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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - Thursday, March 20, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Lew Vail seeks another term as Onalaska mayor
Polk County Enterprise - March 2008

ONALASKA — In making this announcement to seek reelection to serve as your mayor for another two-year term, I would like to offer some thoughts for your consideration. Being retired allows me to spend 30 to 40 hours weekly tending to the business of the City. The mayor functions more as a city manager than a fi gurehead. When people want to contact the mayor’s offi ce or decisions need to be made regarding city business, they need to be handled promptly.

We have an excellent staff; however the mayor serves as a back-up to the City Secretary and Court Clerk when they are away taking required training, budget wise we operate effi ciently. I was recently told that the position needs a younger person. I assure you that my health is excellent, haven’t missed a day up and about in several years. I currently serve as your mayor, president of the Onalaska-Polk County AARP Chapter, chair the Polk County Crime Stoppers Committee, completing a year of service as President of the Lions Eye Bank of Houston at Baylor College of Medicine. I am active in the Greater Onalaska Chamber of Commerce, Onalaska Lions Club serving as Secretary/Treasurer, active member of the First United Methodist Church (editing their newsletter and active in the upcoming 100th year celebration) and our men’s group and one of the founding workers with Kid’s Free Clothing Exchange here in Onalaska.

My service to my community began with seven years on the school board during the time we grew from K-6 to Prek-8. Our board implemented the purchase of the land the present high school sits on, with foresight to acquire 75 acres allowing for much future development. During that service I was appointed to the Polk Central Appraisal District and during those eight years of service chaired the committee for three years. I served on city council with several mayors and was elected by my peers to serve as mayor pro-tem for at least four years. When I fi rst asked you to elect me as your mayor I had gained a wealth of experience through this service. I have enjoyed working with our county commissioners – fi rst Bobby Smith and now Ronnie Vincent, interacting with County Judge John Thompson and the Livingston Polk County Chamber of Commerce as an exoffi cio member of the board has brought our sister communities and business entities closer together. I have enjoyed a long and mutually benefi cial relationship with the OISD, and while working with Fire Safety Week, Red Ribbon Program, the committee to build the high school and most recently our great R.O.T.C.

I am very aware of the needs of the children in our community. Wishfully all projects could be thought of and completed in a blink of an eye, in reality big projects take time. We are working with Commissioner Vincent on establishing a road from FM 356 through to FM 3459; it is taking time to involve the state in this endeavor. Road building costs are soaring along with the oil prices. We have the land and a commitment to acreage tracts for both a sports complex and a library/park area. I would like to continue to serve these next two years to see this to completion.

Our Fire Department is the Premier VFD in Polk County and we were able to secure a grant to add to the facility a space for short term evacuees and emergency management operations and add a natural gas powered generator to assure total operation of the facility during any emergency (natural gas service in Onalaska is virtually un-interruptible). Fire Chief Roy Newport, Police Chief Ron Gilbert and I meet daily to coordinate activity, we have recently seen crosstraining within these departments offering additional help for the many medical service calls the EMT’s face daily – the new “rookies” furnish manpower while learning. In my experience, I have learned that there is wisdom in serving on a board, governing body and such, to gain an insight as to the workings of the group; and rising to leadership through the use of that knowledge, I ask you to allow me to continue to use that knowledge for another term as your mayor.

My contact phone number is 646-4330 (house & cell) I would enjoy an opportunity to meet and talk with all voters or groups in seeking re-election, please call to arrange a meeting. And please vote on May 10th – or in the early voting period.

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