Meet the candidates 2023: Traer City Council
Telegraph note: With three Traer City Council at-large seats on the Nov. 7 ballot, the North Tama Telegraph sent out a questionnaire by email to all five candidates who filed paperwork including incumbents Carri Holst and Trish Kennedy, and challengers Derek Gaydos, Brad E. Rund, and Chad Taylor. Below are the responses we received in time for publication. The Telegraph did not receive a response from Gaydos nor Rund.
Profession: Insurance Account Representative – State Farm Insurance/Morris Insurance Agency Inc.
Education: BS – Iowa State University.
Family: Spouse – Jared; 5 kids; 8 grandkids.
1. What motivated you to run for Traer City Council? I originally ran for a seat on the Council to support the wonderful community that I grew up in and call home by being a strong voice who is not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. I am running for re-election to Traer City Council so that I may continue to address citizen concerns, promote a safe and prosperous community, and to work alongside business and community organizations for the good of Traer.
2. What do you see as the primary roles and responsibilities for a member of the city council? I believe the role of a responsible City Council member is to listen to cares and concerns brought forth by community members and act where appropriate; to support open, honest and productive communication between Council and community, to help our community be a great place to call home.
3. What are the biggest issues facing the city of Traer in your opinion and how would you like to see those addressed? We are continually looking at the condition of the City streets and working to help the community understand the fiscal plans and proposed timelines to make repairs and updates to areas of highest concern. I believe it’s important to support our Public Safety – EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement – to make sure we have services available when needed. It’s critical that the Council continues to work closely with local businesses, North Tama County Community Schools, and Traer Development Corporation to support, improve and grow Traer.
4. Some people in the Traer community say there are not enough sidewalks. What do you think? How would you mitigate those concerns or change the situation? I encourage folks to bring concerns to the Council to be reviewed for the good of the Community.
5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for Traer any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why? With careful consideration of the best use of the grant, I would likely encourage the Council to put the funds toward street improvements. The 2022-2023 street project that involved areas of Iowana St, Walnut St, and 9th St. cost $1.1 million dollars. With a grant of that size, the City could make improvements on other streets while keeping our budget and tax dollars on track.
6. What are some of your favorite things to do in Traer? I enjoy movies at the Traer Theater, cooling off at the Traer Pool in the summer, and attending activities at North Tama Schools. This summer provided wonderful opportunities to celebrate Traer’s Sesquicentennial and Winding Stairs Festival thanks to the hard work and dedication of many community members.
7. Why should people vote for you? I am asking for support of my candidacy so that I may continue to work with other members of Council in confirming a stable, viable community while exploring opportunities to grow and improve.
Profession: PR Consultant and small business owner of KT Kennedy Consulting. I also work at North Tama as the Secondary Secretary & PowerSchool Manager.
Education: Graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a Master’s of Arts in Communications and History.
Family: Married to my husband, Keith, for 27 years. We have two awesome children. Our son, Logan, graduated from North Tama in 2021, and our daughter, Grace, is a junior at North Tama.
1. What motivated you to run for Traer City Council? My husband and I moved to Traer in 2005 from out of state. We packed up our 2-year-old son and our belongings, and we moved to a town that I fell in love with on the internet (through the city web page). It offered all that we would need… a great school with K-12 all in one building, a grocery store, doctor’s office, pharmacy, a park with a pool, playgrounds, movie theater, and more. This was the small-town community that I felt was best for our family. The next year our daughter was born and we’ve called Traer home for 18 years. This community has taken care of my family and kept us safe. Traer is our home, our community neighbors are our family. I’m running for a second term on the City Council so I can help take care of my home. I want to see our community be the best it can be to attract and take care of future generations.
2. What do you see as the primary roles and responsibilities for a member of the city council? A City Council member should have pride in their community and a passion for taking care of it. Specific roles include setting and/or reviewing city policies and ordinances, establishing long-term or short-term community goals, adopting a city budget, setting appropriate tax levies, and more. The City Council works together with the mayor and city administration.
A City Council functions as a group of people with vested interest in Traer and making it a better place to live. It’s also the responsibility of the City Council to listen to its community. A City Council member needs to be objective and willing to listen to all viewpoints before making a decision. There’s no room for anyone to push their individual agenda.
3. What are the biggest issues facing the city of Traer in your opinion and how would you like to see those addressed? I’m going to focus on what I believe to be the biggest issue and that is the future of North Tama Schools. The upcoming bond vote on November 7th will determine the path for North Tama. I would like to see the bond vote pass. Our current building has served its community well, but it has broken down and there are no longer bandaids large enough to cover its wounds. As an employee of the school, I can tell you that the building is falling apart. Something breaks down every day. If the vote doesn’t support the school’s plan to move forward, then I’m worried about its future in Traer. Ultimately, will Traer have a school in town in 10 years or will it end up consolidated with another district? If we appreciate what we have, then we have to take care of it.
4. Some people in the Traer community say there are not enough sidewalks. What do you think? How would you mitigate those concerns or change the situation? Sidewalks are another of the city’s concerns. I absolutely agree that we need more sidewalks. Ideally, I would like to see sidewalks connected throughout the city and into the subdivision. I would like to sit down with members of the community to hear more of their concerns and possible ideas for improvements. For our current sidewalks, we’d need to start by repairing those already existing and add more as our budget allows.
5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for Traer any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why? I’d divide the grant into three projects: our school, our children’s safety, and our sidewalks. I’m going to focus on North Tama Schools as the benefactor receiving the majority of the grant. A school can make or break a community. Moving on to the next project, I’d put money toward another school caution light to help our children be able to cross Hwy 63 more safely. Lastly, I would put what I could into the immediate repair of sidewalks.
6. What are some of your favorite things to do in Traer? I enjoy walking through Traer and appreciating the quiet of a small town. I also like browsing downtown shops, seeing a movie, going to the pool, and supporting North Tama events!
7. Why should people vote for you? I genuinely care about our community and its people – our home. I would like to meet as many of our townspeople as possible. I’m willing to sit down with anyone and have a talk about their concerns. There’s so much to be learned from simply listening.
Over the last 18 years, I’ve served on many committees and boards, including the school board, and have dedicated my time to help the Traer community wherever there was a need. I take pride in our community and my passion for caring is limitless. One of the greatest lessons I learned from my mother was to give of my time. To step up, lead, and help, but always be a team player. Always care. It’s up to us to take care of our neighbors and community.
Profession: Automatic Fire Sprinkler fitter/journeyman.
Education: Certificate of completion from Washtenaw Community College in the pipe fitters trade.
Family: Married to Laura Detje Taylor with 3 daughters: Alexis (Chris) Droullard, Lydia and Delanie.
1. What motivated you to run for Traer City Council? I have been a member of Traer Ambulance Service, Traer Lions Club, a deacon at Riley United Church of Christ, a volunteer youth leader for BASIC and a current member of The American Legion. I read there were openings on the City Council and felt there’s always more you can do for the community.
2. What do you see as the primary roles and responsibilities for a member of the city council? I truly don’t know a lot about the ins and outs of being a council person. I believe they are the governing body of the city to keep checks and balances on budgets and all other city concerns.
3. What are the biggest issues facing the city of Traer in your opinion and how would you like to see those addressed? I believe a couple of the biggest issues facing Traer are the city streets and population. There are numerous streets that are in desperate need of resurfacing. The student population at North Tama has dropped over the years.
4. Some people in the Traer community say there are not enough sidewalks. What do you think? How would you mitigate those concerns or change the situation?/5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for Traer any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why? Questions 3, 4, and 5 can all be answered at once. I agree we need more sidewalks. If we received a $1 million grant, I would push to use that for a start of resurfacing streets while adding/replacing sidewalks. I do believe poor street conditions directly affect people’s decisions on whether or not to move to a community.
6. What are some of your favorite things to do in Traer? Our family loves to go to the movie and support North Tama sports. Our girls love the pool. I march with the color guard for the Legion at football games, parades and funeral firing squads.
7. Why should people vote for you? I have been an active member of this community since moving here in 2004. My wife’s family has been active in this community for decades. I believe I may have a different perspective on some of the issues the City has to deal with.