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Incoming District 5 Luce County Commissioner

By Caitlynn Canfield

The Luce County Commission will welcome incoming commissioner Brandon Wheeler after the end of the year. Wheeler was elected as Commissioner of District 5, which covers the southwest corner of Luce County. I asked him a series of questions to help everyone understand his goals and plans for improving our county.

What are some obstacles you hope to overcome for your district?

Ultimately my goals are to improve our district/county by adding more community resources/improvement projects and building upon our assets that we have. This entails working towards a walking/bike along Ten Curves Road (County Road 98) which would give residents and guests of Luce County Park walking/biking access that is not directly on the road.

As we all know and have seen people walking along the side of this road up and down a hill that is very dangerous. Some other ideas would include creating new or improving existing snowmobile/ATV, cross country skiing and hiking trails. This would provide better experiences for all parties and make our community safer by keeping the recreational vehicles off the highways and on designated trail systems. Involvement with the DNR in promoting our great inland lakes we have, to ensure they are properly managed and how we can continue to improve upon them such as fish populations.

My main goals are creating and completing some of these community improvement projects which will serve the residents of the district and county a better place to live.

What are your plans to improve the economy in your district (or county)?

The lakes and our vast public land are our greatest assets which drive our tourist economy. By completing some of the aforementioned community improvement projects, it will allow our district/county to become more attractive to all travelers alike i.e.: snowmobiling, fishing, ATVs, hikers and vacationers. I understand many residents also depend on the economy of few large employers in Newberry which we must also work towards ensuring they will be here for generations to come. Adding some manufacturing into the industrial park would be a grand improvement to our local economy by providing jobs and creating competition within the small workforce market. This helps with funding our schools, which is always a priority to ensure. Seeking out companies that can utilize local resources such as our great timber lands would be the first step towards achieving this.

What inspired you to run for commissioner?

Being a lifetime resident of this district and now as a small business owner within, I would like to serve in this position to make changes in our community that make our community a better place. We have so many great resources here and I want to see all our business and residents thrive in this beautiful area.

Anything else you’d like people to know about you?

Any and all ideas are welcome in ways we can all improve. We all live here together so let’s make a great place to be.

Outgoing District 5 Commissioner Phyllis French, who first took office in 2003, served for a total of 16 years.

French said highlights of serving as commissioner were the people/contacts she made and helping bring Luce County into the new century. Another highlight was helping the courthouse get universal WIFI. She helped set up the internet for the whole courthouse instead of offices being on their own plans.

French doesn’t spend winters here, so she participated in meetings online via Zoom. This was an exception due to covid regulations. Recently, those regulations have been lifted. Since virtual attendance will no longer be possible, and she plans to spend more time with family, French decided to give others a chance to serve the community as she did. Her future plans are to travel, enjoy winters with no snow, and spend quality time with her children.