SHEBOYGAN — The February primary is coming up on Feb. 16 in the City of Sheboygan. One of the biggest races on the ballot is the seat for the city's mayor.
We set down with candidate Ryan Sorenson to discuss why he wanted to throw his hat in the ring, what he thinks the biggest issues facing Sheboygan are and learn more about him.
See the full Zoom interview here:
Highlights from the interview:
On his reason for running — "One of the things my parents instilled in me growing up was never sit on the sidelines and complain, but instead to get in the game and make a difference, and I think I've always done that throughout my life. I ran for city council against a 10-year incumbent really talking about new opportunities for our community and fighting for folks in the middle class. My time in city council has really provided me with a lot of different experience—you see the ups and downs for the city and what those challenges really are ... When I become city council president, a duty of mine was to meet with many different non-profit leaders, business owners and community folks, not just talking with them, but asking how is the pandemic going for you, what can the city do differently—what do you like and what don't you like? A lot of the feedback has been very similar. People love Sheboygan ... however there are some things that we need to step up and change a little bit."
On the state of Sheboygan — "I would say that Sheboygan, we're at a tale of two cities situation here. Over the last decade, we've had over $1 billion of investment in our community with our development, our expansion, building and everything, however at that same time period students in their school district that have been on free and reduced lunch increased by double digits, one in three children in our community go hungry every one, one third of Sheboyganites struggle to pay their utility bills, 45% of people in Sheboygan struggle with housing issues as well. We're seeing all this investment, but at the same time we're seeing folks right here in our community that are struggling day by day, and I feel like there's a good chunk of issues and advocacy points that are being ignored. We need someone who is going to step up and fight for these folks."
On what sets him apart as a candidate — "I think that my youth, energy, experience and passion really sticks out. Clearly I'm a younger guy running in this race, but I've been involved in city government, had positions of leadership during my tenure in council and even before that, climbing up going through the educational systems as well. I think if we want to move forward as a community, we need to make sure that we're growing strong, we need to think outside the box and not necessarily go by the status quo. I think it's time for some fresh leadership in city hall, and I think I'm that candidate."