Clarion’s candidates for mayor answer questions


Clarion Mayoral candidates Rod Heiden (left) and Shayne Hennigar. Photos provided

 

There are two candidates running for Clarion mayor in the upcoming election on November 2. Incumbent mayor Duane Asbe is not running for reelection. The Monitor invited candidates Rod Heiden and Shayne Hennigar to answer a few questions ahead of the election. Their responses are reproduced below in their entirety with little to no editing.

Check the Monitor throughout the next couple of weeks for the Clarion council candidates’ questionnaires.

 

Rod Heiden

Why are you running for Clarion mayor?

I decided to run for Mayor to try to make a difference. I feel there have been a lot of poor decisions made over the last decade and I would like to do my part to help bring life back into our community.

What background or skill set do you have that makes you qualified to be mayor?

I have lived in Clarion since 1986. I have a Management Information Systems degree with a minor in accounting  from Buena Vista University. I have been a department manager for a large cooperative for 21 years. I have experience with budgeting, asset & inventory control, as well as employee management. I have been an EMT for Clarion Ambulance Service since 2006 and have been in charge of the Wright County Search and Rescue since it was created in 2005. I was a Reserve Police officer for Clarion from 2005-2008 and switched to the Wright County Sheriff’s office reserve program from 2008-present. I am also a Mason and a Shriner.

What do you feel are the biggest issues facing Clarion today?

I feel the biggest issues with Clarion today are our struggling downtown area, lack of childcare options, affordable housing shortage, as well as our deteriorating streets

What does the city need to do to address those issues and how would you help in that effort?

In order to address this issue, we need to give people a reason to go downtown again. Covid has made it too easy to just buy online and avoid contact with everyone. The farmers market helps attract people downtown in the mornings, but that is a seasonal event. Fuel does an excellent job of bringing people in for poker runs as well as evening entertainment. I would like to see the return of music in the park and maybe a few more street dances as well. I would like to see one of our downtown dining establishments open for breakfast again to help draw people to the main street area.

If you are elected, what are your three biggest goals for your term?

My biggest goal would be to make sure the City is more financially sound with a thriving business district. I don’t have a personal agenda per say, just hoping to improve our city.

 

Shayne Hennigar

Why are you running for Clarion mayor?

           I have worked for city government for more than 20 years.  I have seen some great mayors.  I feel the mayor is the heart of the community.  The mayor must be a sound leader for the community.  As your next mayor, I will never give up.  I will always place the citizens’ needs first.  I love this community and want to see this community grow again.

What background or skill set do you have that makes you qualified to be mayor?

           I have served in several different positions within the community over the years.  From serving this great community as a patrolman to sergeant to the assistant chief of police.  I have trained many of the EMTs that continue to serve our great community.  I started my small cleaning company that has grown to servicing three states and fortune 500 companies.  This community needs a strong mayor that will lead us to growth with the understanding that not all people are the same.  The needs of some people, or businesses, are more than the needs of others.  We as leaders must show compassion for our fellow people of the community.  The mayor must not be afraid to stand up and defend others if the need arises.  He/she must be a salesman for the community when dealing with new business opportunities and development.  The mayor is the voice of the people.

What do you feel are the biggest issues facing Clarion today?

           The declining tax base.  We have lost a lot of businesses and buildings in the past years hurting the growth of the community.  Every time we lose a business from retirement or simply closing the doors, our community fails to grow.  Every time we take down a building, it lessens the tax base.  We must have a plan to replace that home, building, or business sooner rather than later in order to continue to expand.  There are lots in town that have been empty for numerous years. 

What does the city need to do to address those issues and how would you help with that effort?

           We must find a way to build new businesses and help the existing businesses to grow.  I feel I can make that happen by developing a committee for growth.  Business owners from the community would come together and strive for the same goals.  Education is the key to success.  This city has some great business experience that could be shared to assist with issues we face.  Some people may believe that this is what the Chamber is supposed to do, but I believe it’s a job for all of us.  The Chamber will be encouraged to be a part of this committee.  We must use the resources we have to build the future.  Education for the public and our business owners is the key.

Multifamily housing and small home building will help the housing issue that our community is facing.  We have the new White Fox development area, now it’s time to develop a multifamily housing area. 

We need to reach out to our graduating classes and find the enticements needed for these young people to start their own businesses in their own community.  We have room for more doctors, lawyers, electricians, plumbers, etc.

If you are elected, what are your three biggest goals for your term?

  1. Continue to discuss and have the city administrator continue to talk to developers to build multifamily housing.  We need housing that the young working class can afford.
  2. Start looking for businesses that are searching for a new place to call home.  I have been talking to two established businesses that are actively looking for a new home to expand.  We need to promote a service driven industry to our community.  This kind of business tends to grow faster than the typical retail type business and most are considered essential to our economy.  If you have a strong service industry, the retail business will automatically grow with it. 
  3. Continue to work on our water plant.  This has been in the works for quite some time now.  Our roads need to be fixed and, in some cases, finished.  We have some roads within our community that continue to be gravel.  I want to see more than a 5- or 10-year plan.  I would like to see a 50-year plan for our infrastructure.  We need to work more with tourism and have more to offer in terms of things to do, things like Festival in the Park and the Truck Show.  I have been working on having a BBQ cook off on Main Street in the future.  

On a personal note, I would like to thank Mayor Duane Asbe for his dedication to our great community.  I hear he has served our community for 25 years. 

 

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