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Roster for judicial elections set
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MONROE - Four candidates have filed with the Government Accountability Board for the two circuit court judge positions in Green County.

Incumbent Green County Circuit Court Judge James Beer will run unopposed for the First Branch judge position.

Green County Court Commissioner Timothy Burns, and Green County attorneys Dan Gartzke and Thomas Vale will face off in a Feb. 17 primary for the newly-created Second Branch position. The top two primary vote-getters will face off in the April election.

In 2007, the Legislature approved a second judge for the county based on an increased caseload.

The spring election is April 7 and the judges will take office in August.


Beer has been circuit court judge since he was appointed to the position by Gov. Tommy Thompson in October 1996. He was elected to a full term in April 1997 and again in 2003.

Beer graduated from Monroe High School and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also graduated from Marquette University Law School and the National prosecutor's School at Northwestern University.

Beer is married to Olga and they have five children.


Burns has served as court commissioner since 1996. He's responsible for family court, small claims court and various other matters as assigned by the circuit court. He also has a private law practice in Monroe.

He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and of the University of Colorado School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Green County Bar Association. He is past president of the Green County Bar Association and is vice president of the Wisconsin Family Court Commissioners Association.

Burns has been married to his wife, Kelly, for 30 years. They have three children; Brendan, Columbus; Colin, Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Morgan, Monroe.


Vale is a partner at Duxstad, Vale and Bestul in Monroe, as well as city attorney for Albany, New Glarus and Monticello.

Vale said the job of a judge isn't to have an agenda, but to move cases along and handle them fairly.

"I think my years in private practice have given me the broad legal experience a circuit court judge needs to handle the wide variety of cases brought before him," Vale said. "Green County needs a judge who understands the law, who is fair and firm and reflects the social values of the community."

Vale is a graduate of UW-Madison, and received his law degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He is a member and past president of the Green County Bar Association.

Vale is married to Karen, a pharmacist at Schultz Pharmacy in Monroe. They have three children: Erin, a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dan, a junior at Monroe High School; and Eric, a sixth-grader at Monroe Middle School.


Gartzke is a partner in the law firm of Schwalbe & Gartzke, S.C., with offices in New Glarus and Madison.

He is a 1986 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. In addition, he is a member of the Green County Bar Association, having served as vice president in 1999 and president in 2000. He also is a member of the Dane County Bar Association, where he has served on the Board of Directors since 2004, is currently president-elect, and will be president in 2009.

He and his wife, Tracey, have lived in New Glarus since 1989. Their three children, Julia, Mara and David, attend high school in New Glarus.