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Profile: Geneva town supervisor candidates

Lauderdale (click for larger version)

Mumford (click for larger version)
February 25, 2014 | 10:01 AM
GENEVA — Has the gauntlet been thrown?

On the phone Friday, Mike Mumford, who will vie for a town supervisor spot April 1 against former town chairman Dan "Louie" Lauderdale, was discussing his desire to see the town board continue its penny-pinching practices.

Others in the community don't, said Mumford. "A lot of people who have been vocal around the community want to spend money, borrow money, to fund certain projects, and some of these projects included a new town hall."

Then, he said, "My opponent is on one side of that fence, and I'm on the other, from what I understand." When asked to explain that statement, Mumford said he can't speak for Lauderdale's current position on town matters because he hasn't talked to him. Mumford said he was basing his comment on Lauderdale's "past history" as town chairman.

On Monday, Lauderdale said for three of his four years as chairman, the town tax rate was not raised.

He also said he strives not to be critical of others, and he respects that Mumford is willing to serve as town supervisor.

"We're two people running for the same position," said Lauderdale. "I'm not going to make enemies over this."

So, who are these people? Where do they come from? Why are they running to fill the spot currently held by supervisor Steve Kukla, who filed for noncandidacy in December 2013?

Their answers to those questions and more follow. But it's not the last you'll hear of them. Candidates will have another chance to express themselves when they respond to questionnaires that were sent last week by the Regional News.


A 1983 graduate of Elkhorn High School, Lauderdale served six years in the Wisconsin National Guard, as military police. In 1985, he became a part-time officer for a few area police departments, including Sharon and Darien. His full-time police career began in 1986 at the town of Geneva.

"I enjoy giving back. I enjoy working for the public."

It appears his time as a cop may end soon. Lauderdale is considering retirement. However, one reason he is considering staying a cop is that his daughter, Kayla, is attending University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. "I should probably see that through," he said.

So why run? "I'm looking for ways to continue giving back to the community."

There are other reasons, he said, but he declined to go into them.

"They'll be better addressed in my written response" to the questionnaire, said Lauderdale.

From 2007 to 2011, he served as town chairman. Lauderdale said he enjoyed it because, as in law enforcement, the challenge is to help people and solve their problems fairly.

He said when Alliant Energy proposed to build an electrical substation in a residential neighborhood in the south shore region of Lake Como, the board "had to look at the township as a whole" before voting against the proposal.

Lauderdale also mentioned that, in 2007, not long after the start of his first term as chairman, the issue arose of putting in sewers along the south shore of Lake Como. Personally, he supported the sewer concept, but he voted against it because many residents opposed the idea, both vocally at town meetings and in a survey.

"I just strive to serve fairly and impartially, regardless of political affiliation," he said when asked to define himself politically.

What has Lauderdale been doing since he lost his re-election bid three years ago?

He's serving on the board of directors for the Walworth County Alliance For Children.

Why? As a police officer, Lauderdale dealt with sensitive crimes and saw firsthand the impact on families. "It's something that concerns me."


One thing Mumford has in common with Lauderdale is service to his country.

Mumford was in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967. "I was called a weapons system mechanic, on a F-106 fighter."

Originally from Western Springs, Ill., Mumford moved to the town of Geneva in 1997. He had a career in engineering and manufacturing, logging in time with divisions of Emerson Electric, Chicago, and Hader Industries, Milwaukee.

From 2001 to 2013, he and his wife started a home repair/remodel business, The Right Ones. Mumford retired last year.

He said he always enjoyed working on his own house, and also the independence of having his own business. "It was a much more laid back, easygoing thing to do."

Since 2011, Mumford served on the town's planning commission. In 2012, he served on an ad hoc committee which studied fire and rescue service in the town.

Mumford discussed the outcome of the committee's findings.

He said although the committee suggested that the town board hire the Lake Geneva Fire Department to cover all of the Lake Como subdivision, the board did not.

"Was I disappointed? Eh, I suppose, personally, but it wasn't my position to argue that point," said Mumford.

So why run for supervisor?

"Quite honestly, Steve Kukla dropped out … and there was a need for somebody to run in his place, to share his views on the way the town board runs," said Mumford.

He said he agrees with the board on spending.

"I want to keep the momentum of that fiscal responsibility going in that same direction."

The town is on a fixed income, said Mumford, and should be operated that way.

How does he define himself politically? "Pretty independent," he said.

"I have no personal, set goal here, other than to provide my background and experience to the town of Geneva."


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