Over the next several weeks, leading up to the April 7 elections for Marshfield City Council and School Board, Hub City Times will interview the candidates running for those offices so that readers may learn more about who is running and what they stand for. This week we interviewed the City Council incumbent for District 6, Char Smith, and her challenger, Rich Reinart.
Hub City Times: Why are you running?
Char Smith: Because I want the sixth district represented on the city council with a voice that’s theirs. As an
independent, non-political city citizen, I think I can bring a perspective of being a taxpayer. I’m representing my taxpayer district constituents.
HCT: Is there a single biggest issue that’s facing Marshfield that you hope to work on in your next term?
CS: When I was elected by the city council last March, first part of April, to take over the vacated seat from Russ Stauber, what I said was I was very interested in the fairgrounds because … our (Smith’s) property is adjacent to the fairgrounds and I would like to see the fairgrounds utilized more year-round.
It’s a big area and has a lot of potential, and I see it being vacant much of the year. So that’s one of my priorities is to have that become a more viable part of the city. I’m also on the fair commission. I was appointed to that, and so that’s part of what I want to do.
HCT: Being on the council, what do you think the council itself needs to do better in order to better serve the city of Marshfield?
CS: I think what the city needs to better is to pay attention to the checks and balances that are supposed to exist in any kind of governmental entity. That’s the basis of our governmental structure. I think that needs to be paid attention to more.
I also think there needs to be more transparency in how the city is run.
Hub City Times: Why are you running?
Rich Reinart: Right now I serve on the Parks and Rec committee, and I’m also on the (City) Plan Commission, so
I’ve been exposed to it a little bit, and I’ve enjoyed it. I guess it’s another way to get involved or to be more involved. … If I don’t do it, who would?
HCT: Is there a single big issue or biggest issue that is facing the city that if elected you hope to work on?
RR: There isn’t at this time.
To give you one thing, Hefko Pool is something that, it’s been getting older and older. Being on the Parks and Rec (committee) we talk about the pool a lot because we’ve been lucky in that it hasn’t needed much maintenance, but it’s really old, and that’s something that gets expensive when you look at getting a new pool or an aquatic center. Not that that’s a hot topic on the city level right now, no one’s really talking about it, but I think it’s something that I would definitely be open to talking about. …
I’m not a real gloom and doom kind of person. I think the city has been pretty well run and I just would like to continue that.
HCT: What do you think qualifies you to be a member of the city council?
RR: Right now I work for Lamar Advertising, and my position there is as a real estate manager. So to kind of give you some background, I’m the one that works with the land owners when it comes to a lot of where the signs are located. That land is leased, and then we put a sign there and then hopefully potential advertisers use it.
My degree from Stevens Point … is in public relations, and it fits right along with what I do at Lamar. For instance, if we need permits at Lamar, … I’m the one that goes in front of the plan commission or city council, so I’ve got experience working with (city government) on that side of it.
I work with people every day. I work with the public. I think that’s important if you’re going to be an alderperson. A lot of it is listening. You obviously make decisions and vote on things, but a lot of it is that I’m very used to listening and working with people and answering the questions they have. I think I would do a good job of communicating and working with the people in our district.