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1st District Alderman Peter Donegan won't seek re-election

Jan. 7, 2014

Alderman Peter Donegan, who represents the 1st District, has said he will not seek re-election in the spring, and two men have announced they will be candidates for his seat.

W. Scott Nelson and Matt Stippich, both attorneys, said this week they were filing papers to run for the position.

Donegan is nearing the end of his second four-year term.

"It is a lot of work, and I do want to spend that time on other things," he said.

"It was a privilege and a pleasure to serve, and I served with very good people."

W. Scott Nelson

Nelson, 46, an aide for state Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, said he lost an election bid for state Assembly about a decade ago, shortly after moving to Wisconsin. He ran for Wauwatosa's 1st District seat in 2006, losing to Donegan.

Nelson said he had not expected to run, and approved of the job Donegan and his 1st District colleague James Moldenhauer have done — working against spending, striving to hold the line on taxes — but Donegan's decision against seeking re-election provided an opportunity.

"I think it's important to have people there that understand the process," Nelson said, explaining that he has worked in state government in Wisconsin since 2005, and before that in Illinois.

He said he will seek efficiency in government, "making sure that we're doing the most that we can with the taxpayer dollars we're entrusted with," he said. "In Wauwatosa, we get good value for what we pay, but we pay plenty, and I don't think we need to be — every time we want to do something else — necessarily going back to taxpayers and asking for a referendum to increase the tax limits in order to do this or that."

He said he is not motivated by a specific issue beyond maintaining current levels of service and holding the line on taxes.

"I don't think that there's wild inefficiencies with the city government the way it is now, but there's always things that you can do more efficiently," he said.

Nelson serves on the city's Civil Service Commission, which oversees city hiring practices; is a past member of the Washington Highlands Association board of directors; and served as a Milwaukee County election commissioner, providing legal expertise related to suburban elections.

Nelson and his wife, Mary, have a daughter in elementary school.

Matt Stippich

Nelson will be opposed in the spring election by Matt Stippich, an attorney and business owner.

"I've been interested in the prospect of running for several years, but certainly with Pete stepping down, and there being a void there in the 1st District, that accelerated the decision," he said.

This will be his first bid for office.

Stippich, 43, owns and operates Digital Intelligence, which manufactures digital forensic computers, does investigations of electronic crimes and contracts with attorneys for the discovery process in civil cases.

Stippich said one of his interests is community development. He was a founding board member of the North Avenue Neighborhood Alliance, promoting change and growth along North Avenue's East Town corridor. He is a den leader for his son's Cub Scout group, sits on a board for All For Kids, which promotes physical activity for children, and is a member of Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church, serving as finance chairman for the church council.

"It's an interesting time that we're in, because I think that Tosa has so many good things going for it right now," he said. "We're on an upswing, where people are kind of rediscovering the benefits of an urban residential environment, and so, really, my positions tend to lean toward continued growth of Wauwatosa in a measured approach that respects the residential nature of our community."

Stippich said he and his family moved to Wauwatosa because of its mix of businesses and homes, especially in East Tosa, part of which is in the 1st District.

Like Nelson, Stippich sees room for increased efficiency.

"I think that as a business owner I can say this as well: There's always an opportunity to visit the efficiency of the services that are provided, and I think that our community has made a choice of the level of services that they want and we need to try to figure out a way to provide that level of service as well as managing the budget."

Stippich and his wife have a daughter in middle school and a son in elementary school.

Other districts

In previously announced races, Alison Byrne, an intern in the mayor's office, is seeking the 6th District seat being vacated by Brian Ewerdt; Michael Walsh and John Pokrandt have announced their candidacies for the 4th District seat being vacated by Jill Organ; and Jason Kofroth and Michael Morgan are seeking the 7th District seat being vacated by Donald Birschel.

Other council members whose terms are ending — Kathleen Causier in the 2nd District, Tim Hanson in the 3rd, Bobby Pantuso in the 5th District; and Craig Wilson in the 8th District — are running unopposed. Municipal Judge Richard Baker also is unchallenged.

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