The race for the Waunakee Village Board of Directors includes a mix of incumbents (I) and former council trustees as well as newcomers to elected office. A fast-growing municipality, Waunakee’s top issues include affordable housing and supporting the village’s diversity, the candidates said. Incumbent Erin Moran did not provide an answer. Terms are two years.
Address: 404 E. Verleen Ave, Waunakee
Family: Married with four sons
Use: Owner and Operator, Nila’s Nursery and Childcare
Before elected mandate: Waunakee board since 2020
Other public service: Sidewalk Committee, 1978; Personnel Committee and Parks and Buildings Committee, 1990s; Public Works Committee since 2014; Housing Working Group, 2018-19; Graduated from Citizens Academy, 2019; Appeals Chamber, 2017-19; Citizens’ Review Committee on the Facilities Needs of Secondary Schools, 1992
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Education: License in Home Child Care
Address: 1703 Court of Alexandria, Waunakee
Family: woman and girl
Use: Vice President of Risk Management, Peoples State Bank
Before elected mandate: Any
Other public service: Waunakee Housing Task Force for the Village of Waunakee, 2018-19
Education: BA in Political Science and Economics, University of Tampa
Before elected mandate: Waunakee Village Committee since 2020
Other public service: Create the Waunakee Committee, President; Waunakee Library Board; Waunakee Housing Task Force; Public Works Committee; Waunakee Girls Lacrosse Club; Badgerland Lacrosse Association, Director of Marketing; Waunakee Monarch Project
Education: Bachelor of Communications and Environmental Studies, Edgewood College
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 210 Kensington Lane, Waunakee
Use: Interpreter and Translator, Waunakee Community School District
Before elected mandate: Any
Other public service: Waunakee Public Library Board since 2021; Waunakee Neighborhood Connection, 2020
Education: Studied as a health care interpreter, Madison College
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 923 Country Crossing, Waunakee
Family: Married with a daughter
Use: Senior IT Engineer at American Family Insurance
Before elected mandate: Waunakee Village Council, 2018-20
Other public service: Audit Committee, 2011-18 and since 2020; Public Works Committee, since 2020
Education: Masters Certificate in Project Management, UW-Madison; BA in Communication, UW-Stevens Point
Questions and answers
What unique expertise or experience would you bring to this office?
Fry : I am a childminder and my husband is a worker, this brings a unique perspective to the council. It is important that all residents have a voice in the village government. Having served on committees for over 40 years, I know the history of many issues, which is helpful in reviewing current topics and planning for the future.
McPherson: My job requires asking a lot of direct questions and listening to the views and opinions of people from all walks of life. This skill helps provide the best answer to a problem, even if it’s not the answer I would prefer myself.
Ramos: My job requires asking a lot of direct questions and listening to the views and opinions of people from all walks of life. This skill helps provide the best answer to a problem, even if it’s not the answer I would prefer myself.
Zitzelsberg: Our current world is hyper partisan. The village council is by design non-partisan, and I hope to be a prime example of that. I claim no allegiance to any particular political party and often find myself in the middle of most political ideologies. I use logic and the law to guide my decisions and am happy to leave my ego at the door. The goal of serving the people should never be to win, but rather to work together to find workable and acceptable solutions to problems.
What is the most important issue of this election and how would you approach it?
Fry : The development process and transparency. Waunakee’s population has increased 23% over the past ten years. Citizens fear this happened with little input from the public until the developments were concluded. We need to address how this affects citizens’ taxes. The village will likely transition from volunteer firefighters and EMS to paid staff and there are more roads and infrastructure to maintain. I would ask for citizen input early in the development process and more controlled growth.
McPherson: Waunakee struggles to have affordable housing for working-class families and people on fixed incomes. Those who could buy or rent years ago are slowly being pushed out as taxes rise due to our housing problems. I would be looking to make small changes to the rules that would make it easier to upgrade existing houses and expand the choice of housing in the village.
Ramos: Bring diverse voices to our board.
Zitzelsberg: Waunakee has a long list of important decisions to make, including diversity, growth, housing availability and affordability, and transportation. While these are all important, one of the most visible issues in the upcoming election is the concept of a village water facility. It’s still early in the discovery and design process, and because of that, I won’t commit to supporting or opposing it, but I strongly support sending the proposal to voters by referendum.
What new idea do you have to make local government more efficient?
Fry : A user-friendly Waunakee web page would create more effective communication between residents and staff. I want citizens to be able to easily find the right resource when contacting the village, as well as easy access to agendas and issues for upcoming meetings.
McPherson: When tackling issues that have two opposing sides in the community, bring them together to work on the issue, but give them time to reach a compromise decision, or the board will adopt a solution that potentially neither side would like. . This gives a real incentive to solve problems, one way or another, without leading to “decision paralysis”.
Ramos: Streamline getting community feedback.
Zitzelsberg: It’s all about balance. Local government, like a project, is mainly controlled by three factors: cost, quality and time. Typically, you can buff two, but the third will buff accordingly. Waunakee balances these factors very well, resulting in an excellent community with quality services at a reasonable cost to village ratepayers. There is always room for improvement, but we need to be analytical and deliberate to really gain efficiency in one area without detrimental effect in another.