Stevens Point School Board member Alex Kochanowski has confirmed plans to run for mayor of Stevens Point and intends to be on the ballot in the April 7 election.
Kochanowski will be running against businesswoman Barb Jacob and City Council members Mike Wiza, Tony Patton and Jerry Moore.
“If we don’t take steps into the future, the past will swallow us up,” Kochanowski said.
Kochanowski believes there is a solution for every problem and thinks the city should take small steps toward solving problems for the future.
Currently, the 35-year-old father of four works as a driver for the city transit service.
Kochanowski grew up in Stevens Point. After graduating high school, he spent time in the Navy, worked as yardmaster for a railroad company, was building and grounds manager at a Plover church and pursued careers in nursing and law enforcement including the Stevens Point Police Auxiliary. He even spent time hobby farming in Almond.
“I am a public servant,” Kochanowski said. “I find that to be an area I enjoy.”
Kochanowski was elected with majority vote to be a school board member last spring. He enjoys duties that come with the position, but feels his potential for “doing positive, good work” is limited.
“I am one person of nine,” Kochanowski said. “The dynamics are different. My potential is never going to be reached.”
Kochanowski said the opportunity of mayor would put all his talents to work, letting him do the level of good he hopes to do.
Kochanowski said some concerns he hopes to address include creating new revenue, encouraging business growth and paying off debt without shifting the burden to the taxpayer or making cuts in city departments.
In addition to supporting small businesses, Kochanowski would like to provide full-time jobs for residents, but admits there are challenges.
“Unfortunately, the status quo is becoming holding two or more part-time jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,” Kochanowski said.
“The answers are somewhat obvious, but at what cost?” Kochanowski said. “Not at the expense of polluting our clean air to the wrong kind of industry.”
Other topics Kochanowski focuses on are city infrastructure, services and renewable energy.
“We are beginning to focus on renewable energy,” Kochanowski said. “Why not create a community that can sustain itself?”
Kochanowski would like to see the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point grow along with the city. He believes improved infrastructure of buildings would improve the university, but students should not bear the costs.
“Those kinds of things would attract students to our campus,” Kochanowski said. “I don’t think students should have to pay higher tuition for those projects.”
Financial stability is a great concern for Kochanowski, and he believes the city’s current budget issues are solvable.
“At the beginning of the Special Finance Committee Meeting on Oct. 27, Mayor Halverson told the aldermen that the city’s budget concerns are systemic,” Kochanowski said. “We have an unsustainable budget and we always will,” Kochanowski said.
Kochanowski takes a different philosophy toward the issue.
“There is always a solution if you are willing to put in the effort and do the work,” Kochanowski said.