By Vern Cahak
Back on April 5, 1966, Robert Benishek was elected to the Langlade County Board of Supervisors.
Today, nearly 50 years later, he remains in that position, having been elected to 25 consecutive two year terms. He is unopposed in this year’s supervisory election on April 5 and unless he would be defeated by write-in votes he will begin his 26th term on the board at its April 19 reorganizational session.
In addition to his lengthy term on the county board, Benishek served 22 years as a member of the Antigo Common Council, simultaneously with his county seat between 1981 and 2003.
He is currently chairman of the public property and fairgrounds advisory committees and serves as a member on the social services committee and the board of health.
When Benishek was first elected to the county board in April of 1966, it was the first year that the city of Antigo and Langlade County were reapportioned into districts. The number of supervisors on the county board was reduced from 24 to 21.
Interest in county board membership a half century ago was much different from today. In 1966, there were 38 candidates for the 21 county board seats. By comparison, there just one contest for county board, in District 15, town of Elcho, where Richard Schuh is opposed by Kathleen Kelly.
While Benishek is continuing his lengthy county board tenure, Mike Klimoski, another long-time member, is retiring after serving on the board for 28 years, including six as board chairman, between 2004 and 2010. He serves on the executive/legislative committee, the forestry and recreation committee and is chairman of the water and land use committee.
Klimoski represents the District 18 (Town of Wolf River, ward 1, and Village of White Lake). Julie Webb is running unopposed for the position.
Ranking next in county board longevity is James Jansen, who has represented the towns of Peck and Upham for 19 years.
Doug Nonnenmacher has served on the board as District 4 supervisor for a total of 17 years, the last 14 in succession.
Richard Hurlbert is a 15-year veteran as District 3, Third Ward member.
Arlene Bonacci and Dale Dahms rank next on the board term list with 14 years each, Bonacci as supervisor of District 10 (Towns of Antigo, Ward 2 and Rolling Ward 1) and Dahms as District 9 (Ninth ward) supervisor.
Completing 10-years of board membership are incumbents David Solin, the board chairman, District 20, towns of Neva and Price; and Ronald Nye, District 11, town of Rolling.