From council member to mayor. That is the goal for Brenda Pautsch and Carl Wetzel who are the two candidates who filed for the Gaylord Mayor post.
Combined, Pautsch and Wetzel have served nearly three decades on the Gaylord City Council. They are seeking the post currently held by Doug Quast who will soon be completing his third two-year term as Gaylord Mayor.
Pautsch and Wetzel recently responded to a questionnaire distributed by The Gaylord Hub. Below are summaries of their responses.
Brenda Pautsch is no stranger to City government as she has served on the Gaylord City Council since 1993. She has worked with various city committees during that time and helped secure the grant which ultimately created the senior citizens center.
Paying attention to changing demographics and planning for the future. Pautsch believes those are the major issues facing the City of Gaylord. She noted that the number of people age 65 or older is expected to double in the next 25 years, and all areas will see an increase in the Latino population.
Pautsch said she is excited about the collaboration between the county and cities studying the feasibility of fiber-to-the-home technology. She believes expanded bandwidth could have a tremendous impact on economic development, could reduce costs, and provide better service for residents. It is also an example of how we can work together and mutually benefit, Pautsch explained.
Street projects must continue to be among priorities for Gaylord, according to Pautsch. She would also like to see the City develop a sidewalk and street lighting policy. A community oriented policing where the community and police work together is also an interest for Pautsch. She believes that would be cost effective and says it’s an ideal concept for small communities.
If elected, Pautsch would push for creating long-term and sustainable strategies to address budget priorities. The City will have to come up with new revenue sources or make cuts, Pautsch explained. She said she is running for mayor so that we as a council are deliberate in considering both the short and the long term impact of the decisions we make today on how to best address the needs of all the residents in the City.
Pautsch works as the Drug Court Manager for the Fifth Judicial District in Mankato. In that position, she works on collaboration, funding and policy development with multiple and diverse agencies. Pautsch has also worked as a probation supervisor in Blue Earth County and a probation agent with the MN Department of Corrections in Sibley and McLeod Counties.
Carl Wetzel has served on the Gaylord City Council since 2002 but the former professional hockey player has been involved with city projects for more than a decade.
For nearly twenty years, Wetzel and his wife Claudia have maintained two gardens by the park bandshell. Wetzel later volunteered for a position on the planning and zoning board and he also joined the Gaylord park board in the late 1990’s.
Since being a City Council member, Wetzel has served as a liaison to numerous committees. He was also a member of the Minnesota Design Team committee and currently serves on the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center task force.
Wetzel says he is proud to have been on a City Council that has seen Gaylord grow in a positive way. He highlighted projects such as the Oak Terrace Health Care Center of Gaylord, the new emergency services building, the senior center, and $8 million worth in street and utility improvements. Wetzel noted that all of these projects and more were accomplished with Gaylord having the second lowest tax rate in Sibley County through 2010. He also stated that great community support and volunteer work by the citizens have made all of the projects possible.
If elected, Wetzel said his goal as mayor would be to help position the City of Gaylord to be ready for positive growth that is sure to follow when the economy becomes stronger. With all the additions to the City, we are in a position to attract businesses and home buyers which would lower the tax burden for all of us, Wetzel explained. “I look forward to being a part of City government at that time,” he said.
Wetzel and his wife moved to Gaylord in 1992. They have three adult children and ten grandchildren.
Before moving to town, Wetzel played professional and international hockey for 18 years. He later was an on-the-road sports clothing equipment salesman in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
After moving to Gaylord, Wetzel worked out of his home selling advertising specialty products to corporations throughout the United States.