Tom Wieseler Mount Vernon mayor

Tom Wieseler

Tom Wieseler

My wife, Vicky and I have been married for 45 years, have 3 children and 10 grandchildren. I’m a 1975 graduate of Creighton University. I spent 43 years as a General Manager and eventually District Manager in college dining with a few years in the hospital industry. I retired in 2016 and after a few months, took on a new role doing presentations on residential solar for 22+ evenings over the last 5 summers. For four years, I’ve worked for the Mt. Vernon Bank and enjoy engaging with the public in that role. My hobbies include running, reading, sustainability efforts, sports, personal fitness, travel, and spending time with family, especially my grandchildren. Since turning age 50, I’ve run 4 marathons and over a dozen half marathons-including running them with 1,2 or all 3 of my children and a daughter-in-law.

My experience in governance includes 27+ years on the School Board with 10 years as President. During that time, I also was a District Director on the Iowa Association of School Boards for six years. For over 20 years I was a member and officer of the Booster Club and covered concessions for several years in several sports. I’m finishing year six on City Council and have been on the School Board Foundation for many years. I was on Parks & Recreation for 6 years and chair for several. I’m on my church’s Parish Council, serve as a volunteer in several roles and was heavily involved in two capital construction campaigns at church.

Give us your assessment of the city. What is going well; what would you like to see changed?

After six years on council I have a bias that things are generally going well with the City, even with the twin challenges of the Aug. 2020 derecho and 1 ½ years of the COVID pandemic. That said, there is always room for improvement. Street upgrades will probably always be on a to do list as far as things to improve. Credit for a well-run City government needs to be shared with a long line of Council members, City managers and staff plus mayors whose last names include Peters, Bowers, Engelbrecht, Hickey, Elliott, Moore, Peterson, Tuerler and Hampton. We are in a good position due to the hard work of these past leaders. I would like to build on recent successes like the LBC, the new police station, providing local small businesses COVID relief, merging police staff with Lisbon, improving the water quality of Nature Pond, pocket parks, Bryant Road Public Works development, outdoor main street seating and ATV permitting. As for things I’d like to see change, we need to offer housing in areas where our residential inventory is weak and clean up our entry into town from the southeast.

Why are you running? Is there a specific issue you plan to champion?

I’m running to continue my service to the community on a different and wider scale. With six years of council service, I think I have good experience with City governance. I have no specific thing I want to change other than to continue my service in a new capacity. I need to champion and educate our citizens that we will be seeing some system wide changes in the near future. They could include automated water meter reading, new trash/recycling services with a strong educational component, locating LMI housing neighborhoods and probably others I can’t predict. Keeping our downtown businesses open and vibrant has to be a focus.

If I’m fortunate enough to become mayor, I realize my status in voting and council discussion changes from my current role. That is a change I’m willing to make.

Stretch goals I would like to champion are curbside composting, re-opening the former Interurban trail to Cedar Rapids, and community solar energy installation.

If you are elected, what would you like to see happen during your term of office?

Some major study needs to happen with decisions on the waste/recycling contract, former fire station building, swimming pool planning, and actual start of some LMI housing. An implied goal if I’m mayor is to “keep peace in the valley”. I want our citizens to know we have a mayor but maybe not be able to recognize or even know who that person is.

Where would you like to see more or less money in the city budget spent?

If the City had more money, we could always contribute to more street and sidewalk improvements. Adding buildings to our new Bryant Road site and moving all of Public Works to that site is a need as is remodeling our new police station, getting our police vehicles inside.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Mount Vernon has been very good to my family. We moved here in 1982, intending it to be a two to four year job commitment until relocation to a bigger position. But after a few years, we decided to make this home. I got into parks & recreation and coaching youth sports. We stayed here, engaged here, and it was the best decision for our family.

The mayor role would be another way to continue my service to the community. I’ve received much from Mount Vernon and this role would be another way to pay it back to the community at large.

I’m not afraid to make tough decisions-whether it involves personnel, programs, or capital improvements. I’m willing to engage. The ability to work collaboratively with a wide range of people to get to an accomplished goal is in my skill set. Active listening is needed in this role as is getting back to people on a timely basis and maybe explaining to citizens a decision they don’t agree with. Relationship skills with Cornell, CDG, and the school district will be important. I believe the best governance is less governance.

I feel I have energy for this position. After 27 years of school board governance and six on the Council, I realize there could be many folks in town that I’ve upset at one time or another with some decision but I stand on my past record. I feel that study of my full body of work will find it has been adequate. Past history is a strong indicator of future performance. I ask for your vote for mayor of Mount Vernon on Nov. 2. Please vote. Thank you.

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