By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Monroe write-ins step up
Donna Douglas
MONROE - While the resignation of Monroe district board president Bob Erb and retirements of city aldermen Charles Koch and Tom Miller were not immediately replaced on the upcoming ballot, recent candidates have come forward to fill the voids.

Donna Douglas, Monroe, registered as an official write-in candidate for Monroe Common Council this week, making her the second person to try to take an open at-large seat on council. Candidate Mickey Beam registered in late January.

Now Douglas wishes to be included on the ballot as a write-in as well, hoping to bring more than 35 years in public service to the table.

"I really felt I could give some input," Douglas said. "I hear comments and I'm a good listener and I get my feedback from people. I'm also not afraid to express the pulse of what people are saying and I just felt I could convey that."

Douglas, a native of Monroe, grew up within the local school system before pursuing an education in Madison, becoming a hair stylist. She managed Scotch Acres Dairy Farm in rural Brodhead for more than 30 years with her husband Walter, assisting with daily chores and field work on the 530-acre farm while also serving as president of the Associated Milk Producers Auxiliary and on the former Wisconsin American Dairy Association State Board, now the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

"The community soon became my family and I served on a lot of committees when I lived in Brodhead for 34 years, for the school district and also on the (Decatur) town board," Douglas said.

Douglas spent a decade on the Green County Board of Supervisors, chairing a variety of committees. She said 19 years on the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has helped her to understand the needs of the city, especially when she joined meetings meant to help create the 2015 Monroe Comprehensive Plan guided by SWWRPC. Currently, she served on the Monroe Plan Commission and spends her days as the executive director of the Green County Welcome Center.

Now she has noticed the need for better housing options in Monroe, not just affordable choices, but units for every income level to help accommodate commuters as well.

Douglas said the city needs to "look at the numbers" when it comes to garbage services, referencing the landfill issue that has been mulled over for years. She noted she preferred not to have a stance on the issue because she has not received the same information the council has but is willing to listen to those who have all of the comprehensive information. Douglas served as chair of the county Solid Waste Board when she was a county supervisor, as one of the planners who helped create a transfer station.

"I feel that I really can communicate with people and that I'm willing to learn before I make a decision," Douglas said. "I think that's very important that you listen to your constituents. You need to know what is actually good for the majority of the citizens of Monroe."

On the school district side, former Howards Grove Elementary School Principal Teresa Keehn, a native of Monroe, has decided to run as a write-in candidate to replace Erb.

"Because Monroe and the schools have been very good to me, I was looking for a way to get involved," Keehn said, referencing a number of groups she has joined since returning to the city from the Sheboygan area two years ago with her husband Kyle and their children.

Keehn was a co-chair of the "Say Yes to Monroe Schools" referendum campaign in 2016, served on the Parkside Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, and spends time on the Monroe preschool board and the United Way Allocation Committee. She is a part of Green County Leaders this year as well and spends time each day volunteering with Parkside first grade classes.

Though Keehn said she and her husband "loved" their work on the eastern side of the state, "it just wasn't home." When Kyle had a job opportunity in the Madison area, they moved back. Now their twin sons Will and Brady are enrolled in fourth grade and their daughter Julia has begun 4-K.

Keehn said schools are instrumental in shaping children who will be faced with producing future solutions to problems that may potentially not even exist yet. She noted they are also economic drivers for the local community because if the schools are good, people will want to live in the area. She added that parental involvement is an important facet of success for students.

"Being advocates together is critical to the success of kids," Keehn said. "In my experience, we are definitely working from a position of strength."

Voting for both races will be April 3 at the westside fire station in Monroe.