Spring Election 2019: Paris town chairman Q&A

Voters in Paris will have the opportunity to vote in a contested election for town chairman int eh April 2 election.

Vying to succeed Virgil Gentz, who did not run for re-election, will be John Holloway and Beverly McCumber.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate by email.

Here is their biographical information, followed by their question responses:

Beverly McCumber — Age: 60. Education:  BA  History, BA Humanities from UW Parkside; MA American History from Marquette; Municipal Clerk Certificate and Municipal Treasurer Certificate from the Clerk-Treasurer Institute, UW Green Bay. Occupation:  Executive Director of the CATHE Center. Previous Elected Office:  Clerk-Treasurer, Town of Paris.  Served for eight years.

John Holloway — Age 63. Education:  BS – Agricultural Business Management – University of Wisconsin Madison. Occupation: Self employed Farmer. Previous elected offices:  Elected to Farm Service Agency County Committee; elected to Board of Directors – CPI Cooperative, Landmark Cooperative.  Appointed to serve out the balance of Henry Billingsley’s term for Westosha Central High School board of education.

1.) Why are you the best choice for town chairman?

Holloway — My style of leadership has always focused on inclusion and respect.  In my time on the Paris Plan Commission, I have always made sure that every petitioner was treated with respect and had all of the information that they needed in order to present their ideas.  The Town of Paris is facing a number of major projects and needs a proven, experienced leader. I have served the town as Chairman of the Plan Commission since 1992.  During that time the Town adopted two major land use plans and a land division ordinance. We currently face the potential of a solar power project being placed in the town whether we want it or not, as State regulations do not require local approval.  I have been leading the Town’s  research and study of the potential impacts from such a project as the Town prepares to advocate for the best interests of the community.  This project is rapidly moving forward in the application phase – there is not time for someone who has no knowledge of the project or its impact to get up to speed.  A majority of the Town Board’s time is spent on land use issues and the pressure is only getting greater.  I am the candidate with the background and the experience in land use policies and statutes that directly affect our town.

McCumber –– I am the best choice for the Chairman position as I have worked in the office and have been involved with Town of Paris for more than eight years.  I am familiar with the issues and the key people involved.

2.) What would be your top initiatives for the next term if you are elected?

Holloway — 1. Guide the Town of Paris response to the solar farm project. This project, if approved,  will have a major impact on our Town for the next 50 years.  If it is approved by the state, our Town Board will need to negotiate an agreement to minimize the impact on the town and make it as positive as possible. I have been developing a framework for such negotiations.  2. Increase the  amount of communication between the Town Board and residents by making better use of the Town’s website to share information with the residents.  3. Foster an increased sense of community in the Town – encouraging events and activities that allow us to gather as neighbors.  4.  Make meetings as friendly and inclusive as possible.

McCumber — Top initiatives will be responsible development along the I-94 corridor and to continue the proud heritage of our fire and rescue department.

3.) What is your current vision for what would be best for the town regarding the Legacy Committee’s work and initial proposal?

Holloway — I think the committee has opened the door for discussion.  The committee took the ideas that were shared with them and they have shown the community what it would cost to create a space that included those ideas.  Now it is up to the community to discuss and share their ideas with the committee.  I think this needs to be a community decision, not just a committee or board decision.  I am in favor of creating space for the community to use if the residents want it and indicate they will use it.  The sample budget came in at a higher number than most of us expected and therefore there needs to be discussion on whether this is what we want, will we use it, are there possible budget reductions or are there better ideas?  Consideration of a Legacy project should include an analysis of the impact on the Town’s finances long term and alignment with resident’s wishes.

McCumber — As a member of the Legacy Committee, I know how carefully the committee gathered input from the residents.  The plan demonstrates a fair and equitable response to residents opinions and concerns.  As the plan moves forward, I would like to continue listening to Paris residents and put it to a vote before construction begins.

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