Election preview: mayoral races

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CSI Media news staff | March 25, 2014

ELKHORN — Two city council members are vying for the position of mayor in Elkhorn.
Brian Olson and Gary Payson Sr. are in the running to replace Mayor Howie Reynolds, who is not running for re-election. The election is April 1.

Walworth County Sunday asked the candidates to submit some information about themselves and their experience:

Brian Olson
Age: 37
Address: 1142 W. Court St.
Job: owner of the Tandem Group; manufacturing representative
Education: graduate of Greendale High School, business degree from Arizona State University
Community service:  Sons of American Legion
Elected positions: currently District 6 alderman
Major campaign issue: Parks, infrastructure and business are key to community growth. Elkhorn needs to continue with fulfilling the public vote and complete the Sunset Pool along with improving activities in all our parks for all ages. We also need to address deteriorating roads especially after this long winter and for the long term connectivity to reduce congestion areas. We currently are adjusting ordinances related to business to make Elkhorn friendly to deal with and we also need a program to market to the correct businesses to fit our open space.

Gary Payson Sr.
Age: 61
Address: 1229 Robincrest Lane
Job: buyer/planner at SPX
Education: Schools attended include Wilmot High School, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Gateway Technical College and University of Phoenix
Community service: representative to the Tri-City Steering Committee, co-chair of Community in Harmony
Elected positions: currently in fifth term as alderman; served from 1994 to 1996, 2006 to 2009, 2011 to present
Major campaign issue: Continuation of our infrastructure improvements and improve our utility reliability. Elkhorn's conservative budgeting process is healthy. Meaningful sidewalk policies that encourage safe walking routes and connectivity to neighborhoods. Our proximity to the interstates and inter-connectivity with our surrounding communities positions Elkhorn for future industrial growth.

In Delavan, incumbent Delavan Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis faces a challenge from longtime city alderman Ryan J. Schroeder on April 1.
The mayoral match-up is the same as in  April 2012, when Nieuwenhuis topped Schroeder for the position.  

Mel Nieuwenhuis (I)
Age: 52
Address: 720 Parish St.
Job: Nieuwenhuis Brothers Disposal — garbage hauler
Education: graduate of Delavan-Darien High School
Community service: Advisory council board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County, co-founder of Mary's Room, Civil War Monument Restoration Committee member, DDHS Booster Club member, Relay for Life, president of the Spring Grove Cemetery Board
Elected positions: 2nd District alderman, 1996 to 1998 and 2001; mayor, 2002 to present
Major campaign issue: Top priorities are the revitalization of our downtown, dog track property, empty industrial park No. 6, city budget, reducing debt, holding the line on taxes. If improvements are made in these areas, we will increase business and economic growth, tourism and jobs and (it will mean) less taxes for the citizens of Delavan.

Ryan J. Schroeder
Age: 39
Address: 510 S. Seventh St.
Job: chief of staff to state Rep. Josh Zepnick
Education: Delavan-Darien High School graduate, bachelor's degree in administration and public policy from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Community service: member and former president of the Delavan Lions club, member and former president of the Delavan-Darien Kiwanis club, member of the Delavan Historical Society and the Walworth County Historical Society
Elected positions: Delavan alderman from 1999 to 2009 and 2011 to present
Major campaign issue: I have several issues: Bring businesses to the city that will provide new jobs and good wages to sustain a family. Continue my work as chairman of the Downtown Revitalization Committee, working with others to market the downtown to fill up open storefronts while we preserve our history and what makes Delavan unique. Make sure we have a clean, safe environment that not only we are proud of, but will encourage others to want to live and raise a family here.

Read the complete roundup of election races throughout Walworth County, including councils, boards and referendums HERE.

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