Third candidate to run in Waukesha mayoral race

Published on: 10/15/2013

The first two candidates in the 2014 mayoral race — Terry Thieme and Shawn Reilly — have been in the public eye.

Thieme as an alderman since 2008 and as a Waukesha Water Utility Commissioner and Reilly, a downtown attorney, as a past president of the now-disbanded downtown Business Improvement District.

Compared to them, the third candidate — Mike Volpano — is relatively unknown.

But he doesn't think this will hurt him at the polls next spring.

"I think my chances are pretty good," said Volpano, who submitted his campaign registration statement Aug. 23. "I'm just a regular guy. I'm not a politician."

Volpano, who teaches business part-time at Waukesha County Technical College and is a company trainer for a market research company, said his main reason to run is simple.

"I've been a resident of Waukesha all my life and it seems that there's some lack in leadership over the past few years," Volpano said. "I want to give back to the city because they've given me so much."

His focus he said would be on bringing downtown together after the BID fell apart last year and to make sure the city's application in its quest for Great Lakes water moves forward.

Volpano was very critical of Mayor Jeff Scrima on these fronts.

"I think I can have a positive impact of getting businesses working together and to get the water situation on track," Volpano said. "Something has to be done (with the water application) and there's been a lot of foot-dragging from the mayor's office.

When asked what his stance is on the water issue, he didn't provide specifics but said "we have to look at what's best for Waukesha. It's something that has to be dealt with and we can't be afraid to make the decisions."

On downtown, he added: "A lot of the downtown area I think is just in a disarray. And that's the leadership that wasn't there from the mayor's office. The downtown is a wonderful resource and has done marvelous things but letting the BID fall apart ... the mayor didn't provide any leadership or support."

Scrima hasn't announced whether he will seek another four-year term.

When Reilly announced his candidacy in the summer, Scrima said it wasn’t the time to start campaigning.

“Right now, it’s time to continue the momentum of positive things happening in the city,” Scrima said. 

Thieme announced his intentions to run a few weeks after Reilly.

For Volpano, he said it was the right time for him to make a run.

“I’ve had other opportunities to leave, but I enjoy it here,” Volpano said. “I went to grade school here, I went to high school here. I like Waukesha. I hate to see what went on with the BID and not for the betterment of Waukesha.”

Volpano said he would provide an open style of government and because he has run his own business, managing budgets won't be a problem, he added.

"I have good business observations and would provide helpful leadership," Volpano said. "I'm not afraid to make decisions. I'm looking forward to the experience and to hear the other candidates' points of view."

At a glance

Who: Mike Volpano

What: New mayoral candidate

Education: Waukesha South High School (Class of 1969) and University of Phoenix (bachelor's degree in business administration)

Interests: Former president of the Waukesha Soccer Club, involved in his church

Family: Wife, Cheryl, four adult children and three grandchildren