Menomonee Falls — There will be two new faces on the Menomonee Falls Village Board come April as six nonincumbents vie for two seats.
Chris Rolenc, Michael McDonald and Katie Kress are running for Seat No. 1 on the Village Board that is currently held by Sharon Ellis. Chris Smolik, Tim Newman and Kevel Anderson are running for Seat No. 2, a vacant seat.
Here's a brief background on the candidates:
Kress, who works as a quality software test analyst, is new to running for political office. Kress has worked in the IT field since 2001 and is a longtime volunteer at her church. She has served on four different mission trips around the world.
She said she would bring her analytical skills to the board.
"I use a lot of analytical skills to do my job and I feel that the combination of having a passion for the topic of political science along with having the analytical skills that are highly tuned and developed that would be great to use in a decision making position because I do that every day in my current job," she said.
McDonald previously served as a village trustee for 23 years. He was on the Falls Plan Commission for 21 years and served as chairman five of those years. He was also on the Public Works Committee, overseeing the main functions of village services.
McDonald said the board needs someone with extensive experience, who knows the history of the village and how things have been and are being developed. With his history in the village, he says he would fill that void.
"I've championed the concept of high quality, low density development, while at the same time providing them the services that were lacking in areas," he said.
Rolenc works as a project engineer in the advanced engineering group at Saragraft. He has served on the Falls Plan Commission since 2009 and the Architectural Control Board since 2012. He decided to take his public service a step further after people told him he would be a good addition to the Village Board.
"I'm pretty analytical and I look at things with a different perspectives than a lot of people," he said.
He added that he makes sure he researches every item on the Plan Commission agenda, such as taking an in-depth look at the packet, or driving out to the site of a potential development.
"I think I would be pretty approachable with people if they have an issue or want to talk about village issues or anything," he said.
Anderson, a manager of manufacturing operations, has made Menomonee Falls his home, with his wife and three children, who attend the Falls School District.
Because he plans to live in Falls for many years, he said he decided to run for trustee to make a positive difference in the lives of the people in the village.
"I believe it's a great opportunity for me to serve the people of the village," he said. "My intention is to really understand what concerns the people and the village and primarily I want to use my knowledge and my energy to make Menomonee Falls a great place to live in for the next generations coming up."
Newman is a lifelong resident of Menomonee Falls and business owner of manufacturing companies. He sits on the CDA board, as well as the Plan Commission. Newman belongs to Kiwanis and the Falls Optimist Club, at one point serving as its president.
He started on the CDA eight years ago because of his interest in turning around blighted areas in the village, such as Main Street and the new Falls Parkway.
"My conviction was to clean these areas up and our downtown area," he said. "The reason I am involved is because I am passionate about Menomonee Falls. It's my life. We've been very fortunate to grow up here, we have many successes because of it. I want to make sure the future is bright for the next generations as it was for me."
His brother, Randy Newman, is the current village president.
Smolik works as a systems and financial analyst for KHS USA. He has lived in Falls for 14 years.
"I wanted to run because I felt that in the past the Village Board hasn't been as representative of the people that I felt they should be and I wanted to be a voice for the people and a conservative voice and represent the people who elect me, if I get elected," Smolik said.
With two school-aged children, Smolik has been involved in the Parent Teacher Association at Willow Springs School and is on the finance committee at Brookfield Christian School.
He said if elected, his door will always be open as he will put the residents first.
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