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Sheriff sole county contested race
Remaining candidates, Lafayette County races unopposed
Green County Sheriff and Jail

MONROE — For the first time in over a decade, when voters go to the polls Nov. 6, they will have to decide between two choices for Green County Sheriff.

One candidate is a man who left the position in the middle of his term and the other is the one who was appointed to replace him.

Jeff Skatrud of Decatur, who resigned from the sheriff’s position in 2013, has decided to try to retake his old job. He said he left the job because of ailing parents, and had been hoping to pursue a job with the state later that year which would be more flexible in light of his new responsibilities. 

“I felt badly about leaving, but I knew that I did the right thing,” Skatrud said. 

He had noted at the time that a wrongful death lawsuit filed in early August 2013 had nothing to do with his leaving. Skatrud announced his former retirement that year on July 31. After returning to the sheriff’s office part-time, he said those around him encouraged his candidacy.

“Folks I’d worked with before said they missed my management style,” Skatrud said, noting he resigned from his office job with the department when he decided to run for sheriff.

He added that the teamwork-based approach encourages “people with solid experience” to stay with the department.

His Republican opponent, incumbent Sheriff Mark Rohloff, has spent the last four decades in law enforcement. He was appointed as sheriff by Gov. Scott Walker in November 2013. The following year, he won the seat in an unopposed race. Rohloff, a Janesville native, spent more than 20 years with the Monroe Police Department before transitioning to sheriff. He credited his longtime experience for improvements and new ideas he said he has brought to the department.

“I love working here and I love the challenges,” Rohloff said. 

He added that the supportive staff has only gotten better since they have implemented an annual review process and implemented more conference-based training for managerial positions by bolstering professional development. 

“We want it to be a more organic appeal to the department as a whole, not just from the top-down,” Rohloff said. “You plant a seed, you want to see it grow.”

Rohloff also said he appreciates technology and wants to see more of it within the department, including a planned change with the radio systems. 

Both candidates said in their time spent talking to potential voters, they found most residents are unaware of who serves as sheriff. Skatrud said he feels the contested election may be helping to raise awareness of that by putting a face to a name. Rohloff said it seems as though most people “feel safe within their homes,” which is a “mark of good policing.”

Skatrud said that while campaigning is not something which comes naturally to him, he has enjoyed speaking to people and found that a number of them remember him from his previous tenure as sheriff. While he’s unsure of what the outcome will be Tuesday, he said the effort has been pleasurable.

“People have been wonderful, people have been supportive,” Skatrud said. “I feel optimistic; I know I put the work into it.”

He noted Rohloff likely is as well. The sheriff himself echoed the sentiment, noting that his presence has been a positive influence on the county, one which he would like to continue.

“I think we’ve developed a good relationship with the public,” Rohloff said, adding that he thinks people do not prefer change in a positive atmosphere. “I think people like stability.”

In Lafayette County, the sheriff’s race is uncontested. Incumbent Sheriff Reg Gill, a Republican, has no opponent and is seeking re-election. The county Coroner Linda Gebhardt is also the sole candidate for the seat she currently holds.

Longtime Clerk of Circuit Court Kitty McGowan announced in early April she would not be seeking re-election after 21 years. McGowan plans to step down in January after the new clerk is sworn into office. The only candidate looking to replace McGowan is Republican Trisha Rowe. A county employee for nearly 25 years, Rowe currently serves as deputy clerk in the Lafayette County Clerk’s Office. She also acts as the victim witness coordinator in the county district attorney’s office. 

The remaining ballot choices in Green County are also uncontested. The sole candidate for Coroner is Monica Hack, a Democrat. Barbara Miller, an incumbent Republican, is again running for the Clerk of Circuit Court seat. 

A countywide, tax neutral referendum will ask voters to approve an increase of $790,000 in the tax levy to pay for operational and maintenance expenses related to Pleasant View Nursing Home. The funding would begin in 2019 and last through 2024, and is included in the proposed budget that decreases the tax rate by a penny compared to last year.