Kristine Preiser: 2021 candidate for Mettawa village board
Six candidates are running for three trustee seats on the Mettawa village board.
Occupation: Veterinarian, self-employed
Civic involvement: Active participant of regular Village Board and Committee meetings; resident in opposition of proposed Mettawa zoning ordinance by existing board; volunteer medical director of local animal shelter (11 years); volunteer soccer coach (21 years); wildlife biologist for the reintroduction of wolves in the Grand Tetons; wilderness firefighter in Northwest Montana (2 years)
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: Strong, positive leadership is paramount in a crisis, let alone in a pandemic. An effective leader of Mettawa will have to ask the difficult questions at times in order to ensure that the greater good of the residents is prioritized. That can mean that some residents will not always be happy with the actions of the village and could even go against my personal preferences. The focus of government should always be creating and enacting policy that serves the most people possible. After a year of the pandemic, I see part of my role as future Village Trustee helping our residents get vaccinated for COVID. I believe our priority as Village government is to ensure the utmost safety and well-being for our residents. This would include establishing a better informational presence to direct residents to information on the pandemic, the best websites to register for a vaccine appointment, providing solutions for potential difficulties establishing transportation to these appointments, and ensuring these solutions follow state and federal guidelines, when those guidelines are sensible.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Mettawa is primarily residential but we do have some businesses and I know we all have had our struggles through the pandemic. I believe we should have responded quickly and ensured everyone in Mettawa had adequate PPE and supplies. Some people lost their jobs so finding a way to give Village financial support to those that especially needed it would be impactful to the actual well-being of residents. In our small town, we could implement a program to help with child care. Basic "checking on our neighbor attitude" implementation. As a constant problem solver myself in my business, I can help prepare the village for the future and plan for future pandemics or crises.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: I strongly believe developing a network system in our Village would really help any future public health crises. We should develop a network of medical professionals and ensure not only the physical health of our residents is safe, but also care for the mental health of our residents.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Mettawa is already very "light-handed" in the burden to our residents. Continuing and strengthening our tax rebate program, or even removing the waiting period before receiving those rebates is likely the best way to help our residents.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: Our road system is well maintained. We should upgrade our village wide broadband capability and provide access to Lake Michigan water throughout the entire village. A village solar program is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately, and I think that that could be really interesting to help make our village even more green than it already is.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: The businesses in Mettawa have adhered to the governor's orders and I think have done a great job. Some have helped with the pandemic at a national level. I'm proud of our businesses!
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: This is an issue I strongly believe is something I would ask my residents' opinions on as recreational marijuana is a topic of national and state level.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: As a future Village Trustee my team and I are passionate about initiating a "Virtual Village" program. This would enhance our ability as a village Board to be transparent and most importantly, help our residents to get more involved in sharing their opinions, concerns and needs. Communication and Transparencies should be the pillars of our mission to reach out to and listen to the will of the residents. Through this pandemic, I've attended village Board and committee meetings through Zoom, enabling me to be involved and express my thoughts without me having to attend in person. Even those residents that don't have a concern to express can listen to it and be aware of the issues our Village is resolving. I'd also like to contribute to implementing a solar farm to Mettawa to help decrease our energy costs as a Village.