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Housing, employee morale and PFAS among top concerns of Rhinelander mayoral candidates

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In less than two weeks, residents of Rhinelander will choose between two small business owners to be their new mayor.

Steve Sauer and Kris Hanus are in the running for the position.

Sauer is a Rhinelander native and former city alderperson. If elected, he says his top priority would be improving employee morale.

“As an employer, I’m a big believer in team building. If you’re not a team, if you’re not working together, you’re not going to win the game,” Sauer says. “What I’d like to see happen is bring back the employee events, bring back the golf outings, all that fun stuff. I also plan on doing biweekly visits to every department to make sure that we stay in touch.”

Sauer also identified PFAS as a key priority. He says he would consider using earmarked federal funding to drill a new well, after the city shut down two of its wells in 2019 due to the chemicals.

His opponent, Kris Hanus, who has worked in retail and property management, identified a different priority.

“We’ve got to get housing in line, from driving down the price of rental costs to quality of housing and just more housing,” he says.

Hanus says in order for the city to grow, develop and attract new workers, it needs more housing.

He also noted the importance of improving and maintaining infrastructure and ensuring Rhinelander residents have safe drinking water.

Hanus has not previously served in city government, but he says Rhinelander is ready for change.

“I think it’s just time for new ideas, new blood in city government,” he says.

That’s up to voters to decide in the election on April 5.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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