Kenny Biermann is one of three candidates running to represent Ward 1 on the St. Charles City Council. The other candidates, Mary Ann Ohms and Rory Riddler have their candidate profiles posted as well. Biermann was interviewed in person for this questionnaire.
CAMPAIGN CONTACT INFORMATION
Family: Married to wife for 33 years, two daughters, four granddaughters.
Education: Graduated from North County Technical School. Attended St. Louis Community College, Florissant Valley and St. Charles Community College.
Occupation: Toolmaker at Everwear, Inc.
Party affiliation (non-partisan race): I lean Democrat.
Previous elected offices: Biermann served on the Orchard Farm Board of Education for 10 years and served one term in the State House of Representatives from 2008-2010.
Applicable experience: "My experience serving the community in both local and at the state level as an elected official balancing budgets," Biermann said. "I'll tell you the biggest thing is learning to get along well with others and getting things accomplished. That’s the biggest aspect of local politics. You have to do work for the best of the constituents. That’s one of the reasons I ran. Four years ago or so, the city council was always arguing with people. Civility can get you a long ways in getting things done."
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
"My whole adult life I’ve lived in the city of St. Charles," said Biermann. "I’m at a good age, I have the time to do it. My children are grown. Both my daughters live in St. Charles, all my granddaughters live in the city. I can work well with the council and get some things done."
"One thing too about the city and the city council is that up where I live it's really a growing part of the city. I was never in Ward 1 before, now that I am. I think that I know in my heart I could do a good job. I have no axe to grind with anybody. It’s an open seat."
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
"We’re in a time in this whole country for local government there’s not a lot of money," Biermann said. "In this state, we’re going to be laying off school teachers. To say we’re going to expand programs or promise things--it’s going to take the city all that we can to maintain services. I don’t know where the money would ever come from. The general public, even in this last election, sent a message, loud and clear, they want government to live within its means. It’s going to be a smaller government role--that’s all we can afford."
"My priority would be to work as good as I can to maintain police, fire, and street maintenance. Whenever you add something, that’s a recurring cost. You can't add things if you can't afford them 10 years from now."
What sets you apart from the other candidates, if contested?
"I don't have an ax to grind," said Biermann. "I think one thing, I’ve been a very proven leader, and I can work well with others. I don’t know how that that makes me different, but that's one of my strengths. I don't know Mary Ann Ohms, but my other opponent on the council (Rory Riddler) was pretty contentious all the time. I want to move St. Charles forward. Taxpayers are so important, and we’re adults. Get the people’s work done and go home. You won't hear about me grandstanding."
"The other strengths are just, I have worked on big budgets, the congressional budgets. We built a new elementary school at Orchard Farm. We did a lot of expansion. You know selling--we worked on bond issues and tax things helping to get that school going."
How long have you lived in St. Charles? 34 years
What's your favorite thing about St. Charles?
"Favorite thing was always that you can be in a very urban setting or a very rural setting within 15 minutes," Biermann said. "That was when I raised my kids. I lived in the city and my children were able to go to school in an urban environment then when we moved up to the north part of town it was both urban and rural. If you live in Maryland Heights--it’s so easy if you want to come to a festival downtown here.
What is the biggest problem in St. Charles?
"I can tell you I read the St. Louis Post Dispatch about the census," Biermann said. "I think all there is -- except for northern part of city -- it’s not retaining and attracting young families. St. Charles is a great place to call home, and that’s the biggest challenge. When it goes back to what you’re going to do and how the city is going to spend its money. We’ve got to make this to be a hometown for young people. There’s two groups of people: Young people give your city energy and senior citizens are so important. When a person retires, they volunteer a lot. The only way you’re going to attract people is, it’s got to be affordable. It’s got to be safe. I would think probably that the most important issue if I was a young family looking for a place to live is the schools would have to be excellent and they’d have to be safe."