What is your personal and professional background, and why have you decided to run for Marshall County Supervisor?
Thompson: I’m 65 years old. I was born in Ashland, Wisconsin. Raised and educated, in Eau Claire Wisconsin. My college years were at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, majoring in Business, Economics and Accounting. My wife Kathy and I have owned and operated Thompson True Value Hardware since 1985. We have a son Paul who operates the business with us. I’m active in several community organizations including the Chamber of Commerce and Marshall Economic Development. I also serve on the National Executive Advisory Council of True Value Hardware which guides company decisions.
I’m running for Supervisor because I enjoy facing challenges. We’ve made great strides with finances and facilities. There’s more work to be done, and I want to continue that progress.
In your view, what should the county’s spending priorities be, and how, if at all, would you change them if elected?
Thompson: As an incumbent, I’m confident that we have been prudent in spending taxpayers’ dollars. I’d like to continue to concentrate on county infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and facilities. Technology investments and employee development, and retention are also priorities. I’m confident in these priorities, but am open to new ideas.
The prolonged closure of the courthouse after the tornado has been an ongoing concern for residents of Marshall County. Do you think the project is back on the right track, and what, if anything, would you have done differently through the process?
Thompson: The courthouse reconstruction project is strongly back on track. I appreciate and understand our taxpayer’s concerns. Our historic and iconic courthouse was one of the buildings that suffered the most extensive damage. I would remind everyone that these repairs are being done mostly with insurance proceeds. The only cost to the taxpayers are improvements, such as additional structural steel, extensive technological and security upgrades. These are being done so the building will efficiently service us for the next 100 years. In hindsight we could have done a better job explaining the extent of the damage, and we should have changed contractors sooner. The work is nearing completion and an open house and rededication is anticipated in late fall.
Marshall County has received over $7.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations. Do you believe these funds have been set aside for worthy projects, and are there any changes you would advocate for if elected?
Thompson: The American Rescue Plan monies are a one time opportunity. We have allocated these one time monies to capital projects that needed to be done. These include upgrades to the jail facilities, expanded camping facilities at Green Castle and Timmons Grove and improved facilities at the courthouse annex and the new election center. ARPA funds allowed us to complete these necessary upgrades without burdening property taxpayers. We look at it as a property tax cut in advance!
Is there a project not currently on the board’s radar that you would like to tackle if elected in November?
Thompson: A future project could be the county maintenance shop. The county maintenance shop on Nevada Street is outdated, undersized and needs to be replaced. To continue making our county more efficient, I believe the engineer’s office on Church Street should be moved into the location on Nevada Street.
How would you work with other county and city agencies if elected?
Thompson: We are purposefully looking to work with other agencies because, the relationships with all elected officials are paramount to develop trust. We recently asked that County/City meetings be resumed, and have successfully had the first one. I think they should be held a minimum twice yearly to improve communication. This will advance the opportunities to explore all possibilities to benefit the taxpayers. When those opportunities don’t align, explanations can be given to alleviate any misunderstandings. I believe we have solid relationships within the state, county and city, and they need to be continued!
Why are you the best choice to represent the citizens of Marshall County?
Thompson: I believe I’m the best candidate to lead Marshall County because the lessons learned in life, business, and elected office have taught me to successfully compete in an extremely demanding environment. A declining economy, coupled with staggering inflation causes all of us to face challenging times ahead. I believe that my record in office has shown solid management and fiscal responsibility to all the taxpayers in Marshall County. It’s been a privilege and an honor serving the citizens of Marshall County.
I want to continue that work!