August 31, 2010

Gonzalez talks leadership in campaign for Sheriff

Gonzalo Gonzalez

Gonzalo Gonzalez says he's a "corny" guy.

"I believe in God and country," said the candidate for Racine County Sheriff. "It's corny, but it's what I believe."

Gonzalez has built his campaign around these types of wholesome statements. An ex-Marine, he believes in leadership, efficient use of resources and clear communication with staff and community leaders. There's not much sizzle to his talking points, but they're delivered with conviction.

Gonzalez spoke on a handful of key issues facing the next sheriff:

Joint Dispatch - Gonzalez said it's time joint dispatch is finalized. A combined system would save money and improve service. For example, all 911 cell phone calls are routed to the county, then transferred to the responsible municipality before police or fire can be alerted. A joint-dispatch system would remove a step for cell phone calls. "There's never been the will to get this done," Gonzalez said. "I'd make sure this gets pushed through."

Jail rentals - The County Jail needs to rent out its extra beds, Gonzalez said. The county lost a contract with the state Department of Corrections to house inmates, and failed to land a contract with the federal government's Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Gonzalez said rebuilding relationships with the state and federal governments would be a priority. "We have unrented jail beds that have to be rented to generate income," he said.

Communication - Gonzalez said one of the sheriff's key jobs is to clearly communicate with state and local government leaders. If elected, he said he would create a vision for the department and work through the chain of command to implement that vision. He said he also would meet with the area police chiefs to discuss local law enforcement issues, and with local government leaders to discuss how the Sheriff's Department can help their communities.

On a personal level, Gonzalez comes across as a humble, sincere candidate who seems surprised anyone is supporting his candidacy. "There is genuine support out there," he said. "That's a part I never expected."

Gonzalez has lived in Racine County for 34 years. His father worked for Case Corp. and was transferred from South America to Racine. Gonzalez attended Horlick High School, but graduated at 17 years old from Gateway Technical College and enrolled early in the Marines. He served four years in the corps and then returned to Racine County where he was hired on by the Sheriff's Department. He's worked the last 27 years in a variety of jobs. He's now a sergeant in the Racine County Jail.

Gonzalez is running for sheriff as a Republican, which is how he was raised by his parents. "I identify as a conservative," he said. "My Mom and Dad brought me up with those values. You earn what you have. Northing is free. I'm a Christian and live a life of faith."

He's one of three Republicans running for sheriff this fall. Racine County Sheriff's Department Inv. Chris Schmaling and Ron Molnar are also running in the Sept. 14 primary election. The winner will advance to face Democrat Joseph Buckley and Independent Jeffrey Gerrietts in the general election.

The sheriff's race is too close to call. Gonzalez appears to have strong support east of Interstate 94 and is running something of a historic campaign. If elected, he'd by the first Hispanic candidate elected to countywide office in Racine County. Gonzalez isn't playing up this issue.

"It occasionally comes up," he said. "I don't dwell on my cultural heritage. I've always thought of myself as an American."

Schmaling is running an aggressive campaign and has secured a number of endorsements from local law enforcement officials. He and Gonzalez mixed it up a few weeks back when Schmaling sent a letter to supporters saying Gonzalez was "tucked away" in the jail. Gonzalez wrote a lengthy response saying jail staff had frequent contact with the public, and noting the jail was the largest department within the Sheriff's Department. 

County Board Supervisor Ron Molnar is the third candidate running as a Republican. He's backed by County Executive Bill McReynolds and made news by stopping a burglary in his garage, saying he'd take a 10 percent pay cut as sheriff and that he'd expect inmates to perform community service while incarcerated

In the final weeks leading up to the primary election Gonzalez said he hopes the three candidates can run a clean campaign that's focused on issues.

"Let's stack up qualifications side-by-side," Gonzalez said "Let's step away from innuendo."

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  1. Gonzo - I have the lead. Don't attack my lack of experience.

  2. why are there unused jail beds in racine?

  3. I understand that Molner has the support of 10 county board suupervisor and County Executive McReynolds. What does that tell you reference the confidence they have in the other two. Maybe they see the need for the outsider.

  4. Law enforcement officer who works in the jail or a career politician. I know who I am voting for.

  5. Schmaling, who has only one elected official from Racine County, Sheriff Bob Carlson the rest are all out of the county. No Police Chief or Fire Chief from the county. What does that tell us? I heard Schmaling is paying for sign locations.

  6. Friends of Gonzo8/31/2010 6:32 PM

    I am one of the fortunate people to have met Gonzo during his campaign. He is one of the most sincere and ethical candidates that Racine has ever seen. I challange anyone that has reservations of voting for Gonzo, to look him up, have a one on one with him, he will not disappoint! Good luck Gonzo you have our support whole heartedly. Mike & Jean

  7. Schmaling & Molnar = Typical Politicians

    Gonzalez = Sheriff

  8. Hey Post, where's the profile for Molnar and Schmaling? Guess this is what paying for an ad on the website buys!

  9. I would rather have "corny" than "slimy" for Sheriff. My vote is for Gonzalez.

  10. I understand what the Gonzalez people are trying when they have absolutely no endorsements. Not one.

  11. I like how Gonzalez said wants the other two to run a clean race, but he has his people using words like "slimy" I think that is pure politics on Gonzalez's part. It funny, when a person doesn"t have any endorsement from people that know they refer to the other as being politicians. People are seeing through that.

  12. Gonzalez supporter9/01/2010 6:04 AM

    What would you rather have if running for office? An endorsement from members of law enforcement that are not highly thought of, or the people that vote! Good to see that the other candidates supporters are attempting to make this an ugly race.

  13. The article above says in part:

    "If elected, he said he would create a vision for the department and work through the chain of command to implement that vision."

    Shouldn't the voters be reading what that vision is? Or is that another 10 year plan type of promise?

    The voters actually should have access to this kind of insight from all the candidates before we vote.

    So, time to pony on up and share it with us.

  14. After posting my comment at 703am I actually found a plan for Schmaling. Good for him. He has my vote.

    oh, here is the link to that plan:

  15. Endorsements by other Establishment "Politicians" don't do anything for me. Also, I am kind of worn out of politicians talking about plans. All I need is a guy with common sense not political mumbo jumbo.

  16. I agree anon 12:00. Molnar endorsed by Mac and others, Gonzalez by other pols.

    Schmaling is who I am voting for. Cares deeply about the job, he is a no nonsense cops cop, victims cop and prosecutors cop.

    Hands down its Schmaling!

  17. I assume you will do a similar self serving article on the other candidates Racine Post?


  19. Today revelation about Molnar shows how wrong a number of elected county officials can be with their endorsement. If you know someone who works in the Sheriff's department ask them about the other two candidates. Now that Molnar is effectively out of the race you really only have choice between two candidates.

  20. As far as endorsements go, you can have 2 or 20 it doesn't matter schmaling is slimy, he's shady and a liar, what you see is not what you get! Gonzales has my vote!