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Spring 2014 Election

Delavan mayor race features familiar opponents

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Catherine W. Idzerda
March 26, 2014

DELAVAN—Incumbent Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis will once again face Alderman Ryan J. Schroeder in the competition to be Delavan mayor April 1.

The pair have worked together on the city council for more than a decade, and Schroeder lost to Nieuwenhuis in the 2012 mayoral election.

The candidates gave their opinions on what they think are some of the major campaign issues.

DOWNTOWN

Nieuwenhuis: “Three or four years ago, we decided that revitalizing the downtown was going to be one of our No. 1 goal. We've done the strategic planning, and now we have downtown project teams to implement the things we've come up with. It's not 'mission accomplished,' but we're moving in the right direction.”

Ryan: “(I want) to continue my work as the chairman of the downtown revitalization committee. We're working with others to market the downtown to pull up open storefronts while we preserve our history and what makes Delavan unique.”

TAXING AND SPENDING

Nieuwenhuis: “We have started to do things more on a cash basis and are doing less borrowing.”

Ryan: “Keeping taxes down through efficient city spending and cooperative shared services with neighboring governments.”

THE FUTURE

Nieuwenhuis: “As far as moving forward, I think we have—had—three white elephants. One, the Delavan House Hotel, has been taken care of. A hotel is opening there in May. The second, the old racetrack, is coming down in April, and we do have some prospects there. The third one is the industrial park No. 6, which is still empty. We do have a prospect there, too, that will be coming in to talk to us.”

Ryan: “I have several campaign issues: Work to bring businesses to the city that will provide new jobs and good wages to sustain a family; provide a clean, safe environment by making sure our police, firefighters, and rescue have the resources they need to do their jobs to protect us; make sure our city streets and infrastructure are maintained, especially after this winter.”

“If elected mayor, I will hold public listening sessions with citizens to keep lines of communication open and better inform them of what's going on in their local government.”

THE CANDIDATES

MEL NIEUWENHUIS (I)

Age: 52

Address: 720 Parish St., Delavan.

Job: Truck driver for Nieuwenhuis Haulers

Education: Delavan-Darien High School, some college.

Community service: Serves on the advisory board for the Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County, co-founder of Mary's Room.

Elected posts: Delavan City Council, 1996-1998; elected again in 2001, elected as mayor in 2002.

RYAN J. SCHROEDER

Age: 39

Address: 510 S. 7th St., Delavan.

Job: Chief of staff for state Rep. Josh Zepnick

Education: Bachelor's degree in administration and public policy, UW-Whitewater.

Community service: Former president and member of the Delavan Lions Club; former president and member of Delavan-Darien Kiwanis Club, member of the Delavan Historic Society, and the Walworth County Historic Society.

Elected positions: Delavan City Council, 1999-2009, and 2011-present. He has also been elected to be council president and vice president.



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