My name is Ken Otwaska and I am running for Mt. Pleasant Village Board of Trustees for seat #2 in the spring election. I would like to tell you a bit about myself and why I have decided to run for office.
- I am a lifetime resident of Mount Pleasant.
- I have been married to my wife, Carol, for 50 years.
- We have two sons and are grandparents of two.
- I have been a Mt. Pleasant home owner for 50+ years and reside in the Lake Park neighborhood.
I retired from from Case IH after 30 years of service – from 1962 to 1992. I was a charter member of the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department from June 1964 to 1988 and EMT from 1976 to 1988. I volunteered for Mount Pleasant recreation for 15 years and currently volunteer as a MS walker.
My decision to run for trustee was in the beginning mostly about village trustee apathy and poor planning of fire/rescue services in many areas of Mt. Pleasant.
For more than 2 years, I spoke regularly at Village Board of Trustee meetings during public comments and tried to have my concerns addressed. With only 3 minutes to speak and no interaction allowed between the public and trustees, my concerns did nothing to create change. The village closed the Lake Park fire station and emergency response times have risen dramatically.
My opponent, Rick McCluskey, ran for village trustee in 2014. He claimed to be “flabbergasted” by emergency response times and promised to order a study of fire department coverage in Mt. Pleasant to see how the deficiencies could be addressed.
Two years later, Rick McCluskey has done nothing.
Having been a firefighter for 25 years and a charter member of the Mt. Pleasant fire department – I know a critical response time is the difference between life and death. Not just for me and my family, but for all residents of Mt. Pleasant.
Emergency response has been the main reason I have attended board meeting after board meeting, year in and year out, but my interest has turned into something bigger.
As a village, we have spent millions of dollars on the Pike River pathway, while residents wait longer for rescue. Mt. Pleasant has fewer fire stations while trustees give the Village Administrator a 31% raise in salary and 6 month “golden parachute” deals to fired village department heads.
The ability for residents and taxpayers to raise concerns to trustees has diminished over the last few years and we need to do better. These are the issues that have compelled me to run for office this spring. Mt. Pleasant residents deserve elected officials who will listen and act. The safety of our community will always be my first priority and I will never turn my back to that sacred responsibility.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Election days are: Tuesday, February 16th – Primary & Tuesday, April 5th – General Election
Contact Ken Otwaska by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Ken-Otwaska-1214843038544905/