Just My Opinion – Be Part of the Solution
This evening, July 29th at 6:30 PM, Benfield Wines on Main Street will be hosting another “Meet the Candidates” event for four Swanton residents that will be running for a seat on the Village Council. Each candidate, Derek Kania, Mickey Disbrow, Patrick Messenger and Sam Disbrow will also be soliciting for signatures of registered Village voters for their petition that will place their names on the ballot this November.
Four open seats will be on that ballot. All or none of the individuals who currently hold those seats, Kathy Kreuz, Mike Rochelle, Craig Rose and Tony Stuart may run for reelection as incumbents. Aside from Mr. Stuart, who was appointed to fill a vacancy last year, the other Council members have all served for far longer than a single term of four years. And each of those three ran as incumbents without any opposition in 2017, keeping the old guard in place and maintaining the progress-inhibiting status quo.
Hoping to bring economic growth to Swanton as a solution to combat rising prices and the need for higher taxes, Neil Toeppe ran against Mayor Ann Roth in 2019 and denied Mayor Roth a third consecutive term by a significant margin. The Swanton constituency had spoken and sent the message that it was time for a change to a forward-thinking direction.
Unfortunately, led by Council President Rose, the Village Council pushed back against the will of the Swanton voters and enacted legislation to minimize the authority of Mayor Toeppe and prevent any of his initiatives from not only being realized but also from being seriously considered.
It was those kinds of power-grabbing, progress-hindering, self-serving actions by the Council as a whole that triggered a grass roots movement by a number of community residents and business owners; a movement to be part of the solution. It is a movement that will not just put new names on the ballot to give the voters actual choices, but also to enact legislation on economic development and transparency in government that the Council has denied time and time again since Mayor Toeppe took office.
Along with the candidates and their petitions, Swanton resident John Schmidt will be in attendance with a petition to create an ordinance to form an all-volunteer Economic Development Commission and another petition to create an ordinance to live-stream all Village Council meetings to the public. When a community is compelled to circumvent its legislative body to fulfill its needs, it speaks volumes as to how unresponsive that legislative body has been to the people it has been empowered by to serve.
Tonight, is a great opportunity to learn about four potential leaders of this community, who they are, what they stand for and what their vision is for the Village. When you go to the polls this November it will allow you to make an informed decision. We have seen, for many years, what the current Council’s vision is for Swanton. I would describe it as short-sighted, at best.
One thing I firmly believe is “status quo” is actually a myth. Nothing is static. Certainly not an entire community. You either move forward or you fall backward. Backward is a problem. Forward is a solution. Be part of the solution.