Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Three running for register of deeds seat

by Rob Ireland

August 09, 2012

ELKHORN — Three Republicans are vying for the register of deeds seat in the April 14 primary election.

Bob Kordus, Toni Loftus and Donna Pruess will square off in the upcoming election, and the winner will face Sue Finster, a Democrat, in the November general election.

The seat is held by Connie Woolever, who is retiring.

The three candidates offer different experiences — years in banking, public utilities and working at the register of deeds office — but they all provided different reasons for running.

Kordus has long had an interest in politics, his father is a former state legislator and former Milwaukee alderman, and he decided it was time to move from behind the scenes and get involved.

"To go into public service has been an interest of mine for sometime and the time was right," he said. "I have a good background in record keeping and document controls."

Loftus said she believes it is important to serve in local governments.

"I think, especially in today's economic conditions, that it is important that anybody and everybody get involved in local government," Loftus said. "It's time for a new generation of leaders to stand up and step in and really take part in our community."

Pruess has worked for Walworth County since 1980, and has worked as the property lister in the register of deeds office for about seven or eight years.

"I feel it is very important to have knowledge about the office in order to be the register of deeds," Pruess said. "There is so much involved in that office that it is hard for me to fathom someone coming off the streets, that has no knowledge, would be able to run the department."

Pruess said she decided to run because Woolever didn't seek re-election.

Neither Kordus or Loftus can point to direct experience within the Register of Deeds Office, but both said their past employment has prepared them for the job.

"I worked in the banking industry for 25 plus years," Kordus said. "Mostly in the back room operation side, and I have worked in the control side of the business."

Loftus works in account receivables at Rock Energy, a public utility in Rock County. Prior to that she worked at Arrow Financial.

"When I saw the budget for the register of deeds I thought that was a big budget," Loftus said. "My hope is to get elected so I can come and take a look at what consists of that budget and fine tune it and find ways to cut back and allocate resources to someplace else."

Pruess and Loftus have been long-time county residents. Pruess was born and raised in the area and attended Elkhorn High School.

Loftus has lived in the county for 18 years, and raised three daughters here.

"I just think (if voters) are looking for someone to come in, who has a vested interest in the community and the county as a whole, I would be that candidate," she said. "In the business world, I'm all about process improvement and efficiency and cross production and that would be my intent should I get the position."

Kordus said he moved to Lake Geneva about four years ago.

"I have been active in the community, in Walworth County, for a number of years since I have moved down here," he said.

Ties to Republican Party

One of the first organizations Kordus joined when he moved to the area was the local Republican Party.

"I can't say (I'm a) life-long Republican," he said. "I have been a Republican for the last 20 years in change."

Prior to that, he was a Democrat and said he worked on one of Tim Carpenter's first campaigns.

Loftus said she was swayed to the Republican Party by Gov. Scott Walker.

"I was part of his brown bag movement and I did some calling during his recall efforts at the Waukesha center," she said.

Specifically, Loftus said she supports Walker's initiatives to reduce waste.

"I see the abuses in the entitlement program, and I think some of those things really need to be addressed," she said. "I think if the taxpayers really knew the full extent of the waste and abuse in the entitlement programs they would be appalled."

Pruess said her ties with the Republican Party are limited, but she considers herself to be independent.

"To be on the ballot you have to put Republican, Democrat or Independent," Pruess said. "But as far as office policies, the Republican Party has nothing to do with it."

Pruess wasn't coy when she described why she ran as a Republican. "Basically, Walworth County is a Republican County," Pruess said.

"I did go to one Republican meeting. I haven't gone since. I actually haven't joined the Republican Party."

Both Pruess and Loftus said they felt the register of deeds office shouldn't be partisan. "The register of deeds truly should be a nonpartisan position," Loftus said. "It actually surprised me when I saw it had to be a partisan position."