Chris Fiedler

chris_fiedlerCity Commission Candidate Chris Fiedler

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.

All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to and stated that their responses to those questions will be presented as sent to us with no editing.

Today, we wrap up our City Commission Candidate Profiles with Chris Fiedler.

Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the City Commission.

I served as a City Councilman in Oklahoma. Having previously worked in all forms of emergency services, I know what they go through and the things they need including support from their community. As a councilman I was able to bring people together from different areas for the same cause. I worked with different organizations to help raise funds for their cause. The city I served carried an annual budget of 32 Million, solely based on city sales tax and city services. I listen and take into consideration what the community wants and I know how to fight for what’s right.

Voters in this election will be asked if they want to raise the City sales tax by 3⁄4 of a percent to help fund the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and other capital expenditures. If this passes, what specific needs would you recommend that money going towards?

I would ask for a complete review of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and an update. We need to find out just exactly what the citizens want and how to spend their tax dollars. Compare what the community wants to what the city staff has come up with on their list of specific needs. We also need to look into the future 5 to 10 years. (Possibly even 15 to 20 years.) We are asking people to pay more tax, so we need to be very transparent and listen to what the citizens want.

Where do you feel the city is in regards to Economic Development and what would you do in regards to Economic Development in the future?

I have previous experience bringing new businesses into my area. I will build a good rapport with the current business to keep them here. I will make myself available to meet with new business owners looking to locate here and go to meetings with the Commerce Department or wherever I need to be. I have traveled to Nashville to meet with firearms manufacturing wanting to relocate to McAlester and Missouri to meet with an ammunition manufacturer. You have to get out in front of them and sell your city. We have to come up with a set of incentives that are available to current and new businesses. By having a City Commissioner at meetings it shows how serious we are. But, the city needs to consider hiring an Economic Development Director, also possibly an Assistant Director. In some cities they have combined the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development in one group and separate from city offices, in its own location. Economic Development needs to be able to work continuously with our neighbors and state and federal Departments of Commerce. It is easier to grow Economic Development in a community with just one person overseeing it.

The most visible piece of land available for development is the property where the old Nottingham School and Laws Field currently sit, As a City Commissioner, what specifically would you like to see done with this property?

I believe it’s up to the citizens of Eudora what to with it. Something we do not have and I think would be a great addition to Eudora, would be a year round Expo Center. The main hall would be a wide open space where you could hold anything from meetings to weddings to company holiday parties. Make space available to rent and equip the meeting rooms with PA systems and two-way video conferencing. An Expo Center can work and make money as long as it is setup for year round use. We can use green energy to help with heating and cooling and the electric. It would be a big positive for the city and would help grow Economic Development.

What other issues do you think are important that the City Commission should look at?

The city’s infrastructure is the key to success. Schools and school safety is a top priority for our children by providing safe places for walking and not in the streets. The city needs to build bicycle routes to accommodate growing number of bicycle riders to keep them out of the way of traffic. The city needs to take up the possibility of a bus route through Eudora, connecting us to Lawrence and Johnson County. I also feel it an important necessity having an Ambulance stationed in Eudora at all times.

Why do you want to sit on the City Commission?

I lost my mother last year and she was my biggest fan when I was a City Councilman. I feel I can make a difference in the community. I live in Eudora and care about my neighbors and the businesses here. I see Eudora’s potential in growing in the right direction and I would like to be a part of it.

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The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse.  For more information on advance voting, you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting

Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, six candidates are vying for four seats.

We will have more in depth information about polling places as we near Election Day.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Some changes are coming to City Hall.  Three City council positions were up for grabs in today’s election and a handful of candidates were vying for those seats.

Ruth Hughs came away as the leading vote getter, garnering over 400 votes for 28.8% of the vote. She bested the second place candidate Kenny Massey by 140 votes.  The race for the third and final spot was much tighter as John Fiore edged Jerry Trober by 12 votes.

Maria Nelson came in 5th 30 votes behind Trober and Chris Fiedler rounded out the list a distant 6th.

When we asked Hughs about her huge win she said “I can’t believe it. I’m just so humbled and honored to serve the citizens of Eudora. I appreciate all those who lent their support to me.”

John Fiore talked about how he was excited to be added to the City Council. “I appreciate all the voters faith in me. I will work hard to represent the people well.”

Kenny Massey, who decided to move away from the School Board and to the City Council spoke to us and talked about how “this is a new challenge for me and a new perspective.  I’m looking forward to that challenge in the future.”

Incumbent Maria Nelson, who fell short in her bid for a second term, was saddened by the news of the loss but was upbeat about the future. “I’m very happy to have served the last four years.  I’m also very happy to be handing over the reins to a group of great people.”

The newcomer to the race, Chris Fiedler summed up the race and the results  saying “Congratulations to those who won. It was a pleasure to run against everyone and do it in a good, clean race.   I look forward to cotniue being involved in the community in the coming years.”

The new Council should be sworn in at the April 11th City Council meeting.

News and notes about the numbers:

Voter turnout was fair with approximately 15% of the voters casting ballots. The lowest percentage turnout was in Central Eudora with 12.6% of votes cast and the largest was in the north precinct where they has 17.3%.

Jerry Trober tied with Rugh Hughs in the north precinct with 75 votes. Trober’s numbers in the south district were extremely low which knocked him down to 4th place in the race.

Massey had good enough numbers on the West side of town to propel him into second. Massey finished third in the other three precincts.

According to the numbers we have, just under 700 voters turned out for the City Council election. There are just over 4800 registered voters in the city.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Over the coming days we plan on bringing you profiles of the candidates for both Eudora City Council and the Eudora School Board.  We sent out a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them the exact same questions. Their responses to the questions will be printed verbatim.  This is opportunity for you, the reader, to see not only their responses but how they respond.  The questions in the survey came from both editorial board decisions and reader input.

Today, we bring you the profile of Chris Fiedler.

Mr. Fiedler, please tell about your background.

I was born in Wichita, KS and raised in Hutchinson, KS.  I lived in McAlester, OK for 19 yrs and during that time I served as Ward 1 City Councilman in McAlester, OK for 2 ½ yrs. I stepped down to move back to Kansas to be closer to family. I currently work for O’Reilly Auto Parts as a Retail Service Specialist.

What qualifications do you have for a seat on the City Council?

Having previously held a seat on the McAlester Oklahoma City Council, I have experience working on marketing and economic development plans as well as participating in and planning fundraising events. I also have previous experience in the public safety area.

What do you think is the most important issue that faces the City Council?

The budget, we have to make sure that we spend money wisely and have a balanced budget. We also need to research and take advantage of any and all grant or funding opportunities available.

How would you help improve the city budget?

By working with state and federal officials to obtain grants and funding for projects.

Many citizens complain about the water quality in the city. Do you have ideas on how to improve the water conditions?

This is an issue that I have already dealt with in my previous post. I would want to review what has been done so far. Then work with staff on what we need to do next. We need to make sure we have a preventive maintenance program in place and all the proper testing is being done.

Many citizens feel taxes and utility costs are high. What are your opinions on taxes and utility costs?

Unfortunately taxes are a necessary evil; the only tax we can control is the sales tax. We are still in a recession and raising sales tax is out of the question. The experts say it may be another 2 years before we are out of the recession. Utility costs need to be reevaluated every year by city staff and the city council.

What ideas do you have to increase businesses and jobs in Eudora?

By creating public/private partnerships, this is the key to building businesses and employment opportunities. Working with the Department of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce, I will be available to meet with our existing businesses and any business that are considering coming to Eudora.

What other issues do you feel are important to the City Council?

All issues are important to the city council. Every issue has to be looked at very carefully and discuss openly. The public needs to be heard from.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I believe that my experience as a city councilman makes me an ideal candidate. Coming from a bigger city and having already dealt with most of the same issues that are facing Eudora, I can hopefully bring a new prospective to the council. I believe in transparency in city government and want the public to come to every council meeting and be heard. The city belongs to the people and the city council works for the people. Eudora: the undiscovered Jewel of Northeast Kansas.

We will be bringing you the responses from all the candidates over the coming days and week leading up to the election. You will have the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face on March 23rd when The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudorareporter.com co-sponsor our “Meet the Candidates” forum. The forum will begin at 6:30PM. For more information about the forum you can click on this link: http://www.eudorareporter.com/eudora-news-meet-the-candidates/. Election day is Tuesday, April 5th.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

We are now less than 24 hours from the deadline for candidates to file for either School Board or City Council elections this spring.

Today John Fiore, filed for a seat on the City Council. Fiore is a former president of the Eudora Chamber of Commerce who is employed by Knology of Kansas (formerly Sunflower Broadband). Fiore received his MBA in Business Administration in 2010.

This brings the list of candidates to four now. Ruth Hughs, Jerry Trober, and Chris Fiedler previously filed for one of the three positions up for a vote this spring.  There is no official word yet on Maria Nelson, who has stated in the past she intends to run, but as of late this afternoon has yet to file. The filing deadline is Noon Tuesday.

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We are getting down to crunch time for candidates to file for the Municipal elections coming up in April. The filing deadline is Tuesday January 25 at Noon.

Two names were added to the candidate list today.

Joe Pyle has filed for reelection to the Eudora School Board. Pyle is a longtime resident of the city and current sitting Board Member.

A newcomer has thrown his hat into the ring for the Eudora City Council.  Chris Fiedler announced today that he is running for election. Fiedler was born and raised in Kansas. He has served as a City Councilman for two and a half years in Mcalester, Oklahoma.  Fiedler recently returned to Kansas and moved to Eudora in late 2010.

As we get closer to the election, Eudorareporter.com will be doing in depth features on all the candidates running for City Council and for the School Board that are willing to participate.  We will be your one stop source for complete election coverage in Eudora.

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