Final Election Results Analysis

Final Election Results Analysis

I’ve had some time to look things over, and to formulate my thoughts on the election and its results. So, here they are.

First, I am actually excited to see that from last year’s election, we almost DOUBLED the number of participating voters, from 22.2% of all eligible voters, to 38.6% of all eligible voters. This is good news for our democracy. It shows that on the local level we’re getting much more interested in the process, and want to have our voices heard. This is a great thing!

I’d like to start by looking back at last election cycle to see my personal results, and then compare those to this cycle.

Last Year

Here were my 2022 Spring results:

I did half as well for the Village Trustee position as I did for the school board, which makes sense, because really the school board is where my heart is, as I really want the best for our kids more than anything else. I also had some VERY strong competition for the Village Board, as pretty much everyone else on the ballot were well known names already in the local community, and I had just gotten started. I talked with my wife about the school board results, and while my percentage was extremely low, she told me that I should be proud of myself for accidentally running against the school board president who’d been on the board for over 15 years. I’ll have to take her at her word for that, as she has experience with this kind of thing, having grown up in another small rural Wisconsin community.

Now, looking at this year’s results…

This Year

In the School Board Primary, I did almost exactly as well as I did last year’s general election. So I have to assume it was largely the same people voting for me. The fact that it’s a primary however, and many people ignore primaries and just vote at the “regular” elections makes me feel a bit better about my results. Even though I was the lowest vote-getter and got knocked off the ballot, getting as many votes in the primary as I got in the general election last year I think I should consider some form of win. The total number of votes cast during the primary was 1,257. The total number of votes cast for the School Board during this year’s general election was 2,454, with only 14 of those being write-ins. Making the assumptions that if my name was still on the ballot, and that I would have received the same percentage of the vote… if we just increased the total number of votes cast from the primary to match the general election and increased my votes proportionately, then I would have theoretically received 253 votes, putting me at third place. Now, of course, that’s a WHOLE LOT of postulating, and most likely wouldn’t match up with reality. But it’s a slightly comforting thought to blunt the loss.

I did SUBSTANTIALLY better in the Trustee race than I did this time last year. In fact, almost three times better. So that shows some good progress. This could be partly attributed to the fact that my votes weren’t “split”, as I’m sure last year that at least a good chunk of people believed that I should only have one position or the other, but not both. This year, with me being knocked off the ballot for school board, I most likely consolidated all of the votes I would have gotten. I’m slightly miffed that with the efforts that I put in that I barely got more votes than two people who didn’t do any advertising that I had seen, and didn’t do any canvassing that I’m aware of. Que sera, sera.

This year, I started my canvassing at the opposite side of the Village from where I started last year and worked my way backwards. Between the last two years, I’ve physically canvassed roughly 75% of the Village of Fall Creek proper. Being a family man with a full time job, my time is fairly limited in that way, and physically walking from house to house to talk to people is EXTREMELY time consuming. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to even TOUCH the more “remote” areas outside of the main village that are still within the bounds of the school board’s jurisdiction, such as the Towns of Seymour and Lincoln. I hope to get to them next year.


I have determined that, with the progress that I have made, that there is a good portion of my fellow residents that hear my message and agree with it. I believe that I’m starting to build what they call a “constituency”, and I thank them all for their support. It’s been a long, hard road, and will continue to be one.

I don’t get anything for “free”, because I’m not what they call a “native son”. The “Bennett” name is not a name that’s been in the Fall Creek area for generations. I don’t get free automatic votes from people that knew me their entire lives, because nobody in Fall Creek has known me that long. I have no family, and very few friends here. I’m not a very social person, and I know that I can be very off-putting and rub people the wrong way. I’m working on that, the best that I can. I’ve had to work for every single vote that I’ve gotten so far, and I appreciate each and every person that has blessed me with their trust and faith. Thank you.

I have decided to continue my efforts. However, next year I will most likely focus on one board or the other, rather than splitting my attentions between both. Which one I choose will depend on a couple of factors, including who else may be running next year for the open positions.

I will no longer be attending the board meetings that the majority of my fellow citizens have decided that they don’t want me at. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted. Which means that I won’t be able to record those meetings and publish them. I IMPLORE both boards to do this voluntarily themselves, and show the community that they believe in full transparency, and that they aren’t afraid to let the public know how they behave and interact with each other. Meeting agendas and minutes only give the public so much information, and in my opinion, it’s not nearly enough. Non-verbal and verbal interactions between board members reveal a whole lot more about a person’s character than the way that they vote, often times.

I’m going to be reducing my Facebook footprint substantially. It’s been pointed out to me that it’s caused more detriments than benefits to my campaigns. People can misinterpret and take things the wrong way or only read/hear part of the message and ignore the rest. I’ve also been told that that constant presence there has become irritating to some, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s an irritant. We need to be able to talk about important issues without getting personal, and apparently that’s much harder to do on Facebook. So I will be mostly restricting my own thoughts to this site from here on out. That way people can come here if they want to know and hear them, rather than have them “forced” on them. I also do much better face-to-face than I do in text format, frankly, as it gives me the chance to see people’s reactions, and respond to them in kind, explaining myself further or in a different way as needed to make sure the message gets across correctly and isn’t misunderstood.

I’ve pointed out to most people reading this the faults and the problems that I’ve seen. And I think a lot of people are starting to open their eyes to those issues. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. Now, I think it’s time to start working on creating solutions to those problems.

I will also be slowing down a bit, spending some more time with my family, less time walking around, more time thinking about what I think this community needs, and formulating potential plans for improvement. To start focusing on solutions, rather than just problems.

I would like to thank again those that voted for me. Your voices have been heard. It’s not a roar, rather a low rumble, but I suspect that it will be a constant one that will grow in time.

Finally, I would once again like to congratulate all of the sitting board members that maintained their position in this election, as well as congratulate Amy Kurtz for her big win on the School Board. I hope that she will make some positive changes to the status quo.

Tri-County Area Times – Fall Creek Village Board Trustee Questionnaire Answers

Tri-County Area Times – Fall Creek Village Board Trustee Questionnaire Answers

Below are my answers to the Tri-County Area Times Questionnaire which they sent to all Board Trustee candidates that they could get a hold of.

1). Why do wish to serve or continue to serve the Village of Fall Creek as an elected official?

I was raised a Navy brat, knowing no real “home” for my entire childhood, which I’d always longed for. This happily changed when I moved here and settled down in this fantastic community. The Village of Fall Creek is a great place to have a family and raise children. Having my wonderful wife and two children of my own, I’d like to be able to represent myself and other “middle aged” parents on the board. I would like to see the village continue to prosper, renew, and to continue to be a place where my children would want to settle and raise their own families in the future.

2). What is your opinion on the relationship between the Village of Fall Creek and the Town of Lincoln and Eau Claire County and it’s importance for the future growth of the village?

I think that it’s important that the village continue to work together with the Town of Lincoln on local issues that affect both municipalities, and yet still maintain their separate spirits. The Town of Lincoln serves a community of individuals that live further apart from each other, while the Village of Fall Creek serves those that live generally in closer proximity. As such, they each have different wants and needs, and I think it’s important for us to recognize that, and for both groups to work together to achieve common goals, while not stepping on each other’s toes. Meanwhile, Eau Claire County continues to provide extended support for both municipalities, and it’s important for that dialogue to continue, for us to express to the county our needs, as well as representing ourselves sufficiently at that level of government. We must work together and try to tamp down on any divisive rhetoric. We’re all in this together, we should support and help each other. It’s the Midwest way.

3). Is there a project or program or initiative you would like to see the village take on or accomplish during your term in office that would help improve the quality of life in the village and what would it be?

Well at the forefront always, we should be mindful of “rural decay”, which is a very real issue facing villages such as ours. I don’t like seeing buildings that appear abandoned right in the heart of the village, and I think we can work together to resolve that. But that’s a long-term goal. In the short term, if I can just accomplish the task of opening government to fuller transparency and engaging the electorate in a more consistent and regular way, then I would consider my tenure to be one well spent. This would involve recording and publicizing all public meetings on the Village website (as I’ve been attempting to do as a private citizen), as well as providing all public documentation to the community online for free, without requiring an open records request. I’d like to make it policy that our local government pushes to give the community all the information they need to make informed decisions BEFORE the issues affecting them have been voted on, so that they have a chance to let their voices be heard.

Village President Nominee Letters

Village President Nominee Letters

It was brought to my attention that both nominees for Village President had sent letters to Fall Creek citizens. While I find it strange that I wasn’t included on these mailing lists, as I’ve been a resident for over a decade, I’ll have to assume it was a simple mistake.

Luckily, a kind citizen has given me access to these documents, so I have scanned them and provided them here, for anyone else that was left off of their mailing lists:

Fall Creek Water Rate Change

Fall Creek Water Rate Change

For all those concerned (as I was initially) with the rate increase on our Village water rates, I strongly recommend that you visit the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Electronic Records Filing System, and read the documents for our own Docket (ID 1920-WR-105).

Here is a direct link to the docket and its documents:

I think the most important documents to note are:

It is a great wealth of information, and I believe that there would have been substantially less public outcry if such information was pushed out to the public throughout the process. We should consider doing so in the future. As it stands right now, it appears that the Village relies largely on a “pull” process, where citizens must request information (which they may not even be knowledgeable enough to know to ask for!), rather than a “push” process, where the information is pushed out to all residents.

A more informed community, is a happier, healthier, and better community, in my opinion. I hope that we may all learn from this process, and be better for it going forward. I’ve certainly learned much that I didn’t know before.

Fall Creek Village Board Trustee Ballot Order

Fall Creek Village Board Trustee Ballot Order

The names have been drawn, and below you can see the names of all of the individuals competing for three open spots on the Village Board. I have denoted incumbents with an asterisk (*) and attempted to link next to all candidates’ names either their official website(s), and/or their social media page(s), if I could find them, so that you can learn more about us.

  1. Karen Hurd* – Election Website, Business (2), 2022 Assembly Election (2), Personal Facebook (may be old/out of date)
  2. Mark Pranckus – Personal Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
  3. West Bennett – You’re on my election website, Facebook (2), LinkedIn
  4. Dusty Levasseur – Personal Facebook
  5. Karen Herbison* – Business, Facebook, LinkedIn
  6. Matt Mattoon* – Personal Facebook

If any of this information is inaccurate, please contact me and I will correct it immediately. Good luck to all those participating.

The Pond – Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition Information

The Pond – Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition Information

I’ve joined the Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition mailing list in order to better understand the challenges facing the Fall Creek Pond. You can join too if you wish by sending a request to either the person running that list, DANIEL P ZERR, or his associate Chris Straight, which is how I got on the list. I see that Village Trustee Karen Herbison is on the list, but don’t recognize any other names as local notables.

I’m going to provide you here with all of the documentation I’ve received thus far from the list. The next Zoom meeting will be held on Dec 8, 2022 03:00 PM. Apparently they only meet via Zoom. Here is the link to join the meeting at the appropriate time, if you’re interested. If I can, I will attempt to record the meeting and provide it to the public. The process for improvement appears to be a fairly slow years-long process, and I’m not quite sure why that is. Perhaps the meeting itself will reveal more.

All of the files that I’ve received so far are shown at the bottom of this post, but I have extracted from them all the parts that specifically mention Fall Creek in the next section, if you don’t want to read through it all. However, I would recommend reading through it all, as Fall Creek is not isolated – what affects the greater Chippewa Valley affects us, and vice-versa.

Note above from the “2018 Plan Accomplishments” report
Notes above from the “late 2018-2019 Plan Accomplishments” report
Notes above from the 2020 “Plan Accomplishments” report

The Pond

The Pond

One of my interests in the Village is the state of the Fall Creek Pond. One day, I’d like my kids to be able to play in the pond like they can at Coon Forks or Big Falls, perhaps even with a small beach. Call me a big dreamer.

I’ve done some investigating, and learned that the “scummy” pond water and substantial algae blooms are mostly caused by leakage of nitrates and other runoff compounds from local farmer’s fields into the watershed. These act as nutrients for the “scummy” algae and other plants that have taken over the pond.

I’d like us to do whatever we can to reduce this issue. I see many possible steps forward, including but not limited to:

Note, that I wish all of these ideas/suggestions/proposed changes should be based on the mutual consent un-coerced of the nearby landowners. The Village should partner with these farmers to create a local goodwill coalition to improve our local watershed. Perhaps a “Fall Creek Watershed Coalition”?

Village Ordinance Changes

Village Ordinance Changes

As many of you know, the Village Board is often times making changes to their ordinances. I’ve asked the board as well as Mr. McKee to provide either an out loud reading, or some notification accessible online so that the electorate has an easier and more convenient means to inspect these changes between the first and second readings, so as to give the public a chance to respond at the next meeting before the second reading is voted upon.

Thankfully, Mr. McKee has acquiesced to this request, at least in this instance, and provided the “first reading” copies of the modified titles on their website for the public to view, noting changes on the document in red. It should be noted that this release of information digitally is above and beyond the minimum requirements for the village, which by law must post this information in three public physical locations. (reference –

You can find those documents and changes on their ordinances website, here, at the top of the page:

Let us hope that this becomes the new standard, giving the public a greater input into changes affecting them. Thank you Mr. McKee, and Ms. Roemhild, for making these more easily accessible to the public!

Fees and Documentation

Fees and Documentation

It’s just been brought to my attention that the fee schedule set by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue is not NEARLY sufficient to appropriately compensate the Village of Fall Creek for their time and effort in producing the digital packets that I was seeking to release periodically (such as the “May and June” roundup that I’ve already released).

This is disappointing. And apparently, I’m unable to, by law, compensate the Village more appropriately for those services, as those fees are set in stone with no room to help it match the ACTUAL time and labor necessary to produce that documentation.

As such, I will no longer be seeking that documentation. Anyone else that wishes to of course can, but I’ve learned that it’s nothing more than a burden on the Village to do such a thing, so perhaps it’s something that should be saved for “special cases”, rather than being a standard regular periodic exercise.