Savard Steps Down From County Board

Door County Supervisor Marc Savard (District 20) announced that he will not run for re-election in 2010. Savard, who was first elected in 2000, will devote his time to his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 8th Congressional District race. He said he wanted to announce early so that others could prepare to run for his position.

Savard, an organic farmer from Liberty Grove, said his time on the board has been an eye-opener.

“The breadth of what county government does is the big unknown for most of the community,” Savard said. “Each of us might have a spoke in the wheel that we know about, but there’s so much that we ask county government to do. We have a $60 million budget, but only a third of that is locally funded. We’re basically the arm that executes much of what federal and state government demands.”

Savard said too much of what local government does is mandated by the federal and state government with little or no money to fund it. That’s one of the main reasons he’s running for Congress. Democrat Steve Kagen has represented the 8th Congressional District since 2006.

“We need to get decisions of our government structure as close to the voter as possible,” he said.

Savard has a narrower interpretation of the role of county government than most other supervisors.

“Our number one job is to make sure the services are available that only government can provide,” he said. In his tenure, Savard proposed cutting the size of the county board in half to save money and was skeptical of new spending.

“When you first get on the board, you’re really just getting your feet wet, learning the routines, getting to know the other board members, and getting a handle on the budget,” Savard said. “It can get away from you, and it has for many counties, if you aren’t diligent.”

Savard said he was proud of his part in keeping the county on a pay-as-you-go spending program and helping to steward the controversial project to build the new Justice Center back in 2002.

“It’s been a battle, and we’ve had some folks that I think are misguided, and we’ve had our disagreements,” he said. “But I’ve been proud of my little part.”