Jillian Petersen is seeking her first seat on the Waupaca Common Council.
She is a candidate in Aldermanic District 1.
Petersen’s name is one of two names voters in that district will see on the ballot in the Tuesday, April 2, election.
Lisa Funk is also on the ballot in that district.
However, she withdrew from the race in February and is encouraging voters in the district to vote for Petersen.
“I feel my professional experience and personal life have prepared me for a seat on the council,” Petersen said.
Petersen is a native of Grand Rapids, Mich.
After graduating from high school, she attended college for a year, before moving to North Carolina, where she worked for a car dealership.
She and her husband, Todd, met while she was living and working in North Carolina.
Her professional experience since moving to Waupaca included working five years for Print & Press, where she was a commercial print sales manager.
Petersen is currently a stay-at-home mother to the couple’s two sons.
Working in customer service and management gave her in-depth experience working with a budget and how to problem solve and listen, she said.
“As a resident, homeowner, taxpayer and mother of two small children, I have a vested interest and passion for our city,” Petersen said. “I understand the tax burden that we’re all under, and I want to continue to work to make this a great place to raise a family. My husband and I moved here seven years ago, because we knew this would be the best place to settle down and raise a family. Waupaca has so much to offer, and we love it here.”
She recently became involved in a group called Helping People Help People.
“It’s kind of a platform for connecting people who need help and people who want to help,” Petersen explained. “It started in Portage County and is now spreading across the state. There is now a Waupaca County chapter.”
She enjoys watching the generosity of people in the community and is currently using an extra bedroom in their home to store items people donate.
Petersen sees it as a way to teach her children the importance of giving to others.
Among the issues recently before the Common Council for discussion was whether the city should continue to fluoridate its drinking water.
“I think it was handled appropriately,” she said of the fact the discussion began at the Board of Public Works before going before the Common Council.
“They (the Board of Public Works) felt they needed to bring it to the city council. That’s why we have that process in place,” she said.
Petersen believes the issue has been resolved and believes any warnings regarding infant formula would be appropriate on the cans of formula.
In looking at one particular brand of formula, she noticed that manufacturer said parents should talk to their physicians about formula feeding.
When asked what she believes should be the city’s budget priorities moving forward as debt is paid down, Petersen said, the needs of the city should be prioritized without sacrificing infrastructure or police and fire protection.
“The overall goal should be to lower the tax burden on our residents,” she said.
The reconstruction of North Main Street has been discussed as a future project.
“We have a beautiful and vibrant downtown. We need to involve the business owners. That’s a must,” Petersen said. “It would have to be well planned and well thought out and really involve the business owners to make sure it goes smoothly.”
Petersen said they would need to look at the big picture. Access would need to be maintained during the process.
She has always had an interest in local government.
“My son is starting preschool in the fall. I feel like I need to be more involved and active in the community, to give back where I can,” Petersen said. “Since I’m new to the area and to this neighborhood, I’m going to go door to door to meet people, to introduce myself and ask for their vote.”