On this one, citizens really can't get it wrong.
ROBERT SPODEN HAS BEEN a fixture as Rock County's sheriff for many years, but change is coming. Sheriff Spoden decided not to seek re-election, and voters are asked to choose between Troy Knudson and Jude Maurer for the post in the Nov. 6 election.
Knudson is the Democrat candidate. He's 51, and has been employed with the sheriff's department for nearly 30 years. Over that time he has served in various capacities - corrections, investigator, canine handler - and currently ranks as a commander. He's experienced and well educated, holding a master's degree in criminal justice from Boston University.
Maurer is the Republican candidate. He's 46, and has been with the department nearly 25 years. He, too, has served in a number of capacities - corrections, patrol, support services - and currently ranks as a captain. Maurer is well rounded and well educated and he, too, hold's a master's degree, in management, from Cardinal Stritch University.
LET'S SAY THIS FIRST: It is absurd this position is an elective post - and even more absurd that it is a partisan elected post.
Unfortunately, though, it is, and voters, on Nov. 6, will have to make a choice.
Here's the good news: These two men are quality candidates and voters can't really get it wrong.
If Commander Knudson is elected, Rock County should be fine.
And if Captain Maurer is elected, Rock County should be fine.
We will make this rather soft endorsement, for Maurer.
All things being equal, with both men well qualified, Knudson is more closely tied to the longtime run of the past administration. Maurer may be more likely to take a fresh look and bring some changes to the operation. Maurer, with the patrol division, may have more street-cop in him. He's known as a tell-it-like-it-is guy, which could serve him well as he works to communicate through the ranks.
That's not to knock Troy Knudson. He'd make a good sheriff. But since the current system forces citizens to make the choice, we would choose Maurer.