BURLINGTON — Three candidates are running for alderman in Burlington’s 4th District, the only contested municipal office in the city this year. The field will be reduced to two at the primary on Feb. 19.
Incumbent Alderman Todd Bauman, who has been on the City Council since 2013, is facing a challenge in the Feb. 19 primary election from retired resident Art Gardner and Frank Korb, a high school art teacher. The two top vote-getters in the primary advance to the April 2 general election.
Burlington aldermen serve two-year terms and receive an annual salary of $3,600.
The candidates provided The Journal Times with some information on their background and insight into why are running.
What motivated you to run for office?
Bauman: I have been on City Council for the past six years because I wanted to serve the citizens of the City of Burlington. I am seeking my fourth term because I feel that I am a great asset to the citizens of the city.
Gardner: The national political environment shows us how important it is to get involved. For me that means the local level. I am still relatively new to Burlington, so I think I can represent the people of Burlington objectively. Longtime residents represent a wealth of local knowledge, but can sometimes be influenced by peer pressure or “we always did it this way” thinking. I offer a fresh perspective. I also feel that there are a lot of newer people in the community today compared to 10 or 15 years ago. The time seems right.
Korb: I have seen a lot of change in our community and am very excited to witness the continued growth and movement forward. I have been engaged in contacting our state and national representatives about my concerns, thoughts, and sense of appreciation for their work to make our state and country better for all. The time has come for me to be that person for others to reach out to and talk with so that our community members know that their feelings and concerns are heard and addressed by our local government officials.
What do you see as the most important issues in this race? And how would you, as alderman address those issues?
Bauman: I would say that the most important issue in this race is experience. The city has a variety of issues facing it in the coming years. My time on the council will allow me to hit these issues head on. Being a lifelong resident of Burlington, I have seen quite a bit of change. I believe that my time on the council helps me tackle any and all issues that face the city.
Gardner: This is a unique period of strong economic conditions. There are opportunities now to invest in both city infrastructure (city streets, sidewalks, dam improvements) and development of new businesses and housing. Burlington may not see these kind of conditions again for a long time. Making sure there is an up to date city development plan is key to guiding our decisions. I do not support tax increases to residents, but am eager to grow the tax base through new housing and businesses. The potential impact of Foxconn on our community further illustrates the opportunity of the day. Are we ready?
Korb: As alderman I will offer a supportive voice for the arts in our schools and throughout the community; provide a community-centered voice for decisions that affect our schools; work to encourage the continued economic development of the city, from small storefronts to major manufacturing; and listen to, and amplify the voices of diverse residents who need their concerns and ideas addressed by the Common Council.