Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Two Candidates Running for Clancy’s County Board Seat

Clancy won't say if he will seek reelection in 2024, despite fellow DSA member filing to run.

By - Aug 21st, 2023 08:02 pm
From left, Jack Eckblad and Ron Jansen. Photos courtesy of the candidates.

From left, Jack Eckblad and Ron Jansen. Photos courtesy of the candidates.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors won’t be up for re-election until spring of next year, but the race for District 4 is already underway.

Two candidates — Jack Eckblad and Ron Jansen — have registered their campaigns with the Milwaukee County Election Commission for the seat currently held by Sup. Ryan Clancy, who declined to say whether he intended to run for reelection. “I have not filed for noncandidacy,” he told Urban Milwaukee. Clancy is also a state representative and has held two elected offices since he was elected to the state Assembly in November 2022.

Eckblad is a senior account executive for Samsara, an AI-driven “Internet of Things” company, who described himself in a campaign announcement as a “third-generation public servant and community organizer from Bay View.” Eckblad’s Linkedin did not include any stints in government service and he could not be reached for comment prior to publishing. Eckblad also said he has “a background in grassroots organizing, including building public schools, and the effort to found the New Economy Credit Union in Riverwest and Harambee.” The credit union was a failed effort led by Alex Brower, executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans and co-chair of the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Eckblad said his three priorities as a member of the board would be “preserving our County Parks and environment; accessible, sustainable public transportation; and affordable housing and renters’ rights.” He also said he would oppose the privatization of county services and support an all-electric fleet.

Jansen told Urban Milwaukee that he has been active in community organizing spaces in Milwaukee. As a candidate for county board, he said his primary concern will be “making sure the county is providing services that actually improve the lives of all the citizens of the county.” He said he feels county government proceedings are not accessible for many and that he wants to “build a cooperative base” of input for his campaign. “I really want to talk to people about what their hopes are for the county.”

He said he would push for “transparency in the Milwaukee County Sheriff‘s Office Budget,” which has been a common refrain and preoccupation of the current supervisor in District 4: Clancy. Jansen also said he agrees with Clancy’s characterization of an annual budget as a “moral document” that makes a statement about a community’s priorities. And both Clancy and Jansen are members of the local chapter of the DSA.

Jansen Fails to Get Socialist Endorsement

Jansen has regularly attended county board events and told Urban Milwaukee that he and Clancy are “friendly” and have “organized together in the past.” Clancy posted a photo to his Facebook page in July showing Jansen walking with him in the Bay View 4th of July Parade this summer. Jansen is also part of an upcoming campaign fundraiser with Clancy, Sup. Juan Miguel Martinez, School Board Member Missy Zombor and State Rep. Darrin Madison Jr.

But Jansen said he made his decision to run independently and that Clancy did not tell him that he wasn’t planning to run. “I think that there’s a reality that he’s holding these two seats that are really difficult to effectively hold,” Jansen said, adding that he knows it’s important to Clancy to be an effective representative in public office.

Clancy said he’s “deeply appreciative” of Jansen’s work.

County courthouse observers have suggested Clancy will not be running for reelection to the board. Clancy did not seek DSA endorsement for the county board seat, based on the results of an endorsement vote recently released by the local chapter. Jansen did seek the endorsement, but did not clear the two-thirds of voting members needed to secure it.

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Categories: MKE County, Politics

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