For the past four years, Kathy Ehley has been the face of the Village Business Improvement District. Now she's looking to represent the entire city - as mayor.
For years, she adamantly opposed the idea of going into the political realm, believing she could get more done through other channels, she said. She has lived in Wauwatosa for 42 years and has served on many city, school and community committees.
"I work for my community and get work done," she said.
Her campaign is nonpartisan, as is the position of mayor, Ehley said.
She cites pursuing economic development, updating sewers and infrastructure, and finding efficiencies in city government as critical issues. However, communication between the city and its residents could stand improvement, she said, noting she believes she's got the "proven track record" to shine in that arena.
"If people don't feel they have the information, they'll come to their own conclusion - and it's usually negative," Ehley said.
She has plenty of experience advocating for residents and local businesses, and keeping them apprised of projects that affect them, she said, pointing to her service with the BID, the city's Historic Preservation Commission, the Education Foundation of Wauwatosa, the Neighborhood Association Council Board, the Olde Hillcrest Neighborhood Association, the Wauwatosa Chamber board, the North Avenue master planning committee and the advisory committee for the state Department of Transportation's Zoo Interchange reconstruction project.
"The timing just felt right. My life is in all these different camps. I'm able to bring information forward and connect the dots between them."
A few years ago she started an e-newsletter that provides updates from the city's Engineering Department about road construction projects in the Village. Over time, more than 300 people have subscribed and the content has grown to promote events, provide crime alerts and "create an awareness and pride" for the BID," Ehley said.
If elected, Ehley would have to leave her job as BID executive director, but she said she would continue to promote the Village, as well as the rest of the city.
Ehley is the fourth resident to announce a mayoral bid, following Alderman Peter Donegan and newcomers James Moldenhauer and John Pokrandt. The city will hold a primary election in February to narrow the field to two.
There's still time for additional candidates to enter the race for mayor. Candidacy papers are due Jan. 3.
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