McDonald will not seek re-election

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
— Tom McDonald will not seek a third two-year term on the Janesville City Council.

McDonald, 30, said he was announcing his decision early so residents would have plenty of time to decide whether to run.

McDonald, an attorney, said he is quitting because his priorities soon would change. He married last year and will be a father in September.

“I already know that a lot of evenings and weekends will be devoted to family, whereas in the past few years, evenings and weekends were devoted to the council,” McDonald said.

The terms of three council members—McDonald, Kathy Voskuil and Yuri Rashkin—expire in April.

Residents can’t take out papers until December but can declare at anytime an intention to run.

McDonald has been a fiscal conservative on the council and an advocate of farmland preservation and open government.

He has been a man of few words, hoping to trim the sometimes-lengthy meetings.

McDonald said he decided to run because he wanted to serve the community. He is one of the youngest people to serve on the council. Prior to running, McDonald hadn’t focused a lot on city government.

“I couldn’t have named two council members, and I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention,” McDonald said.

That changed, of course, and council President George Brunner said McDonald always arrives at meetings prepared.

Brunner said McDonald is an asset because he has a background in accounting and law. He often provides a different view, particularly in budget and financial discussions.

“That seemed to be really a strongpoint,” Brunner said. “Almost every issue that the council deals with has some fiscal impact.

“It really has been a pleasure serving with him on the council.”

McDonald said he had several goals, one of which is to make sure the city stays financially healthy.

McDonald was the reason the council held a financial study session earlier this year, and he has asked for caps on borrowing and use of the city’s reserve. He also wants the city to stop borrowing for street maintenance.

“We’ve still got a lot of tough issues coming up later this year with the budget, the revaluation and whatever else may come to the city,” McDonald said.

With reports of companies locating or considering locating in the area, it appears things might be turning around, he said.

McDonald is proud that he was a member of the council that hired City Manager Eric Levitt.

McDonald said Levitt has done a great job despite record snowfalls and the closing of the General Motors plant.

McDonald said he’s also proud of something that hasn’t happened.

“We haven’t had a lot of farmland torn up during my time on the council,” McDonald said.

He is the first council member to serve on the city’s new green committee.

“The conversation has started where people are more concerned about farmland preservation than they were five years ago,” McDonald said.

“Hopefully, there will come a day when people don’t see farmland as vacant land—they see it as agricultural land.”

Last updated: 5:21 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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