GLENDALE - The three candidates vying to represent Glendale's first aldermanic district would have different priorities if elected to the Glendale Common Council.
The candidates running in the Feb. 21 primary election are 20-year incumbent Robert Whitaker, political newcomer Monica L. Parkes and Tomika Vukovic, a member of the Glendale-River Hills School Board and Glendale Plan Commission. The top two vote-getters in the Feb. 21 election will advance to the general election on April 4.
The primary election will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 21 at North Shore Library. In-person absentee voting will be held through Feb. 16 at Glendale City Hall. A map of Glendale's aldermanic districts and other voting information can be found at glendale-wi.org.
To help inform voters about the candidates, the North Shore Now asked them to answer the following three questions in 50 words or less.
Why are you running for alderman?
Whitaker: I am an experienced candidate and I believe my experience can help me provide the best service to First District residents.
Parkes: It is time for elected officials to be more engaged with the public. Time and again, we see municipal incumbents running unopposed. Contested races keep our community involved and our officials honest. As alderwoman, I will maintain an ongoing dialogue with our entire community.
Vukovic: I am responsive, innovative and listen to people. Serving on the school board and planning commission have highlighted for me community needs and development opportunities. By engaging the people in my district and the larger Glendale community, I can work to give voice to residents and improve our city.
What do you think is the most important issue facing the city of Glendale, and what do you think should be done to address that issue?
Whitaker: The most important issue facing Glendale residents is the protection of property along the Milwaukee River during and after removal of the Estabrook Dam. We must make sure riparian rights are maintained and property values are protected. This issue affects all of Glendale, not only those residing on the river.
Parkes: Safety is a concern for neighborhoods in the first district, especially theft and reckless driving. Reducing speed limits on our main roads is an easy way to reduce traffic accidents. I want to strengthen community policing and neighborhood dialogue to reduce property crimes.
Vukovic: Sources of new revenue. Because of state levy limits, we have to find innovative ways to bring new revenue to the city and alleviate the burden on homeowners. Small businesses and new developments will increase our tax base and allow the city to pursue improvements to quality of life.
What areas of the city budget deserve highest priority, in your opinion?
Whitaker: We must make sure we adequately fund police, fire and emergency medical services. In addition, we must continue to maintain and repair our streets and alleys.
Parkes: Skyrocketing health insurance costs and state regulations on tax levies have left our first-responders under staffed. Economic redevelopment can close the gap without undue burden on residents. As we continue to grow, I will work to ensure that women- and minority-owned businesses receive equal opportunity for municipal contracts.
Vukovic: Glendale has some blighted areas and some serious environmental concerns. I want to work with developers and city leaders to foster redevelopment that will beautify Glendale, clean up our environment, and bring in additional tax revenue to fund city projects.
Address: 5350 N. Navajo Avenue; Glendale homeowner 39 years
Occupation: Retired, previous vice president at NN Insurance Group
Education: BA, Journalism, UW-Milwaukee
Political history: Alderman since 1997
Monica L. Parkes
Address: 4909 N. Mohawk
Occupation: Engagement Consultant, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast
Education: Associate of Arts from MATC (Accounting); Bachelor of Arts from UW-Milwaukee (Political Science and Economics)
Political history: I am a newcomer to politics.
Address: 5442 N Iroquois Avenue
Occupation: Accounting Manager
Education: Concordia University Wisconsin/ University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Political history: Currently member of the Glendale-River Hills School Board
Phone number: 414-322-7247
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org