Genia Stevens, who was appointed to the Rock County Board in March, announced Wednesday that she would seek a full term in the April election, and that she would also seek an at-large seat on the Beloit City Council.
“There is a lot I’d like to accomplish on the city level, a lot I’d like to see change on the city level,” she said. “And I think that combining my efforts with what I’m doing at the county could actually help me accomplish that.”
The City Council race will fill four of the seven seats on the council. All seats are at-large and nonpartisan, meaning the top four vote-getters in the April 5 election will serve a two-year term. Neither the four incumbents nor any other candidates had filed papers to run as of Monday, according to data available from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, though Markese Terrell, Vice Chair of the city’s Equal Opportunities Commission, also announced Monday that he intends to run.
In the County Board race, Stevens could face a challenge from Supervisor Wayne Gustina, as redistricting has moved Stevens from District 17 to 13, which is the district Gustina represents on the board.
Stevens said she’s “not a single-issue person,” but does want to focus her efforts on economic development.
“What I’d like to do is see how my dual role on city council and as a county board supervisor, how combining those roles could make me more effective as far as what I would like to accomplish on the economic development side,” she said. “I’m very involved in the community and I’m not a single issue person. I am concerned about all people and all issues that affect people in our community,” she said. “… My only concern is ensuring that the people of our community are all treated fairly and equitably.”
Stevens is founder of Rock County Jumpstart, which supports and promotes Black-owned businesses in Rock County. She also owns Belwah Media, a communications consulting firm.
Stevens said holding down both seats won’t be an issue, noting that Kevin Leavey has served on both bodies for years.
“As a business owner, I’m a person who’s very organized and very structured and I’ve been that way for 20 years. It has never been a problem as far as my business is concerned,” she said.
Her appointment to the County Board was her first experience in an elected body. She said it’s been an educational experience.
“I have learned that we really should work together to get the work done, that it really shouldn’t be about party affiliation,” she said. “It really should be about working together to get the work done so that we’re doing what’s best for the people we serve. And that when we do that, we will get things done a lot faster and be a lot more effective.”