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City candidates weigh-in on issues

Staff writer

Hoch Publishing Company, owner of the Marion County Record¸ Hillsboro Star-Journal, and Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, asked all candidates in Marion County to respond to questions regarding the reason they are seeking election or re-election.

Following are the responses for Hillsboro City Council where there are three positions: mayor, councilman west ward, and councilman east ward.

Hillsboro Mayor candidate

Delores Dalke (incumbent)

1) Why do you want to be re-elected to office?

Dalke: “With the downturn in the economy, I feel it is very important to have experience in making sure Hillsboro thrives, in spite of less cash availability to pay for obligations of the city, plus continue to promote our city for the future. “

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Dalke: “I am very pleased with our current administration, namely Larry Paine as city administrator. We were very fortunate to be able to hire someone with his education and experience. He also has a real vision for the future of our city.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Dalke: “Prior to elective office, I served on the planning commission, recreation commission, and the local housing authority. I served as a council member from 1984 to 1990, mayor from 1991 to 1995, and again from 1997 to present.”

4) What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Dalke: “My goal is for Hillsboro to be the city of choice for residents and businesses, a place where all can thrive. A place where seniors and children want to be, and education — K-12 as well as Tabor College — to continue their excellence. This can be accomplished by the community being willing to work together.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the city? Why?

Dalke: “Budgeting is the most important issue facing Hillsboro. We currently are facing threats from the State of Kansas reducing funding and ongoing increasing costs to furnish services while we attempt to keep property taxes, utility costs, and other fees at a rate our citizens can continue to afford to be able to live here.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Dalke: “I have been fortunate to call Hillsboro home since 1962, when I married John Dalke. We have three grown sons — John, Mark, and Matthew — and two grandchildren — Reagan and Tyler Dalke. I am celebrating 30 years of being a real estate broker and bank representative, currently Generations Bank.”

Hillsboro City Council West Ward (1 position)

Robert L. Watson (incumbent)

1) Why do you want to be re-elected to office?

Watson: “I am completing my first two-year term and feel we have made good progress in a number of areas. I have enjoyed my first term and would like to continue to serve on the council. I believe my experience in banking and service on other boards helps me be an effective council member.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Watson: “I am satisfied. I believe the city council and mayor work well together. The experience and professionalism of our city administrator, Larry Paine, has been a major plus and allowed us to accomplish a lot of things. Very few cities of our size have a new hospital on the horizon or a new wastewater treatment plant. I am particularly pleased with the completion of the D and Oak street drainage project.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Watson: “We have a small town and farming background. This is my 34th year as a rural banker, with 23 of those at Emprise Bank in Hillsboro. I have served 17 years on school boards, 12 of those for USD 410. I also spent about 10 years on the local hospital board.”

4) What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Watson: “My goal is for us to continue to improve. We have made good progress in two years, but there is a lot left to do. We need to continually upgrade our streets, sewers, and water and electric utilities at a reasonable cost. We also need to continue the close relationship with Hillsboro Development Corp. to retain and attract business.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the city? Why?

Watson: “In a word, it is money. We have a lot of needs and a limited ability to pay for them. Our streets were neglected for several years and it will take time and money to fix them. The good news is we have the people who can do the work. We need to reward and retain our excellent employees.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Watson: “My wife, Susan and I live at 702 West A. This is our 23rd year in Hillsboro and our children all attended the local schools. Susan is secretary of United Methodist Church and I am the Community Bank President at Emprise Bank. We have three children and five grandchildren.”

Dan Suderman

1) Why do you want to be elected to office?

Suderman: “I’m approaching the city council with a heart of service, because I know that a great community doesn’t just happen. Good people have to make difficult decisions based not only on what is legal but what is right.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Suderman: “There was an issue with special assessments that arose last year, and too much of the debate was focused on legal issues rather than what was fair and equitable to homeowners. That debate raised concerns with me about the thought process by which other issues are being determined. My opinion is most issues can be resolved by being legal and fair if enough thought and consideration is invested. I anticipate being more responsive to the opinions of the West Ward by being fiscally conservative with their money and responsible to citizens concerning the future deliberation of additional spending projects.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Suderman: “While this is my first venture into public service, my career involves managing my own business, developing business plans and strategies, and managing debt. As part of my career I consult with other businesses, managing risk, employees, livestock, and money. I feel I could bring some of these experiences and successes into city council.”

4) What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Suderman: “My goals are to ensure the financial soundness of the City of Hillsboro. This takes not just investment in new projects but a meaningful investment in caring for the infrastructure the city has invested in the past and considering this a priority before new projects are undertaken. If money could be found I would pursue as a priority the safety center for the fire department and EMS.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the city? Why?

Suderman: “I feel the most important issue facing the city is the budget and finding creative solutions to issues that could be easily solved if money was abundant; the investment of time, thought, and creativity is paramount to any success the city may enjoy during this economic downturn.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Suderman: “I grew up south of Hillsboro, graduated from Hillsboro High School, and Kansas State University. My career allows us to live just about anywhere and we chose Hillsboro. I’m employed with Suther Feeds Inc., which is a family-owned company based in Frankfort. I travel central Kansas and north central Oklahoma. My wife, Becky, is employed by Parents As Teachers for USD 410. My oldest daughter, Madeline, is 6 and in kindergarten, and my youngest daughter, Ella, is 4 and in preschool at Kids Connection.”

Hillsboro City Council East Ward (1 position)

Shane Marler (incumbent)

1) Why do you want to be re-elected to office?

Marler: “Having served on the council for the past two years I feel my understanding of local government has improved drastically, despite an extreme learning curve. I feel I have been a part of a council that works well together to make decisions with the ‘big picture’ in mind. We have started many new and exciting projects, and I would like to be afforded the opportunity to see them through.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Marler: “That seems a bit like a trick question. I am pleased with the current administration. Not only on the council, but the municipality as a whole. We have great employees, truly committed to the betterment of the community. As a council, we have had to make some tough decisions during the past two years. I take this very seriously, and always try to be as informed of a situation as I can possibly be. I think we are doing good things that will benefit Hillsboro for some time to come.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Marler: “Having represented the East Ward for the past two years, my qualifications are just that. I have done my best to educate myself on the issues, as well as gain a general understanding of the intricacies of local government.”

4) What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Marler: “I would like to see the City of Hillsboro continue to set the bar for other communities. We have a very professional and successful momentum going, and I would like to see that continue during the next few years. While many other cities are struggling, Hillsboro is leading the way in economic development. Hillsboro has had the foresight in less economically turbulent times to invest in infrastructure so that we may be afforded the opportunity to develop when other communities cannot.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the city? Why?

Marler: “The current economic situation is by far the most important issue facing the city. While I feel we are far better off than some, now is a time to be mindful of spending. We will have to closely watch our budget during the coming months to ensure we do not put ourselves in a compromising position should the outlook worsen.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Marler: “I currently work for a non-profit organization in Peabody. My wife and I have no children, two dogs, and enjoy traveling. I supplement my income by playing guitar in a swing quintet based out of Wichita. We moved to Hillsboro in August 2000, and have truly enjoyed the people, and our time here. I would like to be afforded the opportunity to give back to the community by serving as the East Ward representative on Hillsboro City Council. If I should not be elected, I’m confident the citizens of Hillsboro will choose a candidate who will represent them well, and I would truly like to thank the citizens of Hillsboro for their support and the opportunity to serve them.”

Kevin Suderman

1) Why do you want to be elected to office?

Suderman: “I offered my name for a position on the city council to provide the citizens of Hillsboro another option. If only an incumbent runs, do the people really have a choice? I also feel that it is my duty to offer whatever expertise and energy I have to my community to serve those around me.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Suderman: “The current administration is doing an adequate job but there is always room for improvement. I think our council is still dealing with past problems which are creating a tougher environment than we should have at this point. This is not due to any current member or employee.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Suderman: “I have been involved in many organizations during the past 15-20 years. Most recently I served as the extension council chairman, as well as serving the past several years on the planning commission. Probably the most interesting and formative qualification was the selection of the KARL class of 2001-03, where we spent many hours touring Kansas communities and businesses as well as traveling overseas. We studied small town problems and discussed the challenges of a state with many rural communities and values.”

4) What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Suderman: “My goals are to help guide our city through tough financial times through fiscal responsibility while maintaining as many services as possible while minimizing further financial impact on our constituents. I also believe that as a community we need to be more open-minded to things going on outside our borders. We must maintain our identity but we also need to support our county and it’s communities in finding and maintaining businesses, jobs, and all other opportunities.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the city? Why?

Suderman: “Currently the most important issue for Hillsboro is budgetary. The financial crisis of the world is starting to hit home and more problems are sure to come, so diligence is key. How to deal with these problems can be and will be a fluid process because of continued uncertainty.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Suderman: “I grew up in Hillsboro, and I am a 1996 graduate of Kansas State University. My wife is Nicole, and I have a 16-month-old son. I live at 516 S. Lincoln and am employed by Cooperative Grain and Supply and also operate a small farm south of Hillsboro.”

Last modified Feb. 26, 2009

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