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Kaukauna election preview: Candidate statements for mayor, alder, clerk/treasurer

By Barb Betcher

KAUKAUNA — The following candidates will be on the Feb. 20, 2018 Kaukauna primary election ballot. These statements are a short summary of their background/qualifications, reason for running, and goals.

Join the discussion on Kaukauna’s spring election in the Kaukauna Elections Facebook group. HERE.

Feb. 20, 2018 primary: Districts 1 and 2 (Wards 1-5, 12): Council Chambers – Districts 3 and 4 (Wards 6-11, 13): Community Room – 207 Reaume

April 3, 2018 general election: Districts 1 and 2 (Wards 1-5, 12): Council Chambers – Districts 3 and 4 (Wards 6-11, 13): Community Room – 207 Reaume

These statements are a short summary of their background/qualifications, reason for running, and goals.

Candidates for Mayor

Marty DeCoster: I have lived in Kaukauna my entire life, and along with my wife Jackie, we are very proud to raise our two children here. I graduated from Kaukauna High School in 1997, and Fox Valley Tech in 2000.

My wife and I currently own two small businesses in Kaukauna, and I look forward to using these skills to help better promote all of the good things Kaukauna has to offer.

Some of my other business driven goals include promoting new developments in Commerce Crossing, along with other incentive programs to attract new companies to the city.

Besides being your current District 1 Alderman, I have also gained political experience and developed leadership skills through several years of being President of the Outagamie County Tavern League, along with my role as President of KARMA, the group that brought you the Electric City Experience music festival.

I have also partnered with the Kaukauna Library and Grignon Home to create fun family friendly activities designed to engage Kaukauna residents from all demographics and backgrounds, including the Outdoor Family Movie Nights at the Library.

I look forward to bringing positive change to the city, and with your support, we can make Kaukauna a destination on the map again!

Joe Grundy:  About me…

• Born and raised in Little Chute Wisconsin

• Resident of Kaukauna since 1995

• Well rounded background in management and problem resolution techniques

• Team oriented leadership style

• Currently employed by Nestles USA

• Philosophy: Keep it simple and transparent

Seeds for thought:

• Harness the spending on utilities

• Bring back the voice of the people by encouraging community involvement and transparency for all transactions

• Reface down town area through available grants

• Encourage new business to the community by providing a more user-friendly format. Streamline process.

• Bring back fun: reinstate River Days as well creating new celebrations that represent Kaukauna’s diversity

• Make honoring our Vets a priority Work with me to open the door for a brighter future for Kaukauna.

Sam Kelly: I am currently a Kaukauna School Board Member and Clerk. While at St Norbert College I have studied political science, economics, public administration and business.

I have been fortunate enough to be a lifelong Kaukauna resident and for a good portion of my adult life, a public servant.

During that time the people have trusted me with the education of their children and in return I have given them everything I have to offer.

My campaign is focused on the following:

• Communication Between the Elected Officials and the People of Kaukauna

• Growing the Business in the Downtown and Business District

• Being Fiscally Responsible and Mindful of Taxpayer Dollars These are the three overarching goals, but really the driving goal is to bring the people back into the process.

I dream of a mayor who is a leader of Kaukauna, not because of the decisions made, but by the gathering the people’s voices to make them.

Kaukauna does not need a mayor who sits in city hall, we need a mayor who walks on city streets.

I believe that I can bring the experience and energy to make that happen, not because of my age but because of my years of public service and a life time as your neighbor on 10th St.

Brenda Leon: Hi I’m Brenda Leon, I’ve been married 23 years to Bill.

We have been blessed with seven children and one grandson. I have had many opportunities starting very young working in the community with people.

Restaurant business, beautician, schools and care-giving have taught me many lessons in life that have helped me become the person I am today.

I do not take for granted the path and people God has placed in my life especially while serving as your alderperson for the last twelve years.

I set my goals high and surround myself with kind, loving, hard working people who have the same intentions.

I don’t make promises I cannot keep, and will always own up to my mistakes.

My goal is to show everyone especially my daughters that we can do great things if we never give up on our goals.

I look forward to serving you as the next Mayor of Kaukauna!

Tony Penterman

• 43 Year Resident

• 15 Year Homeowner

• 11 Years District 4 Alderman

• 4 Years Bob & Daves Lawn & Landscape

• Public Protection and Safety Committee Chairman

• Board of Public Works Vice-Chairman

• Legislative Committee Vice-Chairman

• Health and Recreation Committee Chairman

• City Plan Commission

• Finance and Personal Committee

• City School Liaison

• Kaukauna Lions-1st Vice President

• KQBC Kaukauna Quarterback Club

• Friends of the 1000 Islands-Lifetime Member

• Kaukauna K9 Committee I am running for mayor of Kaukauna because I love this city and the people that live here.

Throughout the past 11 years I have enjoyed speaking to and working with constituents, whether running into them around town, meeting them at their homes or place of concern.

I have been committed to working transparently together through these concerns with the residents and my fellow council members.

With the experience I have gained I will continue to be an active leader for the city of Kaukauna.

My goal is to continue serving the people and leave a lasting impression by making decisions that are in the best interest of the community as a whole.

Goals – Commerce Crossing/Industrial Park Network

– Aggressively promote economic growth to lower T.I.F. debt Downtown Business District

– Work with business owners to make downtown more vibrant Old Gustmans Lot

– Continue talks with investor/developer for motel, apartment complex

Taxes – Continue to balance budget to keep taxes low

Brian Roebke As a life-long resident of Kaukauna and being active in the community, I believe I am uniquely qualified to be your next mayor or Kaukauna.

In my job with the newspaper for the past 26 years, I’ve had a front row seat to many of the activities in the community and I believe I know Kaukauna as well as anyone.

I’m familiar with its people, its history, its strengths and weaknesses, and areas we can improve the community.

I will continue to be active and involved in the community and easily accessible to its residents.

Two areas of emphasis for me are improving the southside downtown through private investment and spurring more economic development in the community.

Kaukauna residents desperately want to make improvements to 2nd Street.

The city has done almost all it can by rebuilding its municipal facilities and replacing underground utilities and streets.

City government now needs to attract private companies to invest in our community, particularly downtown, and revitalize Kaukauna to make it even greater than it is now.

You can trust me to be your representative not only in Kaukauna but as ambassador outside of the city.

Greg VandeHey Born and raised in Kaukauna, I graduated from St. Mary’s and Kaukauna High School (1994).

I was senior class president; my wife, Beth VandeHey (Pahl) was covaledictorian.

I am a graduate of St. Norbert College, 1998, with a humanities degree emphasizing religious studies.

I worked as a consultant and artist in NYC for 17 years with significant engagements in hundreds of schools, the Departments of Sanitation and Cultural Affairs, Community Foundations, and various museums.

My work in public/private partnerships with cities, large corporations, and the public prepared me to communicate effectively with various stakeholders and produce results.

My family has been spending summers in Kaukauna since 2005, and we bought a house that we have since gutted and renovated in 2009.

We also bought the historic Vaudette theater in 2015, and I am in the process of renovating it.

Having lived in Kaukauna for over 20 years full-time and 11 part-time, I have enjoyed watching the progress our city has made, but I would like to bring my creative energy to spur us forward.

To do this, I would emphasize an asset-based community development approach to utilize the resources we already have in a cost-effective way.

Candidates for Clerk/Treasurer

Barbara Duda: I am 27 years old and I am currently employed at Kwik Trip.

I have worked as a coop student at Unison Credit Union – collecting money and making deposits.

I am a taxpayer and homeowner. I know and use social media and various computer programs.

I have worked elections both as an election official and voter registration.

I grew up in Kaukauna and graduated from Kaukauna High School.

I am running for this position as it is something that will make me grow both as a leader and a team member.

I will be working with individuals with a variety of knowledge at the City level as well as County and state level.

My goals for this position are to get elected into this position and make the office productive and efficient.

I am young and dedicated and will grow into a better leader.

Sally Kenney: Background – • Married to husband Dave for 28 years. • 2 children. • Graduated from Kaukauna High School • Received an Associate’s Degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College. • Worked for the City of Kaukauna at 1000 Islands Environmental Center as the Business Coordinator for the last 18 years. • Worked for 10 years as District Administrator for American Express Financial Advisors.

Qualifications – • Excellent communication and people skills (telephone and face-to-face) • Experienced at preparing all documentation for Board and other meetings. • Accountable for receiving all monies, recording all bills and statements and processing payments with City. • Responsible for reviewing, approving and maintaining the Center’s annual budget

Reason for running – • To be at the pulse of the City. To be a communicator of the people to the decision makers. • To interact and continue to work with the City staff, elected officials and residents. Goals – • To make sure legalities are all covered and mayor, alderman, and staff are fully vetted on the publics concerns. • To modernize the office of Clerk/Treasurer by the use of technology. • To be a good steward of the City records by making sure organized documents are safely stored and retained. • To work closely with Finance to ensure proper handling of funds and ensure the public will have the opportunity to learn more about the procedures.

Pennie Thiele: Pennie Thiele has been a resident of the city of Kaukauna for over 30 years.

She knows the struggles of our community as well as the wonderful aspects the City of Kaukauna has to offer.

She sees the dedication of our citizens and believes they deserve qualified city officials who work in the best interest of Kaukauna residents.

Pennie has been married to her husband, Don, for 32 years and has two children.

As a wife and mother, Pennie believes Kaukauna is a great place to raise a family and is an advocate of our safe and prospering city.

Pennie has an extensive background in Financial Counseling and assisting patients with locating funding sources for health care to meet their financial needs.

She has been involved in developing company policies regarding cash handling. Through the years, Pennie Thiele has developed a strong relationship with neighbors and community members.

With her great interpersonal skills and work experience, it is evident that she would make a great candidate for the City of Kaukauna Clerk-Treasurer and can help our city run with efficiency and integrity.

As your neighbor and longtime resident of the City of Kaukauna, I would like to make a positive impact on our city government.

My Accounting and Financial Counseling background will enable me to work professionally and effectively as the City of Kaukauna Clerk Treasurer.

Candidates for Alderman for 3rd District

Susan Duda: I am married to Larry and have five children – Jim, Tom, Cliff, Barb, and Stephanie.

I am a homeowner and taxpayer.

Worked for the City for 40 years.

I am the first Clerk/ Treasurer the City had and have been Clerk/Treasurer for 30 years.

I worked for planning department for six years and clerk’s office for four years.

Know the City and the people. I am running because I want to work less hours and would like to stay involved in politics.

I would listen to the people.

We do not get too many people to speak before the council and I would not cut them off before they get a chance to state their concerns.

I know the City ordinances and policies and have worked with the State Statutes.

My goal at this time is to change the terms of office for the Attorney and Clerk/Treasurer to four years instead of two which should have been done when the Municipal Judge went to four years. I would also like to look at making the Mayor a part-time position.

I would be proud to represent the Third District of the City of Kaukauna.

Lee Meyerhofer: I’m a lifetime resident of the 3rd Ward, married 31 years to my high school sweetheart Lisa, we built our house and raised our two children Glen and Erika here in Kaukauna’s 3rd Ward.

I have 26 years experience serving the 3rd Ward, served as President of the Kaukauna City Council the past 13 years, serve as President of the Kaukauna Utility Commission, serve on the Kaukauna Library Board, served in the Wisconsin Legislature, served on the Board of Directors for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and served as President.

I have extensive training in leadership, communication, negotiations and conflict resolution. I’m a good listener, organized, skilled collaborator and communicator with a strong work ethic and critical thinking skills. I’m a team player with the ability to offer leadership when needed.

I’m fiscally responsible and I’m known as the fiscal hawk of the city council. I’m an optimist who views challenges as opportunities, I’m an innovative progressive thinker who works tirelessly, I have a strong understanding of the workings of local government and how to successfully manage challenges and opportunities.

I’m committed to moving Kaukauna forward and making it the safe and desirable city we can all be proud of, I’m passionate about making Kaukauna the catalyst of what other communities strive to be while continuing down the path of fiscal responsibility, progress and prosperity.

My experience gives me broad perspective and makes me uniquely qualified to serve the 3rd Ward.

Trail Reeves: I am the youngest of 11. I retired after 23 years in the Navy in 2003, and have lived in Kaukauna 8 years. I am running for alderperson because I think we need a fresh set of eyes on our issues.

We need to think differently than we have when these issues were created, and I have the advantage of living in diverse places and seeing how things can be done. One proposal I have is that we further encourage new business downtown by saying that if you open a new business, or relocate a business to our downtown, your first year business license is free, excluding the health inspections. I also am against utility rate hikes.

If the Appleton Coated mill isn’t using the power, then that means we will not have to purchase as much power from outside utilities. Use the savings realized from that to pay down the debt from Appleton Coated.

I look forward to jumping in with both feet and working with my fellow alderpersons and mayor to rethink and revitalize our city.

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