Meet the candidates: Hoffman, Parker share why they should be mayor

Staff Writer

Election day is approaching and for residents in New Bremen that means electing a new mayor. After 16 years as mayor, Jeff Pape announced earlier this year that he won’t be seeking re-election and on Aug. 26, the two candidates running for his spot were confirmed to be Bob Parker and Craig Hoffman.

Parker is currently serving on village council and has been doing so since Jan. 1, 2014.

If elected, he said he wants to focus on housing needs, specifically more options for senior citizens, more entry-level housing options and the addition of more land. He also wants to continue to explore resource sharing options with Minster and New Knoxville for equipment that is not used daily and EMS services.

Parker also wants to ensure that taxes remain low by being fiscally responsible with taxpayer money as well as continue to work on developing formal budgets for each department and work with the school to ensure they maintain an, “excellent campus.”

“One of the biggest reasons people choose a community is because of their schools and we have an excellent one,” he said in a release.

In the same release, Parker said he was running for council because he has enjoyed being involved in the community since he moved there in 2002. He volunteered to be a member of the EMS team where he gained leadership roles that introduced him to of the members serving on council. From there he decided to expand his community involvement role and run for council.

“The current mayor is retiring after twenty years of dedicated service and it is time for someone else to step up to fill the role,” the release says. “I feel as though my past experiences and leadership abilities can make me successful in this endeavor.”

Over the last six year, Parker and the council has been successful in building a new public works and EMS/police building, purchasing new vehicles for village use and develop a rotation schedule to have each vehicle placed every three years, adding the K-9 unit to the police department, approve a location for the construction of the new electric substation on the north side of the village and approve the hiring of Village Administrator Chirs Dicke and Police Chief Mike Skinner.

Outside of the village, he is involved with his church Holy Redeemer Parish, where he serves as an usher, on the parish council and is a member of the finance committee and renovation committee. He is also a bus driver for the school district for extracurricular events, was a member of the New Bremen Levy Committee and is CFO for Waibel Energy Systems in Vandalia.

Hoffman had a 12-year run on village council that began in 2004. When he first started on council, his goal had been to become the next mayor. When former Mayor Robert Kline decided to step down, Hoffman decided to take his shot at the governing position.

The position went to Pape but after a councilor was transferred out of state for work, he was appointed to their position.

For the next 12 years, he served on council winning two re-elections, and served as the chairman for the parks department. According to Hoffman, the installation of the Komminsk Legacy Park behind the library happened while he was serving as the chair of the department.

If he were to be elected mayor, Hoffman wants to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly for the village.

Although he has not been on council for four years, Hoffman said he still manages to stay up to date on what is going on in the village through checking the council minutes on the village’s website, listening to comments from other residents and talking to employees for the village.

He said that during his time on council he made connections with village employees and as the current owner of the longest running business in New Bremen — Hoffman Decorating — he is no stranger to the people of New Bremen.

He hopes that because of his position as a business owner, he has made himself an easy person for residents to talk to and voice any concerns or comments they have about what is going on in New Bremen.

Going forward, he said that each Sunday until the election he can be found at the local Wendy’s — 440 S. Washington St. — from noon to 1 p.m. for residents to talk and ask him questions.