Five candidates vie for three Guttenberg city council seats

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Steve Bahls

Michelle Geuder

Mark Herman

Mandy Ludovissy

Virginia Saeugling

By Caroline Rosacker

Five candidates will vie for three Guttenberg city council seats in the upcoming election on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Incumbent Virginia Saeugling is the only council member seeking re-election. Each elected council member will serve a four-year term.

Steve Bahls 

1) Why are you running for city council? To maintain fiscal responsibility through my experience with city budgets and operating procedures.

2) What are your qualifications and background? I was an employee of the City of Guttenberg utilities for 37 years.

My volunteer work included youth soccer and high school football coaching, and EMT and driver for the Guttenberg Ambulance Service, Guttenberg Fire Department, U.S. Army veteran and American Legion member. I belong to St. Mary’s Catholic Church where I am a Knights of Columbus member and am currently chair of St. Mary’s Finance Committee. Since retirement I am a board member of the following city committees: Cemetery Board, Planning and Zoning, and Riverfront Board. 

3) What is your vision for the city and what changes are needed? Most importantly to maintaincity services to the citizens. As far as changes go, I will not know until I am able to analyze what is the current state of our city. 

Virginia Saeugling

1) Why are you running for city council? I’d like to see some of the projects that the current council and mayor started reach completion. The council needs people that can see the big picture and the end result of a project. The end goal of what we do is to keep the city of Guttenberg not just surviving but thriving. I believe I can help that happen.

2) What are your qualifications and background? Come December, I will have served 10 years on the council. I have negotiated on both sides of the union. I try to research everything that comes through the council, weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision that will benefit the majority of the community. 

3) What is your vision for the city and what changes are needed? I would love to see the city adopt a Main Street program, clean up all of the historic properties and those along Highway 52. We need to have more businesses and things to do to draw more people in, not just to visit or vacation here, but TO LIVE HERE. The tourists may support the businesses in the summertime, but we, the locals, should be supporting the city ALL YEAR ROUND. We have a new pool, playground equipment and pickleball courts, a beautiful park and marina. We’re working on bike trails, walking trails and cleaning up the ponds. New businesses are coming. Groups working together make progress for the greater good, but we still have a long way to go. I hope that whoever is elected to fill the three open council seats is positive, has an open mind and can visualize what the City of Guttenberg can be. We don’t need C.A.V.E. people (citizens against virtually everything). Most of all the city needs residents who are willing to support the local retailers and restaurants, attend their own festivals and events, participate, volunteer and not be afraid of change. 

Michelle Geuder

1) Why are you running for city council? It comes down to the fact that I want better for the residents of Guttenberg, the people that live, work, and pay taxes here. I want to help solve problems rather than hope someone else does. 

2) What are your qualifications and background? Having lived and worked in Guttenberg my entire life, I’ve familiarized myself with the working of city government. Growing up, we had a family-owned business and it was ingrained in us to support our community, shop local and help fellow businesses – even the competition. Guttenberg needs to support Guttenberg – in all facets. When I realized that I wanted to take a more active role in our community, I joined the Germanfest Committee in 2007 and then the Chamber of Commerce board in 2018. I continue with both of those volunteer positions today. 

3) What is your vision for the city and what changes are needed? Someone needs to advocate for the people of Guttenberg, and I want to be that person. Let’s navigate challenges and find a solution together, whether it be spending, infrastructure improvements, or business pursuits. I’m uncomfortable with the glaring division between the “City” and Guttenberg’s residents. As one of those residents, I believe if we all work in partnership to repair that divide, it will benefit everyone and help Guttenberg thrive. 

Mandy Ludovissy

1) Why are you running for city council? We all have a responsibility to contribute in ways that reflect our individual strengths. I believe I am effective in gathering and interpreting information and can make equitable and sustainable decisions. I like to ask questions but maintain a sense of team and considerate communication. I have a passion for understanding how the best communities and organizations work.  

2) What are your qualifications and background? I love this community and want to see it thrive. I will take the time to listen and understand and will not engage in destructive politics. Raising my family in Guttenberg, serving as Chamber Director, and working with/volunteering for several local organizations has given me valuable insight into community needs and potential. I work in multiple school districts as a substitute teacher. My husband and I have five children.

3) What is your vision for the city and what changes are needed? To move toward a more cohesive Guttenberg in which people are excited to work together and eager to promote this community as one of the best in the Midwest. I believe city leadership should focus on: creating the kind of community that will retain and attract residents, supporting existing and future businesses/organizations, promoting tourism, infrastructure improvements, maintaining Guttenberg’s affordability and livability, and demonstrating excellence in community leadership.  

Mark Herman

1) Why are you running for city council? I care about this town and feel many of its citizens and taxpayers are not being represented and heard. I want to change that.

2) What are your qualifications and background? I was born and raised in this town and lived here my entire life. I attended St. Mary’s, graduated from GHS in 1984 and served 12 years in the National Guard. I spent the last 21 years installing underground utilities, working with many towns municipalities and seen how they worked.

3) What is your vision for the city and what changes are needed? I think we need to focus on this town’s infrastructure and promote more things in the park. To spend money where needed to benefit a majority, not a few. Thank you for your support.

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