The city can expect new faces on the city council in April with three members choosing not to run for reelection.
Four of the seven city council seats are up for grabs. Doug Marklein will attempt to keep his seat, while Sue Conley, Jim Farrell and Tom Wolfe have chosen not to run.
Six candidates are running for the four seats, and Marklein is the only one with experience holding an elected position within the city.
Jack Herndon, Michael Jackson, David Marshick, Heather Miller and Dan Neal are the other five challengers. All are newcomers to Janesville politics. At least three of them will be elected.
Conley announced in November she would not run for reelection after winning a seat on the state Assembly, replacing former Rep. Deb Kolste.
Farrell said he thought eight years on the council was a good period of time and that he made a lot of progress in moving the city forward in that time.
Wolfe had similar sentiments, adding that he waited to make his decision until he knew there was an adequate number of people running to fill all the empty seats. He served four years on the council and previously served nine years on the Janesville School Board.
These six candidates are running for city council.
Herndon, 49, of 404 S. Walnut St., is a drywaller who might be better known as the organizer of Redneck Fest, a summertime festival Herndon used to host at his home. Profits from the festival benefited Easter Seals’ Camp Wawbeek, a camp for people with differing ability levels.
Organizing the festival, which hosted 4,000 people in its final year in 2011, helped prepare Herndon for a position on the council, he said.
City operations are complicated, and Herndon said he wants to help people understand how things work. He wants to inform the community about whom to contact when they have problems.
A lot of people complain about how things work, but few step up to the plate to do something about it, Herndon said.
Jackson, 73, of 2112 N. Wright Road, is a retired pastor who worked at New Life Assembly of God in Janesville for 16 years. He is a native Kansan who now calls Janesville his hometown.
The former pastor has dedicated much of his life to improving access to health care through various organizations. He also started the church’s annual Freedom Fest.
He chose to run because he wants to be able to identify and fulfill the needs of Janesville residents.
Jackson has five issues he wants to address: coronavirus pandemic recovery, aiding small businesses, creating affordable housing, maintaining fiscal responsibility and job creation.
Marklein, 65, of 3865 Redhawk Court, has been on the council for eight years. He said he is running again because his goal was to serve 10 years. If elected, it would likely be his last term.
With several council members not seeking reelection, Marklein said he thought it was important to run again and possibly provide experience to a new council.
Marklein prides himself on being a problem-solver. He said he does not seek specific issues to tackle but rather works to form solutions to the problems that present themselves.
Marshick, 54, of 4255 Saratoga Drive, is the senior vice president of commercial banking at First National Bank and Trust in Janesville.
He has spent the last 15 years working as a booster for downtown revitalization, which he said will be a priority if he is elected.
After he spent so much time aiding the downtown, Marshick said he thought the council was the next step in his community involvement.
Marshick describes himself as thoughtful and said every decision he would make on the council would be balanced and well thought-out.
Miller, 51, of 2023 Joliet St., is a former police officer who has lived in Janesville for 24 years. She currently works as a driving instructor and volunteers with ECHO.
Coming from a law enforcement background and military family, Miller said she is a big proponent of consistency and wants to see the city’s ordinances applied and enforced consistently across the board.
People have concerns and don’t know where to go, Miller said, and she wants to make sure people know how to get assistance.
As a south-side resident, Miller hopes to be a champion for south-side revitalization, especially a grocery store, an issue that has been brought up among city officials dozens of times since Pick ‘n Save closed in 2017.
Neal, 38, of 115 S. Garfield Ave., is a regional construction manager for fire protection at JF Ahren in Madison and is a native Janesville resident.
Politics have always interested Neal, he said, and he believes the city council is a good way for him to get involved in a nonpartisan way.
Neal is the social chair for Forward Janesville and has been involved with the organization since 2000.
He said he hopes to help businesses move past the pandemic, and he vows to show up and be a voice for the public.