City of Lodi mayoral candidates created their own profile questions before receiving ones from the Chronicle.
I’ve lived in Lodi all my life (except for a nine-month stint for my first year at UW-Madison), raised on our family farm just north of town, and living in the city since 1981. I received my BS in Life Sciences Communication, and MS and PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis all from UW-Madison. I worked at the Wisconsin Alumni Association for 10 years, was the Director of Career Services and Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs in the College of Letters & Science, and was an academic advisor prior to my retirement in 2018. I ran for the State Assembly in 2018, and was re-elected to the Common Council in 2019.
Why do you think you are qualified to be the Mayor of the City of Lodi?
My academic work and career have focused on public service. I’ve managed a division with a budget in excess of $2 million, and led organizations going through times of tremendous change and growth. Through my work with several advisory boards and boards of visitors, I’ve helped raise funds for scholarships and other academic initiatives, and I have developed programs and services that generated revenue necessary to augment very limited budgets.
I believe I’m a good leader, and more importantly, a good listener. I have extensive experience with public speaking, working with volunteers, and organizational development. I bring a different skill set to the position, one that I think is needed now.
My heart is in the community, my friends and family are here, and we’re blessed to be living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. However, we could be doing much more for our environment and our community, and I would be honored to have the opportunity to lead Lodi as we create our future together.
Have you held public office in the past? If so, when and what roles?
I served on the Lodi Utilities Commission for nearly 10 years, and have served on several committees including Public Works, Public Safety, Finance and Human Resources, and currently I’m serving as the President of the Lodi Public Library and Treasurer of the Lodi Area EMS Commission.
I’ve also served on professional and non-profit governing boards for 25 years, including serving as President for the UW-Madison Student Personnel Association, the Wisconsin College Personnel Association, the Wisconsin Ag & Life Sciences Alumni Association, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras for six years.
What do you believe are the roles/responsibilities of a Mayor?
The Mayor serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Lodi, and as such is responsible for oversight of city operations. They are also tasked with carrying out the directions given by the Common Council. Contrary to popular belief, the Mayor doesn’t have a lot of authority – they don’t vote at Common Council meetings (unless there is a tie), and don’t serve on any of the formal Committees and Commissions. The Mayor must truly be a leader – someone who is visionary, a good communicator and a problem solver.
Describe your highest priorities for the City of Lodi.
As a community, Lodi is a very special and wonderful place to live, but I think we’re struggling to figure out who we are and what our niche is. We’re also a place where people want to live, and we must be thoughtful and strategic about our future growth and development. With that in mind, I see the the following as my highest priorities:
- Economic development, particularly businesses for downtown.
- Communication to, and engagement with, city residents. Also communication between service and governing organizations so we can work together to serve our citizens and be efficient.
- Being strategic and getting out in front of developing issues, so we’re able to become proactive rather than reactive to what’s happening in Lodi.
- Bringing our community together to celebrate the amazing things happening in Lodi, and to be good stewards of this beautiful land on which we live.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for the City of Lodi?
- Shared vision – looking at who we are and what we want to be as a community.
- Housing – we need more affordable, multi-unit housing for individuals and families.
- Economic development – we must be thoughtful, strategic and creative as we look to attract businesses and residents.
- Collaboration with other governing entities – the city must work with surrounding towns, and our school district, to understand common challenges and work together to improve the lives of our citizens.