Hepfler, Liedl square off for Chippewa Co. Clerk of Courts – La Crosse Tribune

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Karen Hepfler
Nate Liedl
CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Chippewa County Clerk of Court is an elected position with a four-year term.
Incumbent Karen Hepfler, a Democrat, has held the position since January 2001. She is facing Republican challenger Nate Liedl, who ran against her in 2018 as well. Liedl previously worked in the clerk of courts office but was later fired.
Each candidate was given the same questionnaire.
1. What experiences in your life have made you best suited to be clerk of courts? What unique skills do you have for this job?
Hepfler: I have administered the day-to-day business functions for the courts including records management, court automation, jury system coordination, court finances/budgeting and administration for more than twenty years. My vast experience serving on local, regional and statewide committees has allowed me to influence how policies and projects have improved our ever-evolving court system, which benefits all Chippewa County citizens. I have worked to expand my knowledge and skills in court administration through continuing education programs with the National Center for State Courts. I am also the only Clerk of Circuit Court in Wisconsin to have been inducted as a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.
Liedl: In January 2013, as part of my Paralegal degree, I started as an unpaid intern in the Chippewa County Clerk of Courts Office. By February, I was hired on part time, graduated in March then promoted to a full-time Deputy Clerk in August of that same year. Throughout my employment until 2019, I worked in most all of the different areas within the office; I have done the work and understand firsthand the obstacles, frustrations and stressors Deputy Clerks go through on a daily basis.
Additional prior work experiences include finance and collections management, leading and training a team of 10 employees in billing and reconciliation and creating workflow handbooks for new and current employees.
2. What changes would you make to the job if elected?
Hepfler: I have long worked to increase collections and fiscal responsibility, access to justice for self-represented litigants and educational opportunities for court staff; these continue to be important initiatives of mine. I am currently participating on the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) Design Committee to review financial software enhancements that will streamline our accounting processes. The digital signage in the Clerk of Courts Public Access Room is an on-going project that provides information about forms, court procedures or other county departments. Clerk of courts staff participate in a variety of on-line training videos, webinars and Tenth District professional development sessions each year.
Liedl: With my past experience of actually doing the various jobs of a Deputy Clerk, I would make the Clerk of Court position a “working clerk” and be someone who is willing & able to fill in during unexpected absences or help during periods of heavy workloads. I will work to change the reputation of the office by increasing customer service, providing more resources, easier to understand guides and expanding the knowledge of the deputy clerks. We need to be able to retain the best employees and decrease or eliminate the amount of turnover, which will increase efficiency and decrease unnecessary costs to the County. More than just an “open-door,” my calendar will be made available to co-workers so they can be aware of meetings, appointments or scheduled time away to allow contact with me at any given moment.
3. Why should the public vote for you?
Hepfler: I am a lifelong resident, who loves and is committed to the future of Chippewa County. For 22 years, I have served as a trusted, community-oriented and experienced leader in Chippewa County. As Clerk of Circuit Court, I have focused on saving taxpayer dollars, increasing access to our courts and ensuring that our justice system is effective and efficient. I have earned the respect and confidence of our justice system partners, Chippewa County citizens and the Wisconsin Court System.
Liedl: Along with my personal experience working the various departments within the office, I have additional plans and goals for improvements; many of which were presented by the opponent during the 2010 election and still exist today. My dedication to customer service will not only benefit the citizens of Chippewa County, but also each of the courtrooms, district attorney’s office and other areas impacted by court proceedings, outcomes and rulings. With the support of several former employees, determination to improve the needs of the office and willingness to prioritize employee’s success ahead of my own, I feel I would be a great leader of the Clerk of Circuit Court Office.
Candidate Bios
Karen Hepfler
Age: 59
Address: Chippewa Falls
Party affiliation: Democratic
Occupation: Chippewa County Clerk of Circuit Court
Education: Wisconsin Clerks of Circuit Court (WCCCA) Court Executive Development Certificate, December 2021 University of Wisconsin Green Bay
2012 ICM Fellow, May 2012 National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management
Certified Court Executive Certificate, June 2011 National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management
Instructional Design Graduate Certificate, August 2010 University of Wisconsin Stout
Certified Court Manager Certificate, June 2007 National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management
Bachelor of Science—Marketing Education with Business Certification, Speech Communication Minor, Business Administration Minor, March 2003 University of Wisconsin Stout
High School Diploma, May 1981 McDonell Central High School
Political experience: 22 years Clerk of Circuit Court, January 2001—present
Family: married 40 years—Mike Hepfler; four grown children, eight grandchildren
Website: reelectkarenhepfler.com
Nate Liedl
Age: 41
Address: Chippewa Falls (Village of Lake Hallie)
Party affiliation: Republican
Occupation: General Law Paralegal
Education: Associates Degree – Paralegal Studies
Political experience: Campaigned in the 2018 election for Chippewa County Clerk of Circuit Courts
Family: Miranda (fiancé; wedding is November 5, 2022), her two sons, Jonathon & Noah. My 6-month-old son Jaxon, passed away November 1, 2018.
Website: ElectNateLiedl.com

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Karen Hepfler
Nate Liedl
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