KAUKAUNA — When Kaukauna voters go to the polls April 5, 2016 to elect their next mayor, they will choose between incumbent Gene Rosin and newcomer Marty DeCoster.
Economic development of both downtown and the city at large are among the biggest issues the next mayor will face.
Rosin has been mayor since 2006 and served on the city council before that. DeCoster is vice president of the Outagamie County Tavern League and has been active in community events.
Kaukauna Community News asked each candidate five questions about their views on the main issues facing the city. The questions come from Kaukauna Community News editors as well as from reader questions posted on social media.
Here are their answers:
Gene Rosin, incumbent
Education: Associate degree, auto mechanics
Community service: Alderman, mayor
What publicly elected positions have you held? I was district 1 alderman from 1990 to 2006 and mayor from 2006 to present. As mayor, I serve on the Kaukauna Utility Commission
1) What do you consider the main issue of your campaign? During my 26 years of service, which includes the past 10 years as mayor, I have supported efforts to consciously and methodically create and retain hundreds of jobs, facilitate more than $175 million in investment and intelligently grow the economy while also working to diversify our jobs and tax base.
2) What ideas do you have to revitalize downtown? Downtown revitalization is a high priority. We have aggressively facilitated and partnered with numerous investors/developers and downtown businesses to successfully leverage tens of millions of dollars including the former Gustman property/Kwik Trip, Hydro Park, the new municipal complex and Grand Kakalin, which is home to Expera Specialty Solutions new corporate headquarters.
3) Do you support the sale of beer at this year’s music festival? Yes.
4) What will you do to involve citizens and provide transparency to city government? I‘m proud of Kaukauna’s tradition of transparency in local government. I am thankful for the hundreds of volunteers and dozens of citizens that serve on our boards and commissions to help plan and envision Kaukauna’s future. All meetings are publicly posted and open to the public.
5) What is your biggest contribution so far to the city? Few communities in the entire state have seen the amount of economic development and overall positive change that we have enjoyed here in Kaukauna. I am honored and humbled to be a part of that success.
Occupation: Business owner, bartender
Education: Graduated from Kaukauna High School in 1997
Graduated from Fox Valley Technical Collage with a two year associates degree in electronics.
Community Service: I have done plenty, but no positions that were publicly elected.
1) What do you consider the main issue of your campaign? The main issue of my campaign is to better promote the city of Kaukauna. This in return will fill up the empty buildings in the downtown area and the empty lots located in Commerce Crossings To do this successfully, I will open up better lines of communication with business owners and the community to listen to their needs.
2) What ideas do you have to revitalize downtown? To help revitalize the downtown area, you need give people a reason to go there. Small weekly events involving music, art, food and shopping, will attract people and strengthen the local businesses. Also, future boat access from the Fox River will help make Kaukauna a destination now by water too!
3) Do you support the sale of beer at this year’s music festival? I have been working in the beer industry for almost 17 years and support it in many ways. This year’s festival along with last year’s, does involve alcohol throughout the city in the many participating taverns. In the future, I would encourage the police to allow the sales of some specialty beers in the main stage areas as well.
4) What will you do to involve citizens and provide transparency to city government? To provide more transparency of the city government and to get the citizens more involved, I will create a more open line of communication. Holding monthly or quarterly meetings with different groups and/or areas of town that need addressing, also open to the public. Specific meetings of downtown areas, industrial park, nonprofit groups or any other type that would like to meet.
5) What is your biggest contribution so far to the city? I would have to say, my biggest contribution to the city so far, is bringing a successful festival back to Kaukauna again Electric City Experience is exactly what it is, experience Kaukauna. I estimate the event brought in over $100,000 new money into the downtown area for a one-day event. Looking forward to grow this event each year, with a few surprises in mind for this coming June 11.