Candidate Details His Goals
Explore Superior remains a neutral reporter of all candidates for public office, and will continue to present their platforms and stances on issues as presented to us without bias.
The following statement was sent to us by the Brent Fennessey for Mayor campaign and is reprinted here verbatim. We have previously published similar articles detailing profiles and platforms of Jim Paine and Kalee Hermanson. We encourage and welcome Mike Herrick to send us his platform and statement as well.
About Brent Fennessey
• Candidate for Mayor of Superior
• Current City Councilor for the 5th district
• Lifelong resident of Superior
• Graduate of Superior High School
• Graduate from WITC-Superior with a degree as a Micro-Computer Specialist
• Personal Lines Manager for Otis-Magie Insurance Agency in Duluth.
• Married to wife of 12 years, Ashely
• Father of three girls, Ava (10), Nora (8), and Ailey (5)
- Actively serves on several committees through the Superior City Council
- Superior Tourism and Development Board
- Superior Public Museums Board
- License & Fees Committee
- Health Insurance Committee
- Current Head of the Lakes United Way board member
- 2017 Superior Days Lobby Leader
- Past President and current member of the Superior Jaycees
- Awarded “Outstanding Young Superiorite Award” by Superior Jaycees
- Past board member and co-founder of Superior Young Professionals (SYP)
- Previous Plan Commissioner for the city of Superior.
- Recent graduate of Superior Citizen’s Police Academy
- Graduate of the Leadership Superior/Douglas County Program
- Active member of North Bay Community Church
Why he is running for mayor
“After my election to the city council, the idea of running for mayor was always in the forefront of my mind. With the most recent news of Mayor Hagen resigning early, it simply sped up those plans. I firmly believe the next mayor of Superior needs to have drive, passion, energy, dedication, new ideas, but most importantly leadership. I have proven myself in my career as a leader, proven myself in my community as a leader, and proven myself as a leader as a city councilor. I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I have what it takes to move this city forward.
As a lifelong resident, I received my high school and secondary education from Superior. But I was anxious to move on, and took the first job offer I had in the Twin Cities. It took moving away to really appreciate everything Superior has. My wife and I lasted no more than 9 months before moving back home to Superior. It was then that I realized if Superior was going to be my home and the place we would raise our family in, I would pour myself into this community, doing what I can to improve it. I joined various non-profit boards and got active in local government. In an effort to help retain and connect young professionals, a group of us created Superior Young Professionals (SYP), and the organization is still going strong today. Running for City Council was the next logical step for me where I felt I could make the biggest impact for our community. It’s my desire to see the best for Superior that made the decision to run for mayor an easy decision. “
Fennessey’s Mayoral Platform
- A strong city government fosters an economic, tax and regulatory climate that encourages the private sector to create new jobs. The city has a responsibility to encourage and work with businesses to fill empty storefronts while ensuring current industries thrive in their present locations.
- The Better City Superior Project will demonstrate to job creators that Superior is a vibrant place for their employees to live and raise families. At the same time, this project will create a better future for the residents of Superior while making Superior a premier destination to visit.
- A long-term economic vision must be created, and promoted to current and potential businesses looking at Superior as their home, so they know the long-term values they are getting with Superior.
- We must continue to use Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts to attract businesses. TIF districts are a great tool that encourage businesses to invest in Superior. Superior has a long history of successes with TIF districts and have proven to be a strong economic development tool to use.
- We will continue with Mayor Hagen’s Economic Development Team, but also plan to expand it. Both small and large business leaders in the community will be invited to have a voice in the economic development vision for Superior.
- Strengthening our relationship with UW-Superior and WITC is critical if we want our young professionals to stay in Superior. We currently have a strong feeder system of well-educated employees graduating from our universities, and collectively we must promote the talent pool we have.
- Potential businesses considering locating to Superior look for quality core services, such as a strong police and fire department, reliable infrastructure, excellent school system, along with ample green space, and quality parks & recreation. Without a strong focus in any of those areas, Superior isn’t as appealing as other communities. It is crucial we fund those departments adequately.
Infrastructure & Sustainability
- Streets, sidewalks, trails, and waterways need resources poured into them to benefit the residents of today and tomorrow. Superior should become a city that welcomes motorists and cyclists alike.
- The Tower Avenue reconstruction is a great example of what can happen when investments are made in our current infrastructure. What used to be an area that would detract business development and shopping, is quickly turning into a quality downtown. I expect that synergy of business development will continue to spread along the surrounding areas.
- In 2017-2018 Belknap Street will be revitalized, mirroring the look and design of Tower Avenue, expanding the traffic flow, improving pedestrian safety, while also expanding business development opportunities.
- In the future, we must be constantly looking for investments and partnerships that will continually beautify Superior.
- We need to ensure the energy demands of the 21st century don’t compromise the success of future generations. We must continuously look for ways to make Superior a “greener” city and lead by example for other communities.
Housing & Neighborhoods
- Some of the oldest housing stock in Wisconsin exists right here in Superior. Generations of classical housing stock need incentives for maintenance and updates, while at the same time we focusing on new housing development.
- Blighted residential properties should either be renovated to current code or replaced with new construction, utilizing existing infrastructure. Too often weak city codes cause older housing stock to become inadequate substandard rental properties.
- Starting a revolving loan fund for down payments will encourage new housing construction.
- It is necessary to get creative with re-development, simply putting up a brand new rental on an empty lot doesn’t solve our old housing stock problem. Planning for both low-income and market rate quality housing is necessary for community re-development.
- Our building inspection department needs to cultivate a positive customer service attitude. To ensure repairs and improvements are done safe and to code, we need to educate and encourage residents to take out building permits and explain the reasoning for it.
- Our sense of community and neighborly partnership will flourish through growth of our National Night Out Day event, along with other community and neighborhood social programs.
Taxes & Fees / Budget & Spending
- Taxes, fees and utility costs drive up the cost of living and doing business without often reflecting on an individual ability to pay. Every dollar of revenue gathered comes with a mandate to disperse it wisely on behalf of the greater good of the city.
- Increased city revenue without increases in rates depends on collecting from new sources such as revenue from new homes, businesses and other potential commerce passing through Superior.
- In 2005, city leaders went to Madison to continue the decade’s long attempt to correct legislation related to the collection and distribution of the Oil Pipeline Terminal Tax. Prior to 2006 the city received no portion of this revenue source. Efforts were successful and in 2016 we received over 4 million, which is a significant funding source for the city’s Capital Improvement Program and Economic Development Fund. 2017 is the perfect time to return to Madison and start the conversation about getting our portion of shared revenue back.
- By growing Superior, we have the ability to keep taxes competitive with other communities in the area and reduce fees to local residents.
Better Cities Superior
- With the most recent results of the Better Cities Superior referendum, it proves Superior is ready. With the referendum passing 3:1 it demonstrates we are willing to push Superior forward to a prosperous future. Fantastic things are happening in our downtown district, and this will make for an excellent addition. If the state of Wisconsin changes the legislation to allow Superior to create an exposition district, true leadership will be needed to see this project to fruition.
- This project will put our labor industry to work, will bring construction dollars into our community, and upon its completion will create a synergy of business and tourism development.
- The Better Cities Superior project will do more than just rebuild our downtown. The spin-off of this project will be massive, for both immediate gains and setting the stage for a booming Superior.
- The Better Cities Superior project will complement the tourism efforts of Duluth, resulting in benefits for both communities and will build the overall Twin Ports tourism efforts. I strongly believe that the next mayor needs to build up relationships with Duluth as a way to collectively draw tourism in, rather than the two cities competing with each other.
- I have been supporting the Better Cities Project from day one, and will continue to support this project until construction is finished.
Police / Fire
- In my current role as a city councilor, I have supported our police and fire departments every time it has come to the council for a vote. The men and women in our police and fire departments are the backbone to a safe and thriving community.
- We must continue to devote our energy and resources into ensuring Superior is a safe place to live, work and play. Drug use is on the rise, and that oftentimes results in an increase in other property crimes. Jail is a temporary solution for criminals and drug users, but once they are released the cycle continues. We need to work with the state legislators to bring money into Superior for drug treatment facilities that would provide both inpatient and outpatient treatment.
- Police Chief Nicholas Alexander has already begun an initiative to promote community policing, and increasing the positive interactions between the police force and citizens. This is a huge step forward in proactive policing, and must continue.
Closing Statement by Brent Fennessey
The one common thread you will find throughout my entire platform is growth. Growth in new businesses locating to Superior, growth with current industries, growth in tourism, growth in our population, and growth in the pride we have in Superior. Growth is the strongest avenue we have for a better Superior. When we grow, we become stronger, less dependent on individual property tax dollars, and it sets the stage for a booming Superior. The most recent results of the Better Cities Superior initiative prove that Superior is ready to grow. We currently have a strong foundation of financial stability, tremendous credit rating, and fiscal reserve built up by our previous administrations. Right now, we have an excellent opportunity to take that strong foundation and grow upon that.
I can’t grow this city myself, but WE can grow it together. I want to hear from you, I want to hear your ideas, your vision and your creativity.
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