IN THEIR OWN WORDS: MAYORAL CANDIDATES SHARE THEIR VISIONS FOR TOWN:   Todd Heitschmidt

My vision for Marion includes attracting new residents and families that would restore the 100 children our school district has lost over the past five years; assisting local businesses to expand and provide new jobs; providing pro-business regulations that encourage new business development; and maintaining, improving, and replacing aging infrastructures that are critical to our future.

Challenges include a declining population; business opportunities which provide local jobs; and a declining tax base. While many other small communities in Kansas and across rural America are facing these same issues, we must diligently work to support our local businesses and seek opportunities to expand local businesses, and provide a friendly environment for new business development. Our opportunities include our schools; hospital; lakes; new business starts; and available business land, buildings, and homes.

To achieve my vision a balance of the following must be achieved — representation of citizens and businesses; taxation and budgeting; managing of water, sewer and electric utilities; police and fire protection; waste management which includes recycling; repair, replacement and maintenance of roads and streets; zoning regulation; and economic development.

We currently have an excellent city staff that has proven their ability to deal with the challenges of today and the needs of tomorrow.

The key to Marion’s future is leadership. I have been fortunate to serve in several leadership positions: Marion Economic Development Inc., current president and founding member; Marion Kiwanis Club, past president; Marion Advancement Campaign Inc., current president; NetWork Kansas, current board member; and St. John’s Lutheran Church, current treasurer.

My guiding leadership philosophy is best stated by Bill Gates, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

I would be honored and have adequate time to serve you as mayor of Marion. Your vote is greatly appreciated!

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