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Four want two spots on April ballot for District 1 in De Pere

By Press Times Staff

DE PERE – Four people are running in the Feb. 18 primary election for two spots on the general election ballot in April for De Pere city council District 1.

Current District 1 Alderman James Boyd is not seeking reelection.

Boyd is running unopposed this spring for mayor.

Those seeking his council seat are Randy Soquet, Ted Keneklis, Joshua Errer and Shana Defnet-Ledvina.

Soquet lost the 2019 election for District 1 to Amy Chandik Kundinger by 302 votes.

The top two vote-getters Feb. 18 will advance to the April 7 general election.

District 1 in De Pere covers the majority of the downtown Broadway area.

The Press Times emailed each candidate the same three questions and gave them 100 words to respond to each.

Randy Soquet

Why should people vote for you?

As a De Pere resident for 20 years, I have been an active voice for the residents of District 1.

I understand our city’s accomplishments and look forward to being a part of its continued growth and development.

My five years as a member of the De Pere Park Board included responding to citizen concerns regarding the future of Legion Pool.

I worked with residents to create a plan that developed a vision for a new Legion Pool. I am a fiscally responsible steward of the taxpayer’s dollars.

District 1 De Pere
Randy Soquet

What is the biggest issue facing De Pere?

The biggest issue facing De Pere is continued growth in ways that attract families, visitors and businesses.

There are several ways to accomplish this: address the roundabout issue on the east side of the bridge; attract more retail businesses; create attractions, such as the cultural arts district, to draw more visitors; fill our industrial parks with businesses to foster employment and economic growth; and prioritize city expenditures within the budget constraints.

How will you help to continue the growth of the downtown?

I will work with Definitely De Pere and the Chamber to develop riverfront activities to better utilize the beautiful Fox River, attracting visitors to the downtown.

I will encourage economic policy that fosters more restaurants to locate in the downtown.

I support the creation of the cultural arts district.

The city has a number of master plans that have been researched and now is the time to enact those plans.

Ted Keneklis

Why should people vote for you?

I’m a semi-retired university instructor who facilitates human and environmental science courses.

I have lived in Brown County since 1983, working for Wisconsin Public Service at the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant as an educator.

I have two sons; one works in De Pere and the other is raising his family in Chicago.

I’m a board member of the Civic Symphony of Green Bay and have been president of the Northeast Wisconsin chapter of American Society of Training and Development as well as Vice President of Scholarship Inc.

I have also served as treasurer for various volunteer organizations and church groups.

Ted Keneklis

What’s the biggest issue in the City of De Pere?

De Pere is blessed with hard-working people, thriving industry, abundant water, and premier educational institutions.

These factors have worked together to bring a sustainable economy that is family friendly.

My priority is the southern bridge that will cross the Fox River linking the west and east sections of Brown County.

This bridge and infrastructure will increase land development for new homes and industry in De Pere; best of all it will decrease traffic in De Pere.

How will you help to continue the growth of downtown?

I will work to make sure that De Pere receives its fair share of road improvements, repairs and construction and assist in the development of the new cultural arts district.

I will bring my skills, business acumen and knowledge to help the De Pere community.

Joshua Errer

Why should people vote for you?

As the father of four young children, I have a desire for them to grow up in a diverse community that provides public spaces for physical activity, exploration of the arts and shopping and dining experiences within walkable distances of our residential areas.

As De Pere continues to support a great park system and is working to develop the downtown arts district, I would like to be a part of that process, representing the concerns of my district, as De Pere builds on its heritage and looks to the future.

District 1 De Pere
Joshua Errer

What’s the biggest issue in the City of De Pere?

The biggest issue in the City of De Pere is maintaining an active downtown that also respects its historical nature and appeal.

It is important to support the development of the arts district with a variety of businesses, including restaurants, retail, public spaces and community events that will draw both residents and non-residents alike to enjoy the beauty of our community.

How will you help to continue the growth of downtown?

Key to the growth of the downtown will be the engagement of the residents who live within our city.

It is important for residents to have their concerns heard by local officials and to encourage them to participate in all that is offered in our community.

Without residents actively utilizing the amenities of the downtown area, there is little incentive for business leaders to continue to develop and invest in that district.

Drawing people downtown for leisure activities and organized events increases the likelihood that residents will shop local and support those who live in their community.

Shana Defnet-Ledvina

Why should people vote for you?

Communication. As De Pere clerk-treasurer for seven years, I am knowledgeable in all aspects of city government.

As a resident, I am passionate about De Pere for the same reasons you are: historic downtown, great restaurants and shops, beautiful neighborhoods and parks and excellent schools, to name a few.

I am committed to community engagement and being a voice for District 1 residents at the council level.

I also hope to find new ways to engage residents in thoughtful decision making.

Please contact me at [email protected] or 920-333-1663.

I look forward to talking with you.

District 1 De Pere
Shana Defnet-Ledvina

What’s the biggest issue in the City of De Pere?

Growth is critical for De Pere to continue to be a quality-of-life leader.

But growth also comes with a nervousness that our community may lose the small-town feel that is authentically De Pere.

I know we can have both and believe that actively listening to residents, business owners and community leaders will help achieve both goals while forwarding projects like the Mulva Cultural Center.

We also need to work collectively to address traffic on Broadway and Main and further the southern bridge project in order to improve traffic congestion and pedestrian safety and connectivity.

How will you help to continue the growth of downtown?

Our family loves living here and spending time in downtown De Pere.

A healthy downtown is key to a strong community, and it’s critical we pay special attention to downtown De Pere.

The Cultural District Master Plan sets a vision that promotes growth while maintaining the city’s historic character, and city leaders must make the plan a reality.

We need to proactively plan for the increase in visitors and activity that will come from the Mulva Cultural Center.

We also need to support public infrastructure and events that expand the rich experience residents and visitors enjoy in our historic city.

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