Wausau is a city that has been blessed. In the late 19th & early 20th centuries, it was the center of a booming lumber industry.
In the 1930s & 1940s, Fromm Silver Fox drew national and international attention to the community. Later, the re-branding of Employers Mutual Insurance as Wausau Insurance Companies spearheaded a national advertising campaign that made Wausau a household word. However in recent decades we have struggled to find that kind of identity and a place in the 21st Century global economy.
In the last decade, Wausau has found itself in a bit of a bind. Compared to peer cities, it has low household income and high property taxes. As a result, residents of Wausau pay about 20% more of their incomes toward property taxes than people in similarly-sized Wisconsin cities (See 2014 MuniFacts data). Unfortunately, that makes Wausau less competitive at attracting new businesses and new residents. Simply raising taxes without pursuing efficiencies in government is likely to be counter-productive.
In a 2012 editorial in the City Pages, (PDF), Keene Winters discusses some themes that he believes should guide our area’s future development.
Later in 2012, Winters wrote two grants for the city and lead the legislative effort to add a humane officer to our community as a joint venture between the Wausau Police Department and Everest Metro Police Department. Attached is a 2015 discussion of how using the economies of scale gained through partnering with other communities and the business principles of an enterprise fund can help government deliver better services. See document.
In 2013, Winters helped neighbors in a fight against the installation of sidewalks on Spring Street in the Forest Park Neighborhood. The effort become a catalyst for the formation of the Forest Park Neighborhood Association as well as a broader discussion of how to construct street and control speeding in residential neighborhoods. See City Pages PDF.
In 2014 and 2015, Winters campaigned for the city to hire a professional administrator. A copy of the PowerPoint presentation he used in speaking to groups is linked in. See PowerPoint handout. Later in 2015, he wrote a strategy for economic development for Wausau (PDF), and joined fellow alderman, Bill Nagle, in a City Pages opinion editorial on how to transform city operations and save money.
To better engage the citizens of his district in city government, Winters helped found the Forest Park Neighborhoos Association in 2013 and the Riverview Neighborhood Association in 2015. See article.
At the end of 2015, Winters decided to run for mayor and wrote an op-ed discussing why he is running (See Link).
Vision requires an understanding of broad range of issues. That includes knowing our history and demographics, having a plan for building a 21st Century economy, working with surrounding communities to provide services jointly, having ideas to make local government more efficient and engaging citizen to play a more active role in local government. In four years as an alderman, Keene Winters, has amassed a record that shows he has the bold and inspired solutions to do the job of mayor.
Authorized and paid for by Friends of Keene Winters
Greg Strasser, Treasurer