During a Common Council meeting last fall, Alderman Andy Reiland said he was worried that not enough people were getting involved in aldermanic races.
Specifically, he said it would help voters if there were more choices during elections.
Voters in his district (13), on the city's west side, will have a choice when they come to the polls on April 1, as Reiland has a challenger, Dean Lemke.
Reiland is acquainted with Lemke, as Lemke helped Reiland during his District 13 aldermanic campaign three years ago. When Reiland was going door-to-door seeking the seat in 2011, he stopped at Lemke's home, and he soon had a supporter.
"During my campaign he helped me, and the night of the election he came over to my house to help celebrate," Reiland said. "I think it's great that voters have choices. It would be nice if I wasn't running against him because Dean is a good guy, and it could be a tough decision, as those who vote have two good choices."
Lemke made it clear that his decision to run wasn't an indication that he is critical of the job Reiland has done.
"My running has no reflection on the performance that he did," Lemke said. "This is just something that's been in the back of my head for the last 20 years. I feel the timing is right. Two good men are running. We have a lot of similarities. He's fiscally responsible and a team player, as I would be. I want to give my input and give back to the community and the city I have lived in for 37 years."
"He needs a break," Lemke added with a laugh.
Reiland, however, doesn't want one. He wants to continue serving the city.
During his first three years, Reiland, who has a financial background as a manager of procurement and asset management at Safway Group Holdings in Waukesha, said he's most proud of his involvement with the Finance Committee.
"I feel the decisions made by the committee have been fiscally responsible, and anyone who has followed the budget process knows we worked pretty hard to hold the line on taxes, while continuing to provide important services that everyone expects," Reiland said.
During his first term, he said he had the "most fun" being the Common Council's representative on the Waukesha GuitarTown Steering Committee.
Looking forward, Reiland, who was instrumental in keeping the Meijer development alive in the city last summer, said he would focus on two areas if he is re-elected.
"I will continue to push for efficiencies with spending during the budget process and maintain core services that citizens expect," Reiland said. "The other area is the most common call I've received over the past three years is about a neighbor not taking care of their property, whether their grass or things piling up around the house — just general maintenance. I want to put on a to-do list to look at city ordinances to see if we can tighten it up. Not in fines or Big Brother, but somehow as a community to help them get the property better."
Lemke, a stay-at-home dad who worked in sales until 2007, also said he's looking for more community pride in his district.
"I would try to organize more block parties," said Lemke, who now umpires softball and baseball games across the area in spring and summer. "And more neighborhood watches."
Lemke also has his eye on the city budget.
"Not only hold taxes flat but cutting back on spending," said Lemke, who described himself as a saver when it comes to money. "I'm sure there are a lot of ways where there is spending that we don't need and could take that out."
When asked for specific areas in the budget he would take out from this past year, Lemke said he's still going through it but he knows "there are (areas) in there."
Lemke said his campaign is going well and wanted to reiterate that being an alderman is important to him.
"I had a chance to move to North Carolina for a job, but I like Waukesha too much," said Lemke, who added connecting with residents is also a goal of his and would hand-deliver a newsletter to all the homes in the district on the issues the city faces and how it plans on handling them.
The same can be said of Reiland.
"I can't believe it's been three years," Reiland said. "It's been rewarding and probably one of biggest things has been meeting a lot of people in the city. There's a lot of people that make our city what it is that are constantly involved, and I feel fortunate to play a small role."
Andy Reiland (inc.)
Address: 1012 Fieldridge Court
Employer/occupation: Safway Group Holdings, corporate office in Waukesha, manager of procurement & asset management
Years of residency in the city: 13
Education: Degree in business/finance, Marquette University
Previous political experience or other related experience/community involvement: Currently on the Finance Committee, Building and Grounds, Library Board, Public Art Committee and the Waukesha GuitarTown Steering Committee. He has also served on the Cemetery Commission and a committee to hire the city's finance director. Also a past president of the Wisconsin Cycling Association
Family: Wife Stephanie; two adult children, one teenage son
Contact information (phone, email): (414) 750-3188, email@example.com
Address: 2212 Woodfield Circle
Employer/occupation: Sports official/stay-at-home parent
Years of residency in the city: 37 years
Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1990), Waukesha North High School graduate (1984)
Previous political experience or other related experience/community involvement: No previous political experience; perform numerous hours of community service with groups such as the United Way, Junior Achievement, M.S., Special Olympics and church.
Family: Married for 17 years; two children (ages 13, 12)
Contact information: (262) 442-6237, firstname.lastname@example.org