Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke

Name: Robert Mielke

Age: 54

Current occupation: Mayor, city of Wausau

Education: Wausau East High School; UW-Marathon/UW-Stevens Point; U.S. Army Finance & Accounting Academy

 

 

Katie Rosenberg. Photo courtesy of Rosenberg for Wausau.

Name: Katie Rosenberg

Age: 36

Current occupation: Integrated marketing manager, Eastbay/Foot Locker; Marathon County Board Supervisor District 1

Education: Wausau East High School; University of Wisconsin – Marathon County, associate degree; University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, bachelor’s degree; The George Washington University, master’s degree

 

Prior political experience and/or community involvement

What motivated you to run for office?

Mielke: I ran for Mayor in 2016 because I wanted to contribute and make a difference in helping Wausau move forward. I had seen things at City Hall that I felt needed to be changed and needed to be fixed for our future. As both a Council member and then Council president, I had a front row seat to see what happens when situations and issues runs amok. Mistakes, staffing, training and facilities deficiencies needed to be addressed and over the past four years they successfully have been. For community involvement, I have over the past 30 years been involved in many numerous community organizations to help our community, especially our youth grow. Over the past 3 ½ years, in addition to being mayor, I serve on the Salvation Army Steering Committee, The Open-Door Advisory Board and the United Way Hunger & Homeless Coalition.

Rosenberg: I grew up in a very politically engaged family. My grandpa was extremely active in services groups and boards, including serving on the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. My grandma was involved in everything from volunteering for UNICEF to helping establish the Wausau Child Care Center. My great grandma was a part of the women’s suffrage movement. When I was 12, my dad started getting more involved in local government and he ran and became a city alder. I grew up in an environment that valued debate, new ideas, and putting in the work to make your vision become reality.

When I ran for the Marathon County Board, I wanted to ensure our community continued to have access to high quality mental and behavioral health care. I hunkered down in the Health and Human Services Committee and served as vice chairperson of the Mount View Care Center Committee and we worked to accomplish the most good for the most people in Marathon County. The results were saving the tri-county agreement and expanding services for North Central Health Care; researching the best way to move forward with the county-run nursing home and acting decisively to make the building as great as the staff and services inside; allocating resources for the most vulnerable babies in our county; and promoting evidence-based policymaking. We did this all without increasing the tax levy.

We can do this in Wausau, too. I’m running for mayor to bring that same methodical, strategic, goal-oriented planning and policymaking to Wausau government. But we need leadership to get us there. Wausau won’t have a coordinated economic development strategy, infrastructure management approach, be able to tackle the debt, or attract and retain residents by accident. It takes planning. I will work to get Wausau to the next level so we’re competitive with our neighbors.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Wausau in the next four years?

Mielke: Wausau’s largest challenge coming is probably finding the best projects to turn the Wausau Center mall into an active, reinvigorated tax base paying area. I stopped the project a former council approved that would have paid $4 million to move the dying Younkers store to the JC Penney space because I disliked the deal and the terms from day one, thinking it was a bad investment for the city. CBL was an awful partner and Rialto Capital was just as bad. Now with local control, we are better set up to solve the challenges of a dying mall.

Rosenberg: The biggest challenge Wausau faces is the same challenge the whole of Wisconsin is facing: How can we be competitive and continue to grow? Wausau lost population seven of the last eight years. Our taxes are higher than our neighbors. Our incomes are lower. Of course we need amenities to make our city attractive but we also need our bottom line to be attractive to potential residents and businesses. To get there, we need to get the most out of every public dollar. We can do that by injecting criteria, goals, and thorough vetting into our economic development program, by partnering with our neighboring communities on big projects and to find economies of scale, and by ensuring we’re focused on the real needs of our community.

This will take a change in policy, a change in attitude, and a change in leadership at city hall.

A breakdown of how city taxes are currently being allocated show police and fire services at the top of the list, followed by 21.75 percent of tax dollars being used to retire debt. If elected, what steps – if any – would you take to shrink that debt?

Mielke: The best way to reduce debt is to make larger payments, use shorter term debt and refinance when we can to save interest. That is what we are doing. The reason .21 of each tax dollar is going to debt service is because we have chosen to devote more money to paying down our debt aggressively. I have said a dozen times on the campaign trail that in our own households, if you want to pay off your house or car early and save interest, you borrow for a shorter term and make larger payments. That is what we are doing. If we wanted to devote less to debt service, as my opponent feels we should, we would take twice as long to get it taken care of. The way we have this set up now, over 88 percent of the city’s general obligation debt will be repaid within 10 years. That is no small feat and is to be celebrated, not criticized. When I was elected, I set a plan in motion to do a few things in four years: Assess what work had been left undone, including maintenance and equipment replacement, assess needed infrastructure, funding tools and debts and encourage rapid pay down of our debt as things got taken care of. We are doing that now. We solved a number of issues where others had kicked the can down the road for so long, there was no more time to wait … . No matter who had been elected in 2016, these issues were going to have to be addressed and they have been. When I was elected, nearly every breathing apparatus in the fire department was at end of life. Numerous infrastructure facilities were literally falling apart, radio equipment in police and fire had ongoing reliability issues, road projects were years past due, and some equipment was literally cobbled together to hobble along at DPW because no one would fund things before they were an emergency. By working with our previous two city councils, together we fixed it all and are still looking at a 10-year repayment for a ton of it.

Rosenberg: Wausau’s debt doubled over the last four years. Wausau will need a multi-pronged approach.

  1. Compliance: We need to ensure projects that can be eligible for federal and state cost sharing are eligible. The Thomas Street project is an expensive example of noncompliance. The project lost eligibility for federal funds for improperly notifying residents and then changed course to use TIF.
  2. TID Debt: Project proposals must be submitted with an application fee, we need to vet projects the same way a banker would for commercial loans, and we need to calculate the return on public investment, ensuring it won’t take more than 10 years to pay back. (Ideally, we should be looking for even shorter payback periods.)
  3. Bonding: I’d like to analyze whether stretching the borrowing terms for projects and capital improvements out to 20 years rather than 10 years is sound policy.

Nobody who is serious about cutting debt would start by doubling it and I don’t intend to continue down that path.

What opportunities do you see for shared resources with other surrounding communities that could provide a cost savings for Wausau taxpayers?

Mielke: We have to continue to build relationships and find willing partners. Most people who propose these things start with the hard stuff first and are met with too many challenges to overcome. Over the past few years, I have been and would continue to recommend we begin with services where needs, equipment and training are the same. Streets and roads, inspections, we already provide assessment services to Schofield and share the humane officer with our Everest Metro partners. I’d love to expand Metro Ride to offer transportation in those areas, so not everyone is dependent upon cars to get where they need to go. I’d also eventually like to look at a collaboration on police since their training and equipment needs are the same for the most part. The hard part is fire services. We provide a 24/7 fully staffed paramedic/fire service. That requires a whole different level of investment than surrounding areas that use volunteers, or provide only EMT Basic service levels, etc. We also operate differently in terms of station staffing and other things. That collaboration, while great to think about, may be the hardest one to complete. Also, communities have to want to partner. For years, Wausau had an awful reputation and the attitude often toward cooperation was that the smaller areas should just get on board. Well, that caused many of them to fear being “bullied” and gobbled up and losing their identities or incurring higher taxes in exchange for service levels their residents did not want to pay for. That is why relationships have to happen first, and I have reached out to our surrounding neighbors and have created better working relationships with all those around us and will continue to reach out and work often on collaborating and in working together as we have. I have been told repeatedly by our neighbors that the relationships between all of us is the best it has been in years.

Rosenberg: Partnering with our neighbors on big projects like the water and sewage treatment plants would be a great use of our shared resources. But we can also find other savings through economies of scale. The city can and should partner with entities like Marathon County on human resources, insurance, organizational excellence, and public information.

There may be no greater long-term economic challenge to Wausau than the fact that the city has been losing population. What can Wausau do to promote population growth?

Mielke: Wausau has to do what it is doing now. Enhance quality of life, build things people love and can use when they are not working. To continue in attracting new businesses so there are quality jobs with an aggressive eye to future industries or industries that support the ones we already have. Wausau needs to continue to market itself in a big way.  During my tenure, that has increased more than ever before. Wausau had no marketing plan in 2016 and now we have great outreach and promotions to attract residents and businesses and it is working. Lowering the tax rate would help, but to achieve that, creating a storm-water utility and billing a uniform rate for trash and recycling is an idea that can be addressed to remove these costs from the tax levy and reduce mil rates. This would bring parity with surrounding communities who have these strategies in place that we are often compared to. Wausau’s residents voted down both plans in a referendum six years ago even though both could have reduced the mil rate since we pay for both of these services now through property taxes and we certainly don’t have to.

Rosenberg: We need people voting with their feet to come to Wausau. That means ensuring Wausau is desirable not just from an amenities standpoint but also when it comes to how much it costs to own a home, the educational and career opportunities, and how comfortable people feel once they do live here.

If we can tackle Wausau’s debt, that’s almost 22 percent of the city’s budget, we can start to figure out how to get more competitive with our neighbors when it comes to property taxes. We want people to move here and love it so we can’t have them not even considering us because of the difference with our neighbors.

Our economic development efforts need to be centered around creating opportunity for residents. If job creators are asking for public dollars, we need to make sure those jobs can support people and their families.

Lastly, we need to support our citizens. I recently talked to someone who works in HR for a big Wausau employer and he said their employee turnover rate is 100 percent. 100 percent of the people they recruited, trained, and employed are not choosing to stay in Wausau long-term. The most recent Marathon County LIFE Report highlights inclusion and belonging as a major issue Wausau needs to tackle. The city needs to be at the table hearing these stories and working to solve them through public policy and by being a good example of an inclusive employer.

What is more crucial for Wausau right now – creating opportunities for low-income housing or encouraging higher-end housing development projects?

Mielke: Over the last few years we have worked on both. We did not have enough market rate rental units in the city’s core. With that now solved, we should now turn our attention to affordable housing to fill that gap, which may also help reduce some homelessness if accessible housing gets better.

Rosenberg: We need a variety of housing in Wausau and developers should take on the projects that they believe the market will support but when it comes to using public dollars, Wausau should not incentivize luxury housing. According to the last census data projections, Wausau homes are valued much lower than other areas. The monthly cost to own a home is a little less. But when it comes to renters, who make up 41.4 percent of Wausau residents, their rents aren’t that much different than our neighbors.

The current administration has argued that government can’t affect the market but when you are investing public dollars in condos rather than affordable apartments, you’ve decided how you will interact with the market. Wausau needs to prioritize the needs of our residents.

We’ve seen successes with workforce housing projects like the Wausau East High Apartments, the Trolley Flats, and the Federal Building. Those were partnerships using federal tax credits and there are waiting lists of people trying to get into those places. Those projects benefit the public good. Wausau should explore opportunities to build on those successes.

There are developers who specialize in workforce housing development, but in recent years, city leadership has shown more interest in participating with higher end development. This creates a thorny public policy issue as rents or purchase prices that are still out of range for many residents are still being subsidized with tax dollars. Wausau needs to make sure that payback periods for these developments are short enough to provide near-term benefits to the city’s property taxpayers and my feeling is that this isn’t often the case because the concessions, infrastructure costs, and developer incentives are too high for the value being added.

Many requests for development proposals released in recent years have been met with just a handful of responses. What, if anything, could the city do attract more responses to RFPs?

Mielke: I feel we need to expand the promotion of the RFP process to a larger audience. Part of increasing our marketing is also showing people further away what opportunities we have available here also. We also need to continue to improve communications so people can find out about available opportunities without having to sift through the website or keep checking it constantly for things that show up. This may include networking, trade shows, advertising or other methods, but we need to move past where we are now and branch out.

Rosenberg: For some of these projects, we need to decide if the RFP is the right approach. Wausau cannot get the most return on the public investment when there’s no competition. That means getting specific on Requests for Proposals. Proposals that only get one or two responses need to be rewritten and re-advertised. If the city owns a property and we truly don’t know what we want to do with it, put it up for sale and let someone with a vision handle it with their own money.

What is more important for our city right now: building new homes and commercial spaces, or revitalizing existing homes and storefronts?

Mielke: Between our Live it Up Wausau and Fix it Up Wausau programs and commercial rehab loans done the last few years, we are making good progress in improving both home ownership and investment into older properties. As far as what is more important now, new growth absolutely, because net new growth is used to measure our progress at the state level and increases there have big budget benefits for us. Though we have worked hard to increase it, Wausau always needs new tax base and growth. More people paying into the taxpayer pool means fewer or smaller rate increases and I have worked hard to build up record growth and get people building and starting businesses here again.

Rosenberg: We need both. Downtown, revitalizing existing historic homes and storefronts is very important. On the west side, it might be more important for some businesses to construct buildings that meet their needs. A healthy development program takes both of these options into consideration to ensure the highest and best use for our spaces.

What are your top three priorities for small businesses, if elected?

Mielke: Goal No. 1, get as many of them to set up shop in Wausau as possible! My goals for small businesses would be (as it has been) to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurship, to encourage growth and expansion if possible, to help them compete while their big box competitors are often struggling with huge store footprints and massive inventory nationwide. Small business can succeed where large ones cannot. Especially in retail and restaurants since they offer unique experiences that attract people for the experience, not just huge concrete boxes full of mass produced merchandise and food.

Rosenberg: I would like my small business priorities to align with the priorities of those small businesses. What keeps them up at night? A few months ago the answer would have been employees. How do they get more qualified employees to stay longer? I think that’s still a priority and Wausau needs to be actively involved in solving the attraction and retention questions.

Right now, clearly, their biggest issue is not being open or having their sales severely cut down because of the global pandemic. Some of these businesses are facing a major liquidity crisis because they are following the state and national directives to close their doors to benefit our community. There is opportunity for the city to inject temporary relief through interest-free microloans to businesses that experience a 25 percent or more drop in sales related to COVID-19 so they can cover payroll. Wausau also has access to technical expertise. We can help small businesses apply for state or federal resources and connect them to low-cost advising.

Third, what Romey Wagner is doing out there at the Education and Entrepreneurial Center is amazing. He’s helped more than 300 entrepreneurs start LLCs in the last three years. I want to make sure we’re maintaining those programs and exploring new programs and services as well, like an incubator without walls.

City officials have repeatedly identified tackling homelessness as a top priority. What forward movement have you seen on mitigating this issue, and what more needs to be done?

Mielke: Since last fall, I have been working on a task force of community, nonprofit and city leaders that is working on figuring out where there are problems in solving this issue and what we can do to influence them as a group. People might have been upset over the loitering ordinance that caused the task force to form, but we also cannot deny that process did call attention to the problem and finally got people working together to make an impact, which is good. For years, I attended coalition meetings and participated in point in time homeless counts but I always felt progress and results were so painfully slow that the problem was growing faster than the solution. The city has been far more involved in this issue and in the coalitions since I have been mayor than it was ever before. I have worked hard on that and it pains me to know that people are in a situation where they are living out in the elements or in unsafe areas. I have been and will continue to be working on a solution to this and I am committed to finding it.

Rosenberg: The city stirred up a lot of conversation about homelessness in November with its anti-loitering policy. What came out of that was a concerted community effort to bring all of the organizations who are helping the homeless together to figure out a way forward. We know these groups have been meeting, what we don’t know is the plan moving forward yet — and it takes time.

From a public policy standpoint, I’d like to understand who is tasked with representing the city at these meetings and I’d like regular updates about the work given to a city committee. We can’t tackle any kind of policy initiatives if they aren’t being discussed at a city policy level.

Tax increment financing is a popular economic development tool that is only to be used if a proposed development would not occur “but for” city participation. What is the best way to evaluate the need for city participation in the future?

Mielke: Tax increment tools are one of the few that municipalities have to get rid of blight, create jobs and spur growth in areas where it would not happen otherwise. We have improved the vetting process for developers and we have gone to more reverse TID agreements where the project is built and then we contribute our incentive so we can verify results before we pay. We also have added much better “clawback” clauses to the agreements than we had years back so we can get our money back if developers do not build what was promised or if they do not hire the promised number of workers. Having a strong clawback option is what helped recover our funds from the Riverlife project from Barker Financial. That enabled us to get the project back on track and protected local taxpayers. I’d like to see us use less incentives in areas that are already growing or turning around and focus on other areas that need attention, since the first projects are often the ones that need larger incentives, subsequent projects can capitalize on the momentum created by those who went first in a new or blighted zone. Obviously, the smaller our incentives are the better, but there are times we cannot get big projects started without them.

Rosenberg: We need to ensure developers who want city resources are up to the task of working with Wausau to provide accountability to policymakers and residents. Those that want financial backing from the city should complete an application and pay a non-refundable $10,000 fee, ensuring that only serious proposals are considered. Those applications must include a thorough background check, up to the same standards that any bank would undertake before granting a commercial loan.

Our successes must be based on garnering a solid return on our public investment within reasonable periods of time; ideally fewer than 10ten years. That also includes calculating the fair market value of land transferred and interest that the city pays on borrowed funds into that ROI. Results matter.

Critics say selling city-owned property to developers for $1 has significant downsides and shouldn’t be an option. Should or should the city not receive higher prices when selling such property for projects? Why or why not?

Mielke: It depends on whether the project is looking at more than one community or not or if the land has some challenge like grades, poor soil or blight. Often, the private sector will not choose those sites over a clean and green build-ready site. Other times, if another area of the state offers to give land in exchange for a project, we cannot compete to get the project if we are not willing to bend on the land price. What matters most in deciding whether to give land is what the value of the end product is. If you give away a site worth $20,000 to get a building that will pay at least that amount every year in taxes, that is a huge gain. Our committees and council need to review the details and choose carefully. Remember, whether I like a project or not, I do not get to vote on the project or the incentives.

Rosenberg: Selling city-owned property for $1 could still be an option, we just need to ensure that fair market value of the property is part of our return on investment calculations. We need to understand what the city is getting back in revenue if it gives an asset away.

Explain your stance on the city’s planned upgrades to drinking and wastewater facilities.

Mielke: Our facilities were nearing end of life and unable to accommodate DNR requirements. We are under a deadline to solve the water storage well issue at the current water plant by the end of 2022. If we had remodeled the water plant, we know that we would not be able to meet future DNR regulations. That current facility is going back to the late 1950s and was built in a flood plain that the DNR would not allow to be built there today. We would end up moving the plant anyway and ultimately spend even more. Interest rates were lower than ever and we got approved to borrow from state funds that are designed for financing these expensive plants in communities like ours. The new plant will give better water quality by removing elements that discolor the water now. Providing safe drinking water is not negotiable. I am not interested in having Wausau be the next Flint, Michigan! I know this is an expensive plan, but the time to address these needs is now or we will lose our spot in line to borrow from the state loan funds. The wastewater plant, originally built in the 1930s, also has not been updated sufficiently in the past. Some upgrades were done, but the facility needed much more even when those were done. With the plans we set in motion, both plants will serve our city for the next 60 years and can meet future DNR rules and compliance. There are candidates out there telling people their water bills will double after these projects. 100 percent false. The expected increase is $20 per month for the average user for both projects added together when they are completed and, yes, these are infrastructure projects that were needed to be taken care of and we have shared this information with our residents many times and the reasons of why these projects are needed to be done. We just could no longer keep putting it off.

Rosenberg: Clean water and protecting the environment from waste discharges are important and I will make it a priority. What we have here with this project is a trust issue. We’ve watched the way other projects have been managed recently and the public still has unanswered questions. What is the total cost? How much should a project like this cost? Have we considered the right options?

The community should know the annual debt service and costs for the projects. Taxpayers should know the impact on total taxes and fees. It’s imperative that we know if the $121M is the final cost or a downpayment on a project that will cost more to complete.

I’ve spent time talking to folks about the project and trying to understand the timeline. It feels that we’re in a rush to get going and I don’t want that rush to lead us into mistakes. An option that other communities take advantage of for projects like these is value engineering. We have the plans that Becher Hoppe presented, but we should bring in a third party to ensure we’ve got the plan right. Are there places to save money while maintaining high standards? Saving 1 percent or 2 percent is a million dollar savings and that matters. Plus we would have the sound mind of experts ensuring our plans are the right answers to the problems we’re trying to solve.

This project is too important to our health, our environment and our competitiveness as a community to rush it though and find out that there are loose ends. We need to get this thing right.

In the face of shrinking state aid, Wausau is struggling to fix its crumbling infrastructure, such as deteriorating roads. How do you propose to tackle this issue in the future?

Mielke: Wausau continues to push for added transportation aid funding at the state level, which has improved the last two years. We are also funding more sealcoating of roads which extends the life of the pavement. Since we do not have the luxury of a wheel tax (which Marathon County has put upon all city residents permanently) we must now either fund our local projects where we can with TID assistance in those areas and with capital borrowing for the worst roads first based on pavement rankings in others. Wausau residents should never forget that every time they renew their license plates, that they are paying a TON of money into the county wheel tax fund and 0 percent of it is used on city roads where we actually live! It is used fixing up the county roads in rural areas and Wausau’s residents help pay for that, and then have to go it alone on the local streets too. A reminder for our residents: It bears notice, that as a member of the (Marathon) County Board, my opponent is partially responsible for that perpetual tax we get nothing from. Wausau’s residents were at least given a chance to decide by referendum and turned down the local wheel tax proposal and we listened. Marathon County promised to use it only for one year, but then they liked the wheel tax money so much, they went back on their original promise of using it for only one year and then made it a permanent fee for our residents.

Rosenberg: Wausau has to have an infrastructure plan and schedule that includes ways to pay for roads outside of city borrowing. The state just awarded millions of dollars to municipalities and counties in the form of multimodal transportation grants. The county received $1M for a project. I’d like to ensure the city is taking advantage of programs like that to bring back the most value for our residents.

The city also needs to ensure our representatives in Madison and Washington understand our plight. We need them at our meetings so they know our funding struggles and we need to regularly communicate with them through city resolutions and listening sessions.

The Wausau community was rocked this year by the Pine Grove Cemetery shooting, which left one person dead and two people injured. Similarly, the metro area was deeply affected by a shooting three years ago. What role should the mayor play in calming and comforting the community during times of crisis?

Mielke: My primary role is and has been that of comfort and consolation for the community, the families and the first responders who cannot escape the toll of scenes like that. Calming fear and alleviating panic, asking the community to unify and to come together to help one another through it and supporting all involved. Every time things like this happen, I pray for the victims and their families and for common sense changes at all levels that may prevent the next one. Including improved access to mental health care and increased safety preparedness measures in schools and public places that are often targets. Wausau and the metro area have the same problems as any other city. We have been but need to continue to staff, train and equip our emergency responders well and pray they never need to live through another incident. But the reality is that these numbers are not going down, so we must be ready and vigilant. If people see signs in someone, they need to say something. I am forever grateful and proud of our public safety departments and the work they do. I mourn every time things like this happen. Not just here, but nationwide. Sadly, no community wants to be the one on the nightly news, but we are all at risk.

Rosenberg: On Oct. 3, I was trying to get out the door and to work when I heard those sirens wailing, coming from every direction. I live one block away from Pine Grove Cemetery and it it was a devastating day for my neighborhood, my city, and my county.

In times of crisis the mayor needs to be embedded with the team helping to manage communication with employees, partners, media, and the citizens. The Police Chief did a great job managing communications in October. He needs a strong partner who will help deliver transparent, frequent, and proactive information that puts the crisis into perspective.

That starts with planning. While crises don’t happen very frequently, we need to anticipate the types of emergencies the city will face, identify and train the team who will be handling communications, and develop a process for delivering the right information to the right people.

What else would you like voters to know about you before they cast their ballots?

Mielke: I’ve worked overtime and no one has worked harder to clean up and restore the morale and culture at city hall, rebuild our reputation, restart growth, fix what was broken, and move Wausau forward. Over the past four years, Wausau has continuously won top rankings for these changes. I want to continue working to keep putting Wausau on the map for good things. Being mayor for me is not a stepping stone or resume builder to some higher political office. I am in this for the right reasons and I love our community and I care deeply about our residents and our future. I’ve helped restore Wausau’s place as an award-winning city. No longer are we defined by ugly headlines and poor results, things are working in an effective and positive way and you can see that our future is being transformed! Four years ago, Wausau voters gave me the privilege and chance to be mayor and I have worked overtime in getting proven results. Today, with the COVID-19 crisis, we are in the middle of a public health emergency. I have literally spent 14 hour days, seven days a week in managing this situation to keep us prepared and to stay ahead of things with a steady, calm and measured manner. This is an example of experienced and mature proven leadership. This is absolutely not a good time to change leadership and elect a candidate with no municipal-city government experience, who would only use this position as a stepping stone for a higher government office and has said so! The city of Wausau is successfully moving forward and that needs to continue.

Rosenberg: I was born in Wausau. I grew up here. It is an honor to have this opportunity to run for mayor and serve my community that has already given me so much.

I am running to challenge status quo thinking because I know the things that got Wausau to this point aren’t going to be the same things that carry us through the next 10 or 20 years. Wausau can’t afford four more years of rising debt without strategic planning.

I’m running for mayor to be a changemaker, a fierce advocate for accountability, and a strategic leader for our community.

All 2020 election coverage can be found at our Wausau Pilot & Review page, here

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