JVG_210407_JVLCC

JANESVILLE

Doug Marklein retained his seat on the Janesville City Council on Tuesday and will be joined by three newcomers, creating a largely new city council.

Marklein, Heather Miller, Michael Jackson and David Marshick won the most votes of six candidates Tuesday night. Marklein was the top vote-getter with 20.83% of the votes, followed by Miller with 19.61%, Jackson with 18.35% and Marshick with 16.38%.

Dan Neal and Jack Herndon got 13.25% and 11.31% of the votes, respectively.

The council had four open seats, and three incumbents—Sue Conley, Jim Farrell and Tom Wolfe—chose not to run for reelection.

Two other council members—Susan Johnson and Paul Benson—are relatively new, only one year into their first terms. Prior to being elected, Benson was appointed to Jens Jorgensen’s seat after Jorgensen resigned in 2019, leaving about one year left in his term.

New council members will have to adjust to the council and build relationships virtually to start out. City officials have said they do not intend to hold city council meetings in person until more of the community has been vaccinated for COVID-19—possibly holding off until June or later.

Marklein said he hopes to be a mentor to the three new council members. This will be his last of five terms, rounding out the 10 years he promised to serve the city when he first ran.

Despite having the most experience, Marklein said he was surprised to be the top vote-getter.

“I had myself pegged at third,” he said. “I thought there were really five great challengers.”

Each candidate spoke highly of the others, with Marklein going so far as to encourage Neal and Herndon to run again in the future.

Marshick, a local banking executive, said he is eager to take Marklein up on his offer to be a mentor.

Having three new members on a seven-member council is a big shift, Marshick said, but he is excited to get to know everyone and get started on issues such as road funding and COVID-19 relief.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work and help the city,” Marshick said.

Road funding was also on the top of Miller’s mind Tuesday night, she said. That and responsible budgeting will be her top priorities moving forward.

Miller, a south-side resident and driving instructor, said she is happy to be a voice for the city’s south side and is ready to listen to those who want to be heard.

The council has not had a south-side representative since Jorgensen resigned.

“We have all been struggling (because of the pandemic) for over a year,” Miller said. “We need to buckle down. ... It’s time to act.”

Jackson, a retired minister, said in a statement he believes 21 years of service to the city have prepared him for the city council.

COVID-19 recovery, housing, infrastructure, job creation, support of local businesses and maintaining basic services are top on the priority list for Jackson.

“I love this city, and I am committed to listen, to serve, to prepare as well as to learn,” Jackson said.

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