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LANNON - Incumbents Ron Dutcher and Janice Manor-Schmidt are being challenged for their seats on the Lannon Village Board during the spring election Tuesday April, 4.

Candidates in this race without political experience are advocating to bring in new board members for the fresh perspectives they offer, like Steve Reek and Alex Gizelbach, while the political veterans — Patrick Yates and the two incumbents — are emphasizing their high qualifications to retain their seats. The top three candidates with the most votes will secure positions on the village board.

Northwest Now spoke to the candidates about the upcoming election.

What sets you apart from the other candidates running for the Lannon Village Board? 

Reek: I have been a resident of Lannon for 17 years and have raised my family here. I feel I have a set of new ideas that would help the community, and the openness to listen to the residents about their concerns and ideas to improve Lannon.

Yates: I have extensive experience as a successful business owner, I have served as treasurer for Whispering Ridge Condos, I am a former president of the Menomonee Falls Chamber of Commerce, I serve on the architectural control board for Menomonee Falls and I am a United States Army veteran. I believe that all of these past experiences would make me a highly qualified trustee.

Manor-Schmidt: Four years ago when I ran for the trustee position, I had been attending the board meetings, plan commission meetings, committee meetings and even the budget workshops to learn about the problems, procedures, processes, ordinances and how the village ran in general for over a year before I even thought about running. I asked questions and talked to many of the board members at that time. I have only seen two, maybe three, new faces at the last two to three meetings that I “think” might be running. To my knowledge, many of the present trustees do not even know who the new candidates are.

Gizelbach: The professional skills and experience I've gained working for a Fortune 500 company make me an excellent candidate for trustee. I am also married and the proud father of two young children. Our family is actively involved our school district and community. Being a new member to the board, I would also bring a fresh set of ideas and perspective.

Dutcher: I’ve brought a lot to Lannon. I’m the head of the parks and beautification of Lannon. I was pretty instrumental in getting the ball fields built in Lannon. I participate a lot in what goes on, let’s put it that way.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Lannon, and what do you think should be done to address that issue? 

Reek: I feel the ability to improve and grow Lannon with new business/development, and improve existing conditions are on the top of the list. I would like to meet with potential developers and business owners who would like to come to Lannon and work with them so we can improve our tax base and bring new life into the community.

Yates: We need positive economic growth in Lannon and open communication with the community. We need to create an environment that looks after the welfare of the citizens while encouraging a development-friendly environment. We need collaboration, not hurdles and roadblocks.

Gizelbach: Encouraging residential and business development by embracing partnerships that will grow our community. I believe in trust and that comes through transparency, honesty and having open communication. We need to focus on the future of Lannon and determine the best way to get there.

Manor-Schmidt: There are many important issues in Lannon, but we are very limited to what we can and cannot do about them. We do not have a lot of financial resources to remedy some of the issues, but we are trying to welcome new development. The residents of Lannon need to become more involved with the board and planning commission and become more aware of what is being done, or what can or cannot be done. There are legal limitations that the residents do not realize.

Dutcher: The water system is a big issue in Lannon and it has been for years. I would like to see more building in Lannon as far as housing goes. I think that’s the biggest issue. We could use a lot more money, but that means you have to build or more businesses need to come into Lannon

What areas of the village budget deserve highest priority, in your opinion?  

Reek: Once I am elected, I would have the opportunity to review the budget and discuss it with the other board members in order to map out a plan of action that would make sense. At that time I could prioritize issues accordingly.

Yates: Without actually reviewing the budget, I cannot possibly formulate an educated response as to what area needs the most attention.

Manor-Schmidt: The budget is tight. We eliminated the fire department with thoughts of saving money and ended up spending more than we expected at this point. Our water system is going to be a big issue. This should be our priority at this time, but again, there is only so much we can do with the monies Lannon has. Getting development in Lannon is essential to getting the funds to “fix” a lot of these problems.

Gizelbach: Once I have the opportunity to review the budget, I plan to look for potential opportunities for cost savings while maintaining or improving the level of service we already have.

Dutcher: The highest priority right now is we farmed out the fire department to Menomonee Falls, so we’re dealing with that yet. We need to keep our police department and our parks and our ball fields running. That’s the most important thing in Lannon because people come to Lannon for our ball games and parks.

Steve Reek: 

Age: 45

Address: 21790D N Weather Edge Circle

Political history: N/A

Phone number:  262-251-7690

Email: sjreek@hotmail.com

Patrick Yates:

Age: 48

Address: 21802 S. Weather Edge Circle

Political history: Former president of the Menomonee Falls Chamber of Commerce; currently on the architectural control board for Menomonee Falls

Phone number: 262-251-7690

Email: Patrick.Yates@fastsigns.com

Janice Manor-Schmidt:

Age: 63

Address: 20393 W. Good Hope Road

Political history: Lannon Trustee for four Years

Email: jan.schmidt@marylinsmeierschools.org

Phone Number: 262-251-0794

Alex Gizelbach: 

Age: 34

Address: 6974 N Weather Edge Circle

Political history: None

Phone number:  262-251-7690

Email: alex.gizelbach@gmail.com

Ron Dutcher: 

Age: 63

Address: 7099 Parkview Drive

Political History: Lannon Village Board trustee for 17 years; plan commission for eight years

Village number: 262-251-7690

Email: yellodog2@aol.com

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