Daniel C. OlsonIf elected to serve in Madison, teacher and Iraqi war veteran Dan Olson has two objectives:
By: Phil Pfuehler, The Republican Eagle
Name: Daniel C. Olson
Family: Wife Lillias and daughters Lauren and Olivia
Education: Bachelor’s degree in broad field social studies (history and teaching), University of Wisconsin-Superior, 1993; master’s degree in education, St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn., 2001; education administration certification, Concordia University Wisconsin, 2011-present
Occupation: Educator, soldier; Turtle Lake School District 1994-1998 (social studies, history, sociology, government, psychology, economics); St. Croix Falls School District 1998-present (world history, government); Wisconsin Army National Guard, 1989-present (Iraq War veteran, current company first sergeant in New Richmond, National Guard Unit)
Relevant experience: I have served my community, state and country for the past 23 years. I have been in leadership positions for the past 20 years, including leading troops in some of the most adverse conditions imaginable. I have also taught government, my passion, for the past 19 years.
Elected offices held: None
If elected to serve in Madison, teacher and Iraqi war veteran Dan Olson has two objectives:
• Work to restore a sense of civility in the political dialogue and finding common ground between Republicans and Democrats so that meaningful legislation gets passed, and
• Focus on economic growth policies that include retraining and boosting educational spending that’s linked to job-skill preparedness.
Olson says job creation is a must, especially for District 10, with its imbalance between the poorer, higher-unemployment northern counties versus the better-off southern counties.
“We need more training opportunities. Business owners are worried about the lack of demand for goods and the need for a skilled work force,” he said.
Olson said his opponent, Sheila Harsdorf, is part of the problem that’s resulted in political divisiveness, gridlock and bitterness.
Much of this stems from Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 budget cutbacks that also repealed collective bargaining rights for most public employees.
“I’m a moderate,” he said. “Neither party has all the answers. We need input from multiple sources. … I plan to reach across to all constituents.”
Asked about his motivation to seek public office for the first time, Olson eliminated one factor.
“Some conservative Republicans in the (district’s) northern tier have said I’m just upset about Act 10 and running for that reason. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Olson said he wouldn’t try to overturn the extra health care and pension contributions required of public employees and teachers. However, he said that regaining collective bargaining rights is another matter.
“That’s a basic right,” he said. “The bargaining system wasn’t broke before. You had both sides sitting down to discuss workplace conditions. That’s the way it should be, and local communities are the best ones to decide what they can afford to pay (for wages).”
Olson said his economic revival agenda involves partnering K-12 schools, technical and four-year colleges with businesses and chambers of commerce.
“The goal would be to increase state aid for expanded school offerings that are linked to developing job skills and careers,” he said.
Olson pointed to another attribute he thinks voters will appreciate — his military career. His National Guard unit is based in New Richmond. By December, Olson will have served in the Guard for 23 years.
“I’ve had many opportunities to lead people, to lead soldiers,” he said. “I think that has given me strong leadership qualities.”
Olson added that joblessness for returning veterans, some with multiple deployments, is much higher than for the rest of the population.
“With my background, I’m sensitive to this as a problem,” he said. “We have to take better care of those who have served their country.”