would you work to resolve it?

I think Economic Development is a top issue in our largely agricultural county. Like many rural areas, Lafayette County struggles to foster and attract sustainable economic development that keeps families living, working and contributing to the communities in which they live. There are no easy answers to an issue as complex as economic development, but I think there is a way forward that can both attract industry, business, farming, tourism and entrepreneurial ventures - and still protect the beauty of the landscape and the unique integrity of our tiny towns. I am a big proponent of family farms and I think we should do everything we can to keep small and medium sized farms on the land, and to welcome new and innovative farm operations. I am very interested in rural redevelopment opportunities for our small towns, especially those that build community and spark interest in families thinking of locating in our boundaries. I think it is very important to build our economic base and our infrastructure in such a way that we make this area even more attractive to young people and families - who have so much to gain from living in a rural community and so much to offer back. I think we must be careful to design initiatives, programs, incentives and zoning so that we don't trade short-term gain of a few jobs for the loss of small businesses, the families that run those businesses, and the members of those families that run our small towns and townships.

I really enjoy thinking through these sorts of issues and collaborating with others to create solutions. For instance, this year I helped start a Farmers Market in Blanchardville, and I worked with my neighbors to support the current Farmers Market in Argyle. This is a tiny start to what could both be a good economic opportunity for local farmers and food entrepreneurs, but also a springboard for some of them to grow a bigger business in the community. Customers that come into town for a market on a Saturday morning are likely to also visit the local cafes, bars, grocery, and hardware store while they are in town. Another bonus is that a market offers residents another opportunity for neighbors to catch up, make plans and enjoy the pleasures of small-town living. A bonus for me is that my bed-and-breakfast customers have another activity to experience in town. I volunteer with the Blanchardville Woman's Club and Blanchardville Community Pride, Inc. to keep the downtown decorated with flowers and seasonal displays as well as organize and staff our special events like parades, the Pec Jam, our car show and chicken bbq.

What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?

I think Lafayette County's greatest resource is its natural beauty, and I think the richness of landscape, water, wildlife and land is very much worth protecting and enhancing. I was born and grew up in Pennsylvania, so I sometimes think I see Lafayette County with fresh eyes of admiration and wonder. I think this is the most lovely place in the world. I believe tourism, and especially the relatively new areas of ag-tourism, food-tourism and outdoor adventure tourism are promising growth areas for our community, both to retain and attract young families to the area, and to draw tourists here to both enjoy and to spend money in our tiny towns. I myself am a small business owner and an entrepreneur, and so I promote the natural resources of Lafayette County and our generous, ingenious people wherever I go and in whatever I do - I hope to continue as much of that as possible as a board supervisor. In my capacity as president of the local Wisconsin Farmers Union chapter I have been working for some time with local watershed and conservation groups to educate and organize our residents to come together to protect water, defend nature and enhance the rural quality of life we have here in Lafayette county - I hope as a board supervisor I could do more work to bring together coalitions of private groups to forward these goals. I like to collaborate with people and come up with amazing solutions to shared concerns.