Incumbents retain seats on Janesville City Council
JANESVILLE Newcomer Douglas Marklein garnered the most votes for Janesville City Council while two incumbents held onto their seats.
Four spots were open. Incumbents Russ Steeber and Deb Dongarra-Adams did not seek re-election.
All four winners noted the important job facing the council: They likely will choose a new city manager.
City Manager Eric Levitt is negotiating with the Simi Valley City Council in California. A decision is expected in the next week.
Marklein credited his win in part to his experience serving on city commissions and committees.
“I’m ready to start on day one,” Marklein said.
Marklein hopes that voters liked his message that he will work in a nonpartisan way. He said he does not have an agenda and will listen to residents so Janesville continues to be a good place to live and work.
“Since we’ll be looking for a new city manager, it’s a great time to sit back and look to the crystal ball and ask, ‘Where should Janesville position (itself) to be.’
“That’s what we do in our business, and it’s smart for the city to do the same,” said Marklein, a local builder.
Incumbent DuWayne Severson thanked residents for their continued trust. He believes they appreciate his consistency on the issues.
Severson terms himself a fiscal conservative, and he said he is looking forward to setting priorities and helping residents decide where the city should be in three to five years.
He said he ran on the issues of job creation and ending tax and fee increases and stressed that the city must live within its means.
“If we do that, we’ll be on the right track,” Severson said.
Finding strong replacements for Levitt and Economic Director Vic Grassman, who resigned last month, will be important to keep the city moving forward, he said.
Newcomer Brian Fitzgerald said he hopes people appreciated his emphasis on fiscal responsibility and maintaining the city’s infrastructure.
He said he wants to keep Janesville “a great place to raise a family.”
“It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” Fitzgerald said.
Incumbent Sam Liebert credited his win to “a lot of hard work” over the past two years, during which, he said, he did his best to represent residents. His top issues include job creation, economic development and maintaining the city’s aging infrastructure.
“It think that resonates with a lot of folks,” Liebert said.
He said he also hopes that people agree with his strong support of organized labor and public safety.
In the future, Liebert said he would emphasize riverfront and downtown redevelopment to increase jobs.