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Every once in awhile, there is a topic so big, that we devote a forum to discussing it in-depth. It gives us the chance to understand all of the sides of the issue, rather than just a few points of view.

WXPR Candidate Forum: The race for Rhinelander mayor

Mayor Forum Photo.jpg
Katie Thoresen
Candidates for Rhinelander Mayor participate in a forum. From left to right, the candidates are Kris Hanus, Steve Sauer and Bill Freudenberg.

Three candidates are on the ballot for Rhinelander mayor, but the primary election on February 15 will narrow that field to two.

Kris Hanus, Steve Sauer and Bill Freudenberg are all running for the position.

Hanus works in retail and property management. As a small business owner, he has developed multiple properties in Rhinelander.

If elected, he says his top priority would be housing.

“Rhinelander right now is facing a housing crisis,” he says. “Between the quality of housing being too low in some cases, to the quantity being available for people to buy and rent, to even the price point, this is something we need to address in different avenues.”

Steve Sauer, a lifelong Rhinelander resident and former District 7 alderperson, says he recognizes a different, larger issue in Rhinelander.

“The biggest issue that this city currently faces is a lack of development,” Sauer says. “Now, that’s outside business coming in, but it’s also taking advantage of the options that our current homeowners and current business owners have.”

Meanwhile, Bill Fruedenberg, who has served on county board and city council, says he believes the city needs to focus on retaining and supporting city employees.

“I believe that we have to try to work on services like snow removal, but also retaining emergency services. I don’t believe cutting back in personnel would help this picture whatsoever,” he says. “I think we need to move forward.”

The candidates share these priorities, along with answers to questions about everything from PFAS contamination to staffing in emergency departments, in a forum hosted by WXPR and the League of Women Voters of the Northwoods.

Listen to the full forum by clicking the audio player above.

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