Rishel, McCraw face off in County Board race

Grafton residents see eye-to-eye on paramedic funding plan, importance of preserving Cedar Gorge land
Ozaukee Press Staff

Scott Rishel will face off against challenger Sarah McCraw during spring elections for the Ozaukee County Board District 14 seat.

The seat, which represents the Grafton area, is currently held by Rishel, who will be completing his third nonconsecutive term this spring.

Political newcomer Sarah McCraw said she is no stranger to the obligations and processes of municipal government. The 38-year-old Grafton resident since 2006 worked as a journalist in Ozaukee County before becoming the program coordinator and administrative assistant for the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I have spent many years as a former journalist covering a variety of government meetings such county board and village,” she said.

McCraw holds a bachelors degree in broadcast communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is a graduate of the Emerge program for progressive women entering politics and has served on the boards of the Ozaukee County Jail Literacy Program and Grafton Holiday and Events Committee. She is also a current member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Wisconsin. She has two daughters aged 9 and 11.

Coming from a long line of U.S. Airforce veterans, McCraw said she was instilled with a sense of duty to serve her country. While her father may have preferred her flying fighter jets, she said she believes her service may be better spent on local government.

“I feel propelled and motivated to serve my country in this manner,” she said.

If elected, McCraw said her primary focuses would be to help locally owned businesses, support infrastructure in order to boost tourism and drive revenue to the county and ensure that federal Covid relief dollars are spent responsibly and effectively.

One large initiative she said she would support using American Rescue Plan dollars for is a proposal to hire a team of countywide paramedic firefighters. Fire chiefs throughout the county are requesting that the county use some ARPA funds to hire paramedics for three years, during which departments and municipalities would have to find a way to permanently support the positions afterward.

McCraw said while the funds would assist a shortfall of emergency response personnel in the county, it’s important to ensure the long term vitality of the new positions.

“I do feel that would be a good use of the funds however it is important for the Board of Supervisors to remember this isn’t a permanent fix,” she said.

She added that another use of ARPA funds may be to support nonprofit organizations that supplement county programs. The organizations would be bolstered and the county would benefit in the long run, she added.

Another initiative McCraw said she supports is the preservation of the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs property in the City of Port Washington.

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust has been working with the county to purchase and preserve the land but efforts were cut short when funding through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship grant was put on hold.

McCraw said the county should take steps to ensure the land is preserved and not developed.

The sentiment is shared by Rishel, who said the property would be an exceptional addition to county parkland and outdoor space.

“I would be in support of doing something there to protect that land for future generations,” he said.

Rishel, 56, is the president and co-owner of Professional Control Corp., an automation robotics distribution company in Germantown. He holds a marketing degree from Northern Illinois University.

Rishel and his wife built their home in Grafton 26 years ago. They have two daughters.

Rishel is a member of Ozaukee County Fish and Game club and enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, hunting and golf.

He was on the board for two terms in 2014 and 2016 and returned when the seat was left empty in 2020.

With ample expertise managing a business, Rishel said his experience balancing budgets and plotting returns frequently comes in handy at the County Board level.

“I think people on the board I work with and people I work with on the county level appreciate my business experience.” he said.

A major issue Rishel said the county is facing is a lack of emergency medical service personnel.

“The system is failing at times to provide emergency services for people,” he said.

Rishel said a short term solution like using ARPA money to fund countywide paramedic positions is needed, but it’s important to ensure the longevity of the positions.

He added that many fire departments throughout the county want to maintain their volunteer departments and fear cooperation with other departments may jeopardize their identity. To resolve some of these fears Rishel said he would like the county to play a role in uniting the various departments for a common goal.

“I think we could help bring these communities together to form some kind of solution,” he said.

Another issue Rishel said he sees on the county’s plate is the effect the pandemic has had on Lasata Senior Living Center. He said the center is capable of caring for about 300 people but only about 70 are there now. With more and more people looking for in-home care rather than going to a care center, Rishel said Lasata may need to adjust its business model soon and his business expertise could help.

“It’s going to be difficult to reconfigure that whole business and not impact the tax payers,” he said.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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