Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Board of Supervisors

Dane County Board of Supervisors Oral History Project

Individuals who have first served on the Dane County Board of Supervisors have gone on to serve in the United States Senate, Congress, the Wisconsin Legislature, as Wisconsin cabinet secretaries, and in countywide and citywide positions. The leadership skills and familiarity with policy developed on the local level has served as a launching pad for higher office.  Additionally, members of the County Board who have served as County Board Chair hold important perspectives on how to move policy and programs forward. 

The purpose of this project was to record an oral account to capture the history of the Dane County Board, particularly as an incubator of future leaders.

Ten individuals who had served on the Dane County Board and have attained higher office were interviewed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and include:

  • Representative Pocan
  • State Senators Mark Miller and Melissa Agard
  • Assemblywomen Shelia Stubbs, Terese Berceau, and Dianne Hesselbein
  • Assemblyman David Clarenbach
  • Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar;
  • Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell (who also served as a Board Chair)
  • Former Fitchburg Mayor Tom Clauder

Individuals who served as Chair of the County Board, covering five decades of service, from Rod Matthews in the 1970s to the current Board Chair, Analiese Eicher were interviewed.  In addition to Chairs Matthews and Eicher, the following former County Board Chairs also participated in the project:

  • R. Richard (Dick) Wagner
  • J. Michael (Mike) Blaska
  • Scott McDonell
  • Sharon Corrigan

The interviews explored major issues during each individual’s time on the County Board.  The result is a series of six podcasts organized by theme. The topics of the podcasts are:

  • Family and Community Support to Run for Public Office
  • Collaboration between Board Supervisors (Reaching Across the Aisle)
  • Policies/Projects that Shaped Dane County
    • Part A (1970’s and 1980’s)
    • Part B (1990’s)
    • Part C (2000’s and 2010’s)
  • · Dane County Criminal Justice Policy

Over the course of the interviews, it became clear that the project could be further enhanced with a video component.  Working with Madison City Channel, in-depth interviews with six of the individuals identified above took place.  The six individuals interviewed were: Sharon Corrigan, Mary Kolar, Scott McDonell, Melissa Sargent, Shelia Stubbs, and R. Richard (Dick) Wagner and the videos focus on:

  • Inspiration to Run
  • Making a Lasting Impact through Public Policy, and
  • Attributes that Make an Effective Elected Official


Inspiration to Run

Making a Lasting Impact through Public Policy

Attributes that Make an Effective Elected Official

Board of Supervisors Terms

Historical photo

The Dane County Board of Supervisors has compiled some historical photos, information on Supervisor terms, Chair terms,  and an oral history project.