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By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — With the spring elections less than a week away on Tuesday, April 2, there are several new faces running for positions on the board for the Town of Glenwood.
Current incumbent, Joe Draxler will be running against Mark Maes for the chairperson position.
Also running as candidates for supervisor are Barry Peterson, Jerry Leonard and Ryan Luepke. Current incumbent Rick Obermueller is running for reelection, but former member Chuckie DeSmith is not.
Draxler has been a part of the Town Board for 12 years now and it has been four to six years since he has ran against someone in the election.
As current chairperson, Draxler has established long range plans to pave one to two miles of road each year. In his 12 years on the board, Draxler shared that the amount of black top roads in the township has almost doubled, the new town shop was built and there was an upgrade to the town truck, tractor and grade.
“I have been able to manage all of those things and still stay within the government constraint of a 2.5 percent levy increase each year on the township. I feel my biggest asset is my ability to work within a balanced budget,” said Draxler.
Maes will be retiring from Dairyland Seed this summer after 29 years of being with the company. His extensive business experience and ability to budget and market are reasons he feels he is fit for the chairperson position.
“I am willing to listen to the people,” said Maes. “I want to listen to what the people want and need as a common sense approach to the Town.”
As to the proposed sand mine, Maes said that he would be willing to put the time in as chairperson to make himself a strong presence in the operation and make sure the town’s requests are being met.
Maes shared that he is not opposed to people making money, but when people’s lives are directly affected in a poor way that changes things.
He also is against the idea of annexing the land to the City of Glenwood City as that takes away tax money for the Town of Glenwood with the loss of the 400 some acres of land.
As for current Supervisor Rick Obermueller, he has been a member on the town board for close to ten years now. In his years, he has overseen and been a part of the discussion with the paving of the roads in the township as well as the snow removal and other maintenances.
Obermueller has lived in Glenwood City his entire life and currently resides on a small farm with his wife and two children.
As for his take on the proposed sand mine, Obermueller shared that he is for the operation as long as all regulations and ordinances are met. He has spent time a several frac sand meetings and visiting the mines in Menomonie and Bloomer. He took the time to tour a trucking company that hauls sand in Bloomer as well.
Leonard and Peterson have each been involved heavily in the sand mine issue, attending meetings at the community center, city hall, school, church and at the county office.
Leonard said that he has his own personal opinions about the proposed mine, but from the stand point of a board member, if elected, he wants to put the best interest of everyone first and he will not be biased, but will listen to what others have to say.
“If it is going to happen I just want it done right and the rules and ordinances to be followed,” said Leonard.
Leonard shared that he is also running for election because he wants to see the money in the town budgeted differently with more care taken on road maintenance and snow removal. As a small business owner he feels he has the credibility to handle these issues and provide insightful ideas.
“My main reason for running is because I don’t want to be one of those people that complains about everything, but does nothing about it; I want to do everything I can,” shared Leonard.
As for Peterson, his main reason for running is to make sure the decisions being made are in the best interest and protect the overall quality of life for the town of Glenwood residents.
Peterson would like to make sure there is proper and timely road and ditch maintenance and would look into budget issues if there are any.
On the proposed sand mine, Peterson said if elected he would like to be a part of the inspection process so he could ensure the ordinances are being followed and there is no air or water pollution.
“I am opposed to the location of the mine with it being so close to the school, but if it is going to happen then I want it regulated and monitored properly,” said Peterson.
As for the last candidate, Luepke says his main reason for running is because he believes that preservation of property rights is important and that that concept needs to be restored as it is the most important thing property owners have.
Luepke has also spoke out at public meetings about the proposed sand mine and his views remain in support of the idea due to the fact that property owners have their own right.
“I support property owners and their ability to do what they want with their land as long as it follows the laws, said Luepke. An inconvenience doesn’t trump someone else’s property rights as long as they’re following the law.”