With the general election coming up on Tuesday, April 2, residents will vote on who will be the next alderman for District 3.

The candidates seeking alderman of District 3 are Steve Board and Chris Ruetten. This position is currently held by Alderman Ken Berg.

Below is some biographical information on each candidate, their statement of candidacy and questions posed by the newspaper.

Steve Board

Steve Board is running for District 3 alderman in the city of Watertown elections this spring.

Board has lived in Watertown for more than seven years with his wife Pat, and is a professor at Maranatha Baptist University.

He received a bachelor of science and architecture from Lawrence Technological University. He has no political experience in an elected position prior to this campaign for alderman.

He is a member of the following organizations, Historic preservation and downtown design commission, Watertown Plan Commission, chamber of commerce executive board, Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce Collaboration Team, ThriveEd Marketing Team, Watertown Historical Society and the Calvary Baptist Church.

Board's statement of candidacy follows:

"In 1995, our first child began attending Maranatha Baptist University here in Watertown. In December 2001, I became a trustee of the university, and in January 2012 became an employee. We have always enjoyed Watertown, and saw incredible possibilities and potential here. For the last several years, I have sought to become involved in the community, both through city commissions and other community organizations.

"Through my efforts at MBU, we have brought many individuals into the city for our business breakfasts, helping promote the current and future development here. My work on city commissions has given me great insight into the city government, and my participation in the Chamber and other organizations has introduced me to the business community.

"Watertown is on the precipice of many great opportunities; and my experience in business, as a former city employee in Michigan, development of community vision statements and master plans, and my interest in seeing the city continue forward makes me a strong candidate for District 3 alderman.

"Key needs in Watertown are an expanded tax base, the continuing redevelopment of the downtown, greater commercial and industrial growth, strong education and expanded housing opportunities. All of that will improve the quality of life and grow our community.

"My wife Pat and I love this community and we want to do all we can to see that the 'opportunity that runs through it' is encouraged and seen."

Board responded to questions posed by the Daily Times to help inform voters about his candidacy. The responses follow:

1. What steps do you believe that the Common Council can do to encourage business, industrial and retail expansion in Watertown?

There are several things that the Watertown Common Council is able to do. First, the council and the new mayor need to establish a vision for the city. The Comprehensive Master Plan will be key to defining the expectations for the future. Developing that plan will advise developers, businesses and others what Watertown expects and will support. I am participating in that plan, and in the Jefferson County Comprehensive Master Plan as well.

Second, the council must continue to support the Redevelopment Authority in their efforts both in the downtown area and in other locations as well. The Town Centre provides a needed meeting/green space in the downtown, which encourages additional development there. The Redevelopment Authority has done very well in taking the original council concept for the town square, bringing it within reach in the next several years.

Next, recognizing that making it "easier" for potential development to get to "yes" defines most successful communities. We have a great city staff, and they need to be supported in such a way as to allow them to work with new entities allowing those organizations the best chance to be successful.

Finally, we need to support the county and state efforts to attract families into the Dodge/Jefferson counties, and Watertown. The city needs to investigate additional development areas, and we need to work to improve our residential communities. We are centrally located between Madison and Milwaukee and we need to leverage that opportunity for residential, industrial and business development.

2. Street repairs and reconstruction both need continued attention. Should the city put more of its resources into this issue, and if so, could something else be reduced in cost?

I do not believe we need to add additional funds to our street repairs, especially since, as your question says, this is a need that is continuous. Rather, I think we need to invest in concepts that will provide a significant return. Items like the Opportunity Zone, use of the TIF Districts, etc. will create added value; expanding the tax base, and providing additional funds to do road and infrastructure improvements. Creation of these zones allows opportunity for business growth and expansion, creating long term return and benefit to the community.

3. What challenges do you see as priorities for the city of Watertown if you are elected alderman?

-- The city needs to expand its tax base, not by taxing its current residents more, but by seeing new development, growth and expansion.

-- The ongoing projects such as the town square; library; River Walk repairs/expansion; Main Street grants and the new Welcome Center need to be supported and funded.

-- Managing the resources of the city with reduced state support.

-- Enforcement of the city ordinances as we seek to improve the community appearance.

Chris Ruetten

Chris Ruetten is running for alderman of District 3 in the spring elections in Watertown.

He has lived in Watertown with his wife Stephanie and five children for 13 years. He is employed at Ruekert & Mielke as a professional land surveyor.

Ruetten has a bachelor of science degree in animal science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and took land surveying classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

He has no previous political experience but ran in the 37th Assembly District primary in 2012 and ran for District 3 alderman in 2013 and 2015.

He is a member of St. Henry Catholic Church.

Ruetten's statement of candidacy follows:

"My wife and I have lived here for a total of 13 years. We think this is a great place to raise our five children. I would love to have the opportunity to represent my friends and neighbors of the 3rd District.

"I have always wanted to be involved as a civic leader, and I think I have a lot of energy and ideas to offer. I have been encouraged by the support of the people I've been talking to as I make the rounds in my district.

"Like most people I have talked to, I don't like it when my taxes go up. I'd like to be able to actually do something about that. I have always disliked waste and inefficiency, and I will work hard to eliminate any waste and inefficiency I see in our local government."

Ruetten responded to questions posed by the Daily Times to help inform voters about his candidacy. The responses follow:

1. What steps do you believe the common council can do to encourage business, industrial, and retail expansion in Watertown?

As a professional land surveyor for civil engineering companies for the last 18 years, I have seen tax increment district funding used to accomplish these goals. I'd love to see if this is being maximized in Watertown. Also there are state and federal grant monies for specific purposes that can help too. The common council can also weigh the cost to benefit of an aggressive marketing campaign.

2. Street repairs and reconstruction both need continued attention. Should the city put more of its resources into this issue, and if so, could something else be reduced in cost?

The city's resources are limited. Taking a substantial amount of money from one thing to fund another does not seem sustainable. The engineering company I work for specializes in municipal infrastructure. There are many brilliant engineers that have developed road rating and maintenance programs that have proven over the course of many years, that smart planning can save millions of dollars.

3. What challenges do you see as priorities for the city of Watertown if you are elected alderman?

A lack of growth, both industrial and residential has stymied Watertown for at least the last eight years or longer. The cost of operating a city the size of Watertown is not likely to go down from year to year. If we can grow and broaden the tax base each year, I feel that is a great way to keep property taxes in check.

As I walk across the 3rd District trying to knock on as many doors as possible before the election, I notice some streets are in really poor condition. Getting the city on a solid road rating and maintenance plan as mentioned above I believe would be a priority.

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