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Salem Lakes Leadership Changes Overnight – Challengers Sweep Incumbents

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Salem Lakes Village President-Elect Rita Bucur Looks At Election Results Tuesday Night At Wilmot Stage Stop
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Voters in the Village of Salem Lakes sent four incumbent board members packing this election cycle. In their place, they elected a new Village President, and three new board members. The four celebrated their commanding win at historic Stage Stop in Wilmot. Restaurant owner Chad Cantwell, an active supporter of the four challengers, donned giant signs on the side of the 170-year-old building that read “Change the Village Board.” Bucur and the three trustees dominated the incumbents by a 2-1 ratio.

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President-Elect, Rita Bucur is married with two children and has lived in Salem Lakes for the past 22 years. Bucur is a print project manager at Uline.

Trustee-Elect Kelly Sweeting Addresses the Crowd Tuesday Night
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Katherine (Kelly) Sweeting began her career as an owner/operator of a mid-size union contracting outfit that was sold just prior to the recession. Over the years Kelly was employed by many others as well and held several different titles. Kelly has been the following: a licensed real estate professional, an on-site construction/project manager, a senior construction administrator/account manager, and a senior development administrator. 

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Trustee-Elect Jared Young
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Jared Young is married with three children and has been a resident of Salem Lakes his entire life. He graduated from Wilmot Union High School in 2002 and attended Gateway Technical College to study computer science. Jared joined the military in 2003 and in 2007, he was medically discharged after being injured in the Iraq War. While serving, Jared obtained Secret Security Clearance and Certification upon graduation from COMSEC school in Fort Gordon, GA. Jared is a superintendent at WALSH construction.

Trustee-Elect Bill Barhyte
(photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Bill Barhyte has been a resident of Salem Lakes his entire life. He has been married for 39 years and has four children and five grandchildren. Bill served four years in the Marine Corps, attained the rank of E-5 Sergeant, and served as a shop/squad Sergeant. Bill has also spent 41 years as a Volunteer/Paid-on-Call Firefighter at the Trevor/Salem Lakes Fire Department as a Lieutenant. Furthermore, he was elected to the Trevor/Wilmot Consolidated School District Board for approximately 25 years.

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Trustee-Elect Jared Young, President-Elect Rita Bucur, Trustee-Elect Kelly Sweeting, and Trustee-Elect Bill Barhyte
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Another, challenger, Norm Kazumura, didn’t win a seat on the board, but defeated the two incumbents, Mike Culat and Ted Kmiec. Village President Tesar was voted out of office tonight and Dan Campion was voted out in the primary.

Please see a more in-depth story at KCE later this week.

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Stage Stop Owner and President of Salem Lakes Area Business Owners Association President, Chad Cantwell
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.

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31 Responses

    1. Here in PP nobody ran against Steinbrink SR which was sad, but I still wrote someone in just so he knew I didn’t want to him to be here anymore.

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      1. We were surprised by that. The board member who lost his seat actually was a guy who asked questions. Surprised that Kremer didn’t run for president.

  1. Respect the ladies at the village hall they are god scent and have nothing to do with polictics .They deserve a lot of respect.Good job with your victories and thank you.

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  2. Wonder why mike and Brad are now driving their personal vehicles to and from work everyday. As soon as those two thieves are gone this village will be much better off.

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  3. This is wonderful news! We were stuck with the old group when we lived in Salem and it was exhausting to deal with those low-lifes

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  4. Congrats Salem Lakes for making the change of leadership! Wondering why Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie did not replace Adams and Steinbrink? We need these career hacks out of government. Wishing we had more people step up for change thanks Lamar for trying.

  5. I would be curious as to how many votes Steinbrink received in Pleasant Prairie vs how many ballots cast in Pleasant Prairie. He ran unopposed. Which happens a lot everywhere. I know for one, me, I left it blank.

  6. Back to the original issue. The Salem Lakes Fire Department is a mess that needs to be cleaned up. And it should be job one.

    Across the country volunteer and part-time fire departments have a tough time getting and keeping members. It’s a major commitment so losing someone is a big deal. Was is like this when Pete Gallo ran things? I doubt it.

  7. When does the new board take over? Is there an overlap of both boards? How do we know the new board is getting all, unaltered documents?

  8. The village of Silver Lake essentially was merged with the Town of Salem to become the village of Salem Lakes. That’s huge and maybe more than the old town board was capable of pulling off.

    Villages have more power — and responsibility — than towns and the mindset of now being a village of 15,000+ people is a lot different than running a town government. These additional responsibilities and powers means the people running things have more to do and ought to be more qualified to do that. There’s a bit different skill set for a village board than a town board.

    Job one for the village board is setting up a proper framework for the village government and hiring capable people to run it. Your brother-in-law’s best buddy might not be that person, so to speak. Hopefully the new board will understand that and fix this. They not only need to address the fire department but carefully evaluate and monitor the contract with the sheriff’s department. Word is that deputies are writing citations to circuit court (where they are more expensive to citizens but the village gets less back) instead of the municipal court. If the village is paying the county for police protection then it should have a contract that ensures, for example, that the deputies are based in the village and properly enforce village ordinances. And the village needs competent legal advice as well. The village attorney who prosecutes municipal cases for Salem Lakes is also the municipal judge for the Town of Burlington and as a private practice attorney could defend municipal defendants in other courts.

    As a village Salem Lakes is no longer a town with town government. The new board needs to understand that and step up to the plate.

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