Hennepin Voters Have Village Board Race to Decide

Early voting is underway in preparation for the April 9 election.

The first day for early voting was March 25. Early voting will continue through April 6 at the Putnam County Courthouse, 120 N. Fourth St. in Hennepin. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and April 6, 9 a.m. to noon.

Absentee voting is also in progress. The last day to accept an application for an absentee ballot by mail is April 4, and the last day for in person absentee voting is April 8. Anyone wishing to vote absentee in person may stop by the Putnam County Clerk’s office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office will also be open from 9 a.m. to noon April 6. Contact the clerk’s office at 815-925-7129 for more information.

Four candidates, Quentin Buffington, Matthew Dean, Lynn Haage and incumbent Jennifer Spratt, are running for three seats on the Hennepin Village Board on April 9.

Quentin Buffington

Quentin Buffington has an extensive public service record. He is the recording secretary for the Putnam County Emergency Telephones Systems Board, a position he has held since 2001. From 1997 to 2001, he was a member and recording secretary for Putnam County Ad-Hoc 911 committee.

Buffington is a member of the Disaster Drill Committee for the Putnam County Emergency Management Agency, and a former recording secretary for the agency.

A member of Hennepin Fire Department since 1995, he also serves as the secretary-treasurer for Hennepin Fire Rescue. He was instrumental in Hennepin Fire Rescue obtaining IRS 501c3 status. Buffington is the current co-chair for Hennepin 4th of July Committee and has been an active member since 1994.

Buffington has been actively involved in emergency medical services in Putnam County since 1990 and is a member of Hennepin Business and Betterment Association. He owns a small business called Erebos Photographic Studios Ltd.

“In my third bid for village trustee, I hope to bring a keen ability to examine both sides of an issue, an unbiased yet fresh approach to the operation of the village government and my experience gleaned from years of service to a variety of public board appointments,” Buffington said.

Buffington said board trustees should be accessible to the public and willing to listen.

“It is my belief that those serving on a public board should be approachable, open, and honest. As a board member we have to understand that there are a varied amount of opinions and ideas that need to be, and are presented, from the public,” he said. “With that, one must have the ability to challenge the normal, willingly present the minority opinion and support it openly if the facts are present. In every board I have served on, I have always tried to understand and impress upon others that what we do today affects the future, and all decisions are not to be taken lightly or with ignorance.”

Buffington said there are many important issues board members must consider, including finding a fair and balanced approach to handling day-to-day operations, aggressively seeking business growth, and listening to all opinions.

“I have felt that too often there are personal agendas held by those seeking and obtaining public office, and it is my belief that my long history of public service in Hennepin and Putnam County makes it clear that I have always represented the groups I serve without prejudice, with honesty and integrity,” he said.

Matthew Dean

Matthew Dean, a chef and Center of the Plate specialist for US Foods, has a degree in public relations, education in business and tourism and work experience in management and business consulting. Born and raised in Hennepin, he left the village while attending college and returned because it was a place where he wanted to start a family.

“I want to work with others to keep Hennepin a great place to do this,” he said.

If elected, Dean said he’d work as part of a team to bring new business and families to Hennepin. He will also try to build more community interaction through festivals and events.

The most important issue he would like to tackle if he is elected to the board is economic development — he would like to help create good paying full-time jobs for the community.

Lynn Haage

From 1994 to 2001, Lynn Haage spent nearly seven years as Hennepin village clerk. Now she’d like a seat on the board.

“I feel it is important to give back to your community. Having been raised in Hennepin and raising my children in Hennepin, I have been blessed with the many advantages our small town has to offer,” she said. “I believe that our past boards have done an excellent job of making good decisions for our village. Having the privilege of serving as village clerk for several years, I was afforded the opportunity to learn firsthand the duties of village trustee. I am seeking the office of village trustee to continue the fiscal responsibility that our past boards have exhibited.”
If elected, Haage will focus on fiscal responsibility, listening to any concerns residents have and attracting businesses.

“Although maintaining fiscal responsibility is always of highest priority, I also hope that residents will be able to come to me to voice their opinion and concerns on whatever issues they may have. It will be my objective to make the best decision for the majority of the residents,” she said. “Hennepin, together with the entire county, is looking forward to the prospect of attracting industrial growth to our community. Taking into account the fiscal climate that our entire nation is enduring right now, the prospect of industrial growth in our area would be a very welcome endeavor.”

Haage said the village has been bequeathed land and money from generous individuals over the years.

“If managed appropriately, the generosity of those residents should be able to be utilized for many generations to come. I understand the necessity for that responsibility and am willing to be a continued part of that accomplishment,” she said.

Haage is employed as the office manager/911 coordinator for Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. She also was a member of the Hennepin Fourth of July committee for approximately 20 years.

Jennifer Spratt

Incumbent Jennifer Spratt has served four years on the Hennepin Village Board.

“I also sit on the Putnam County 911 committee, as well as being a past member and co-chair of the Hennepin Fourth of July committee,” she said.

While on the village board, she has been a member of the farm and public health committees, and has been chairman of the finance and Hazel Marie Boyle homes committee.

“During my current tenure on the board, I have enjoyed learning the process and procedures that go into making local government work. I believe everyone has the civic duty to be present and active in their community, to help to change those things that can work better and to help maintain those that make our community such an excellent place to live,” Spratt said. “For me, that civic duty means to do my best as an elected official to uphold the beliefs and ideals of the citizens I represent.”

Spratt grew up in Putnam County and now she and her husband, Rob, raise their children in Hennepin.

“It is important to me that my children grow up in a community they can feel proud of, and that will be a safe, secure and successful place for them to raise their own children, if they choose,” she said.

Spratt said she wants help Hennepin grow and develop.

“I hope to help maintain the wonderful community we live in, as well as to help the growth and development of the village of Hennepin. We have all been affected by the downturn in the economy, as well as the loss of some of the local industries, both in our county and in surrounding counties,” she said. “I believe that to help grow our community and make it a successful place to live, we need to grow our economy. If elected, I hope to continue efforts of the current board to make our community attractive to prospective industry. I also will continue, as a member and chair of the finance committee, to do what is in the best interest of the tax payer in regards to the growth and retention of public funds.”

Spratt said, if re-elected, she will continue to be available to listen to concerns, questions and comments from the residents of Hennepin.

Sources: News Tribune and Putnam County Record